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John "lakewood" Fegyveresi

Saturday, November 16, 2013

NJ One-Day Recap and a Chat with DFL Ultrarunning

Making the turn on the 1-mile loop course

On a last minute whim, I decided to sign up for the inaugural NJ One-Day event put on by the NJ Trail Series guys.  Back in May, I decided to participate in my first timed event at the NJ "3 Days at the Fair".  I figured this 72-hour event would be a good way to prep myself for my upcoming slog across Tennessee at the Last Annual Vol State Race.  I knew I needed some long pavement training miles, but I was admittedly nervous about the idea of running a 1-mile loop continuously for 72 hours.

What transpired, was wonderfully surprising.  Not only did I enjoy running the one-mile loop, but I was introduced to the fun and vibrant NJ Trail Series running community.  One of the things that made the 72-hour event so much fun was that it was so incredibly social.  You are never more than a mile away from anyone on the course and at some point you'll either pass them, or they'll pass you.....giving you yet another chance for good conversation.  I came away from 3-days with some really fantastic memories and a whole slew of new running friends.  

So.....when I saw that the race director was going to be putting on a new 24-hour race on the same course this month, I didn't hesitate to sign up.  I knew I'd get to again run alongside some great folks and that I would likely have a fun time.  I knew I wasn't trained as well as I was back in May, but I also knew it would be good to get some miles under my belt.  Additionally, I have never run a 24-hour event before, I was curious as to how many miles I might be able to cover.  More so than miles though, somewhere deep down I had always wondered how fast I could cover 100-miles.   Before arriving at the fairgrounds, I told myself that more than covering total mileage, I wanted to try as hard as possible to break 20 hours for 100 miles.  This mythical number has always seemed unreachable to me, and the closest I've ever come at a race was 21 hours 41 minutes.  Obviously the 1-mile loop is relatively flat at the NJ fairgrounds, but if there was ever a time to go for that sub 20, this was it.

I drove out Friday night and arrived at the fairgrounds after dark.  It was bitingly cold.  I set up my tent and found that I was completely alone.  It seemed everyone else opted for local motel rooms.  For the most part I stayed warm through the night, but just before sunrise I was definitely chilled as the temps dropped down into the 20's.

At 8:45 am, the 50+ runners lined up at the start.  I chatted at length with fellow Vol Stater Bill Shultz and fellow 3-days runner Dave Lettieri.  It was good catching up with all of the folks I met back in May.

At 9:00 am we set out and started making our way through the loops.  I wasn't really sure what proper pace should be, so I kept it somewhat conservative.  I basically ran the first 20 or so miles at a similar pace to that which I ran during the 72-hour event.  The daylight hours went quickly and by 4:00 pm it was already starting to get dark out.  I knew I was in for a long, cold night.  Still though, I was thoroughly enjoying myself, and my mileage was really beginning to rack up.  I covered the first 50 miles in about 8hrs 20mins, which was basically the same pace I covered 50 miles at both Tussey and Pine Creek.  I knew that this meant the wheels would likely fall off at some point, but I wasn't having too much fun to care.

As the wee hours creeped in, the temps plummeted and I focused on just trying to get through multiple loops without stopping too much for aid.  Up to this point, I found that I was stopping after almost every loop and it was costing me unnecessary time.  At some point around 3:00 am, it occurred to me that I was on pace to possibly break 20 hours for 100 miles, but the fatigue had definitely caught up to me.  I was struggling to keep the running going and by 19+ total hours I was hurting fairly badly with 95 total miles.  I pushed it hard for the next five miles and crossed the mat for 100 miles in 19 hours 54 minutes.  I had done it.  I finished 100 miles in under 20 hours.  I realize it is somewhat of a technicality as it was done during a timed event, but in my book, that still counts!

I took a long break after 100 and eventually slogged an additional 14 miles.  I walked a lot of those last miles and really wasn't too motivated to push it.  I was tired and sore to boot.  The 114 miles though was enough for 3rd place which was an unexpected surprise.  It won't get me on any US National Teams, but I was thrilled to have topped 110 for sure!

My third place, 114-mile, license plate prize


On a side note, I recently did a 2+ hour  long podcast interview with Eric Sherman over at DFL ultrarunning.  We talked everything from Barkley, to Vol State, to Badwater, to Thru-hiking.  I had a blast chatting with Eric and I was honored to share my stories.  Here is the link to the podcast (My bit starts at 25 minutes in):

1 comment:

Dan said...

John,
I enjoyed listening to your interview on DFL. You are an interesting, accomplished, funny and humble guy. Looking forward to following you on your future CDT through hike. Triple Crown baby!!
Dan