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So you signed up for 24 Hours of Shale Hell, now what!

24 Hours of Shale HellSo you bit the bullet and signed up for 24 Hours of Shale Hell or 8 hours, or some other race where you must go as many laps as possible in a given time period.  Your reasoning might have been a desire to challenge yourself to see what you are capable of or you might have been suffering from FOMO (fear of missing out) but at this point, the why matters a little less and the how matters a little more.

A 24 hour race takes a little more than just showing up.  Many of us can show up and fake our way through a 5k or even a 10k.  To go for 24 hours, you must pay attention to your nutrition, you hydration, your feet, and your body.  You also have to keep your head in the game.

where-magic-happensSet a goal.  It gives you something to push towards or something to push beyond.  The way you set your goal is your choice.  You are going to go as long as you can, regardless of how many laps that gets you.  You want to get at least 5 laps or more than 3 laps.  You might want to go the entire time and take less than 20 minutes between each.  Whatever will drive you forward.

Know your why.  This can be a part of your goal but doesn’t have to be.  You want to push yourself.  You are running in memory or honor of someone.

 

Stephanie Rios Bin Drop
Photo courtesy of Stephanie Rios

Head Games.  Your mind will try to tell you that you are too tired to go on, that you can’t do it.  Find a way to silence that voice.  That being said, listen to your body and stop before it gets injured.

 

Despite telling you to watch out for head games, if you decide you are done and have had enough, that is okay. Just make sure it is a rational choice and not an emotional “I QUIT!”

So now that your head is in the game you need to take care of everything else!

Stephanie Rios Food Bin
Photo courtesy of Stephanie Rios

Hydration.  Start early. Start now. If you normally drink 3-4 liters in a day, up that should be plenty.  If you drink less, up it.  While Shale Hill has 4 water stations on course, I encourage you to carry water with you in a bottle, a belt, or a hydration pack.  The last thing you want is to get dehydrated while running multiple laps in the hot sun.  If you like your water icy cold, bring a cooler with ice, don’t count on a venue to have it.  If you like having something mixed in your water, electrolytes, sugars, such as Nuun or Tailwind, you can pre-mix in liters or gallons and keep in your cooler ready to refill.

Stephanie Rios Food
Photo courtesy of Stephanie Rios

Nutrition.  Keep your tummy happy, don’t try new foods on race day.  If you know bean burritos give you an upset stomach don’t eat them the night before or during the race.  Make sure to consume calories during your run and in between your laps.  This can be in the form of gels and chews while on the course, or via tailwind,
but could also be real food, almonds and dried mangos.  When you come in to transition, in addition to refilling your water, make sure you to consume calories.  Eight to ten hours into a 24 hour even is not the time you want to bonk.  Bring more food with you than you think you will need.  Remember, food for fuel and food for happy.

Foot Care. Keep your feet dry and happy.  Change your shoes on socks as often as necessary to keep your feet dry. Apply Trail Toes or some other type of moisture barrier.  Powder your feet to remove moisture, drain blisters as they form to keep them from getting worse. Blisters are not your own problem, keeping your feet dry is imperative to keeping away maceration.  Maceration, if severe enough, can end your race.

Body and Chafing. Lube is your friend.  Inner thighs, where the waist pack or hydration pack rubs, shoulders, and especially between your butt cheeks.  Finding out you chafed when you get in the shower is not a pleasant experience.

Stephanie Rios Bin
Photo courtesy of Stephanie Rios

Gear List. Towels, headlamp(s), spare batteries, water, food, gels, hydration pack, water bottle, socks, shoes, two to three sets of running clothes, long sleeve, hat, sun glasses, tent, chair, first aid kit, foot care kit, sunblock, bug spray, and a roller if you want one. Don’t forget a bin or bag to hold it all and keep it organized!

That’s it! Oh, and remember to have fun.

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Featured Review: 24 hours of Shale Hell

Shale Hill – one of our favorite venues for obstacle course racing and training recently held their very own endurance 24 hour event. As many laps on the 10k course as possible in a 24 hour window – which boggles my mind. Hannah Hawley participated, and below is her recap!

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10589687_605939556684_1450642774_nWell, I have had my first DNF, technically speaking.  If only in the manner that I couldn’t go continuously for 24 hours, nor could I finish my fourth lap.  Thank you 24 Hours of Shale Hell for that!

