Tom Haines 2011, 3 Days at The Fair Race Report

48hr event, 9am Friday 05/13/2011 to 9am Sunday 05/15/2011

Some Background Bumf:
Long distance running is a selfish sport. It requires long hours of training and the races can sometimes last for days, even weeks. Involving the family in any meaningful way is usually next to impossible. That is the beauty of fixed time, short loop courses.

The 3 Days at the Fair is put on by NJTrailSeries.com and is ran on a short loop of 0.8miles. Times available are 72hrs, 48hrs, 24hrs, 12hrs and 6hours.

In 2010 we all camped out and made it a family holiday. My wife enjoyed relaxing in the sun and meeting other running widows. The kids had a great time running riot with the other little buggers and occasionally helping out by mixing me drinks. They also ran a few laps with me and I have to admit that made me a very proud dad. I hoped to replicate the 2010 experience in 2011. Unfortunately just a few weeks before the race some old friends from India decided to visit and so my family stayed at home to host them. So the 3DatF 2011 was to be a solo affair.

The Race Report:

I arrived at the Sussex County Fair Ground straight from the office on the Thursday night. Pitched my tent in the prime position, right on the course next to the restroom and went to volunteer for the 72ers at the aid-station (in exchange for helping myself to a last supper of burgers ‘n beer).  At 9pm I bid my farewell and went for an early night.

My totally ambitious “stretch goal” target for this race was 200miles. I had a rough plan that if I could get to 100miles in 20hrs with a level of comfort, I would then have 28hrs to “push” through the next 100. Sounds simple right?

0-50 Miles – 9hrs

Straight forward, nothing to report.  Weather was good and so was the banter with the gang assembled at the aid station.

50-100 Miles – 11hrs 30mins

This section got tough, especially towards the end. I had got to 75miles without walking. This is just an egotistical weakness of mine. I know that run-walk strategies are the best way and are employed by the best performers but I just can’t get my head around it. However from mile 75, through necessity, I started to include a little walking and finally hit the 100mile mark at @5:30am, after a total 20hrs 30mins. This wasn’t quite in accordance with my plan. I was disappointed not so much at the time but at how tired I felt.

I was not in good shape and knew that I couldn’t carry on for much longer. I’ve felt more physically tired and muscularly sore but the fatigue just got to me. Normally when I finish a 100miler I get a “rush”, a feeling of exhilaration. I still had 27 + half hours to go and so the endocrine reward hormones just didn’t kick in. Decided to take a break.

The Next 2 Hours

I showered, slept (painfully) and reassessed. I saw that my feet were a mess, blisters all over my toes which I don’t normally get. Stupidly and lazily I decided to smear my toes in whale blubber and essentially ignore the problem.

100-110 Miles – About 3 Hours

Very slow going. Walked very gingerly for a few laps and took on as much food as possible to try and build up a calorie surplus. After a couple of hours I started to slow jog and immediately regretted it. Sharp pain from my toes caused me to stop and check the damage.

The Next 1 Hour

My toes were a real mess. One of the toe blisters had burst and the nail had come dislodged from my toe, It was digging into the adjacent also blistered toe, hence rather a lot of pain. I cleaned off the previously applied whale blubber, pierced all the blisters with a needle (not the blood blisters) and taped each toe individually. This process took an entire hour, brought tears to the eyes and left much yellow liquid blister puss on the floor of the bathroom.

I reassessed my goal down to 150miles.

110-125Miles – About 5 hours

This at least started in relative comfort. EC and Randy came out to mock. Give me mocking any day. I hate encouragement. A bit of trash talk does wonders for moral and their banter made for a few easier laps. Of course, most of all, I also didn’t want to appear weak in their presence.

By 125 miles I was again very tired, but had ~16hrs to get through the 25miles and reach the 150 mile goal. Easy! Decided to have another sleep and then gently trot out the last marathon.

The Next 3  Hours I slept like a baby. Woke up after a few hours and thought to myself – I have a choice.

Option 1 – Go home, spend time with my friends, drink Gin ‘n Tonic and have a good nights sleep.

Option 2 – Continue with the plan and stroll through to the end.

I decided on the former option.

Final Result – 125miles in ~31 hours. No where near my goal.

Am I disappointed – Nope, not in the least.

I had run a not too shabby 125miles with some great people and totally enjoyed the experience. I had also managed to spend some time with my old friends. Sometimes running and results are not the most  important thing in life. To run 200 miles in 48miles you have to really, really, really want it, I didn’t want it quite that much.

Till next time!

Tom