Monday, August 20, 2012

12-Hour Transcendance Race

On Sunday the 12th I participated in the Transcendence 12-Hour Endurance Race in Olympia, WA, and I have to say that it was amazing and unlike anything I have ever done.

In the past couple of weeks I have told people that I was going to run a 12-hour race, and some have been surprised that I haven't been training.  Running one's first ultra, after all, is no joke.  But I didn't want to train; my relationship to running has simply changed, and I haven't wanted to put in the long hours and even longer miles to prepare for this race.  So my mindset going into the race was probably different than most runners'; I really wanted to see what I am made of - who I am right now - with this heart and this body and this mind.  I exercised a few days a week, went on some runs and walks, kept my weight under control, and tried to keep my expectations of myself reasonable for the race.  And not to give away the ending, but I consider my race experience very successful and positive and do not regret a thing.

Because it was such a long day and the thought of writing down everything that happened is overwhelming for me, I'll just include the highlights:

Sunday was here before I knew it, and I found myself at the starting line with 79 other runners.  The sun hadn't come out yet, and I was excited to see what I could do on this 1.52-mile course.  I felt lucky to start my first ultra with Scott and to see him throughout the race.

The course, although short, was quite pretty.  It was great to not have to worry about carrying water since there were drinking fountains along the course, and I knew that an aid station was only a mile and a half away.  

Sunrise on the lake
Capitol building view
I downloaded a great book on tape called The Five Love Languages, and listened to it for a good chunk of time during the run/walk.  I learned a lot, and it kept me entertained for over five hours in a way that even Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift cannot.  ;)

I met a bunch of people over the course of twelve hours.  I met Max, a retired Air Force man who runs ultras in his retirement; Jenneth, a gal who told me that not picking up a penny is telling the universe that you have enough and won't accept free money; Brock, a harmonica player who rode his bike next to me during my final two laps just because he was enjoying talking with me; Josh, a Vibram Fivefingers runner who gave the first place finisher a run for his money; and others who were happy to share bits of their life stories.  This one of the coolest parts of the race, in my opinion.  Just think, if this was a traditional ultramarathon course, there never would have been an opportunity for me to run or walk a mile and a half with any of these people; they would have been 10 miles ahead or behind me.  It was neat to see familiar faces and to have so many opportunities to walk-n-chat.

It was very cool that Scott jogged/walked his final couple of loops with me.  He finished his 50k in under 6 hours and then crewed for me for the next 6.  It felt great to be greeted at our little tent with some Gatorade and a cool cloth to wipe my face. 

After I left the tent, I walked only a few feet to the food tables and ate potatoes with salt and potato chips.
After I completed my first 50k, everyone at the finish line cheered and rang bell.  When I left the tent and started the next loop, it felt awesome to know that - for once - I was going to run farther than Scott.  (I realize he is recovering from injuries and that his pace was much faster than mine.  Still, it felt good.)  I learned later that Scott had posted my accomplishment to Facebook, and I had a crazy number of encouraging and congratulatory comments.  (Thanks, everyone!!)

I completed just over 38 miles!  That is almost a marathon and a half-marathon back-to-back!  I felt pretty awesome.  Period.

(I made page 2!)

While most people "hit the wall" and "bonk" during races this long, I never did...probably because I wasn't going for speed.  I felt really good emotionally and physically throughout the whole day, other than the blisters that I got around Mile 6.  Yes, my fingers swelled, and yes, my legs were tired, but I never felt miserable during the race.  (I did feel miserable about fifteen minutes after the race, after my shoes were off and my feet were in an ice bath.  I felt like I was going to pass out and throw up all at once.  I never passed out...)

My mom drove all the way from Boise to Olympia and tried to get there in time to walk a lap or two with me, but the race was over when she arrived.  The bad news - she saw me when I was in the post-race, pukey-nightmare stage of the day.  I could barely walk on my blistered feet and tired legs, and I ended up throwing up my grape Gatorade in her car.  The good news - my mom came to see me at a race (yay!), and when I felt icky, she took me back to her house in Mossyrock, WA and fed me chicken noodle soup. 

This picture cracks me up.  I wasn't feeling too great on the car ride to Mom's.
I am really pleased with my experience with this race and would do it again.  Heck, even the tech shirts are cool, and I plan to wear mine with pride.  I'm so glad that my first ultra attempt was so positive and successful.  Thanks to everyone who supported me and to Guerrilla Running for putting on such a great event!



  1. Congrats on your first Ultra (and running further than Scott). I'm glad it was a positive experience, and yes you should wear your tech shirt with earned it!

  2. Great pics! Great story! The 2012 Transcendence was my first ultra as well. Planning on doing it again this year! I was pretty trained up as I had done my first full marathon earlier in the year (the Capital City Marathon). Love the idea of a time frame to run in in lieu of a distance!! Opens it up to everyone!! I will be running my first 50 miler (other than the Transcendence) on June 1 (Rainier to Ruston-point to point ending in Tacoma on the waterfront). I expect to walk a lot but that's OK! I'll look for you in August! Elaine "Missy" Farr

    1. It sounds like you have some great plans and have signed up for some great races. I look forward to seeing you (probably over and over and over again) in August. :)