The start and finishing for each lap of the 24 Hours of Shalle Hell (Hell) was the first Pick Your Poison and the finish was at the Tarzan Swing.  This was a bit different than their other events that either start in the center field or up at the barn and start with the Oxfords and Teeter Totters. As the Benson Bear Challenge #3 was currently taking place, we did register down in the center field.  We were able to park (free as always) next to the Tarzan Swing, set up tents, canopies, and whatnot; we had access to porta-johns, a grill; the medic was stationed here and a fire was started at dusk that was kept going all night.  This was also where your support crew was set up ($40 registration fee per crew member).

I opted to camp Friday night, the drone of the race track down the road lulled me to sleep without a coyote howl to be heard.  With a mornings worth of time to fill, I opted to help Jill stuff bags for the Benson Bear Challenge #3, registered a few of the Hell racers, and then was stationed out at the sandbag carry to direct 5k and 10k racers on the correct loop.  Was a beautiful day for a race and I was able to see Sandy and Michael on course.

It wasn’t long before I had to start getting ready for my event and made my way up to the tent.  Before too long had passed, Rob was pulling all ten of us racers together for a meeting.  The rules were simple:
10351254_541614379297384_8299694786119451725_n– As many laps as you could manage safely in 24 hours.
– The Tyrolean Traverse would be closed from dark to sunrise.
– Penalties would be normal the first lap and scaled for each lap as follows:
Lap 1 – 30 Spiderman Push-ups (every obstacle, not 25 for most and 50 for 4)
Lap 2 – 15 Spiderman Push-ups
Lap 3 – 15 Spiderman Push-ups
Lap 4 – 20 Jumping Jacks
Lap 5 – 10 Inchworms
Lap 6 – No Penalties
Lap 7 – 5 Lunges
Lap 8 – 10 Flutter Kicks
Lap 9 – 10 Arm Circles
Lap 10 – Balance 15 seconds on left leg, repeat on right
Lap 11 – We shall see
– We were to help each other, if someone was down and hurt, if they were on course and weren’t being safe/smart, etc
– That we were to check in and out on a white board after every lap and let the medic know when we went back out on course.

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Rob suggested a first lap of sticking together with a 2:30 lap pace, especially for the people who had never been on course.  I know I spoke up immediately and said I knew the course and wouldn’t be able to keep that pace, I was fine alone.  I did start my lap with another female racer, Serena, a Shale Hill veteran and high school classmate!  I spent the second half of the lap with the other two female racers, both elite racers out of Canada, Jen and Sara.  I was able to give them some tips on several of the obstacles!  Can’t wait to see them again in September at the Killington Beast.  After my first lap, Sandy, Michael, and Adam decided that I wasn’t going to do any additional laps on my own, of which I am very greatful.  I had the pleasure of Michaels company on my second lap, someone whose racing and attitude inspire me.  My third lap, Adam accompied me and other than my slip on the loom that resulted in a small panic attack, I never seemed to stop laughing.  The taco’s Sandy got me were the best food I ate all weekend, if you do a race at Shale Hill, volunteer, or are just in the general area, West Coast Taco (I think thats the name) is worth a stop, cash only!

10561646_541614355964053_8122930209907970690_nOver the course of my 3 full laps, I was able to scale the 8 foot wall, climb the HUGE slant wall, walk the top of the loom, and more.  All things I had either never done before or just learned the previous weekend at a NE Spahtens training day.  I will be honest, other than a few Spiderman Push-ups in my first lap, I didn’t do any penalties.  I wasn’t there to beat myself up with penalties, just to see how far I could go in 24 hours.

There were very few volunteers stationed on course but there were plenty around and mobil on course.  They were great at keeping the on-course fires burning, candles burning, and refilling the water stations when they were told they were empty.  There was a crew stationed at the Bucket Carry with a fire that definitely lifted my spirits.

The decision was made about 3:30 to close the course due to heavy fog that left runners with no visibility beyond the few inches in front of their noses.  Incredibly smart decision!  This was just after I got back from my decision to stop less than a quarter of the way into my fourth lap as my left hip flexor was not happy and I couldn’t lift my leg over even the smallest of obstacles.  The medic seconded my decision but also respected my decision to rest, see if stretching would help.  It didn’t.

1896787_541614325964056_7927272582114913561_nRob was called away as he finished his second penalty free lap due to a family emergency but was able to call in at the finish to congratulate us all.  What a race director!

OH! SWAG! There were prices for the top three females and top three males (top male finished with 8 laps, top female finished with 5), and every racer got a special Hell shirt, Hell medal, Shale Hill sticker, and a $10 gift certificate to The Wheel House in Benson.  Even the crews got a special Pit Crew shirt.

All in all, this event was small, intimate, and incredible.  My one and only suggestion would be to build the cost of one crew member into the registration fee as I could not imagine, personally, being able to do this race without someone there as support.

I cannot wait to see where I can go in a year!