12 Hours of Badger

I’m currently training for the Chamna Chase half-marathon; it’ll be held on October 21st. In the interest of letting my knees heal, I’m not running hills. Last Saturday was 12 Hours of Badger. I’ve been tempted to do a 12-hour run, so I decided this was as good a time as any.

12 Hours of Badger is very low-key: no sign-ups, no entry fee — just show up & do your thing. There’s a “base” with food & water and a book in which you are asked to log your laps & final mileage. While I’m only training for 13.1 miles, and because I’m not running hills, I decided I walk it. A low-key 12-hour race is a great chance to try out different gear & nutrition options. I didn’t have a distance goal: my objectives were to go for the full twelve hours, and to learn what I could.

The most important thing I learned is that walking a marathon with 5,000′ of elevation gain and loss when you’re not running hills and you’re training for a half marathon is a really stupid idea.

Start time was 6:30 a.m., and I arrived a little early. We started at 6:46 – twilight-ish, but before sunrise – with a howling wind. Wind is pretty typical here, but the fact it was windy on the east side of the hill (generally, our prevailing winds come from the southwest) gave us an idea of how windy it really was. I started off in capri tights, a light jacket, and a shell jacket. I’m glad I brought both — I figured I’d need the jacket afterwards, when I was tired and getting chilled — as I’d have frozen without the extra layer. Everyone was chilled at first, but most of our group was running, not walking.

And yes, I started off with my coffee cup in hand. It was early!12 hours of badger start

The first loop took 2:35. I hadn’t carried any nutrition with me, and that was an oversight. I’ve been running so many flat trails that I hadn’t considered the additional calorie demand in climbing this hill. (It’s about 700′ of gain to the top.) When I got to the turn-around point at the west trailhead, I really wanted some food. Alas, I needed to make it back to the east trailhead to get to the base area. I opted for the longer, but lower, Langdon trail instead of going back  up & over the hill. Jim had delivered the sliced ham I left at home, along with a chocolate-covered donut. The donut wasn’t what I wanted — I wanted a chocolate donut with coconut — and it was from Fred Meyer, not Daily Donut, but it was delicious. (I’m not a big donut fan, but I cannot resist donuts from Daily Donut. They’re magical. It’s a testament to my mental state that I ate the Fred Meyer donut with glee.) I left the coffee cup behind and switched to my Orange Mud HydraQuiver and stuffed some cheddar Goldfish in one of the pouches.

For the second loop, I did the same path: up Canyon, down Skyline, back on Langdon. At 11:44 a.m., my Garmin let me know I’d reached three times my daily step goal of 10,317. The Goldfish powered me through the return trip. I had a ham sandwich made with a salt bagel from Ultimate Bagel in Spokane (so good!). For the third loop, I decided to go the longer but not-as-steep Sagebrush & Trailhead Loop trails. Goldfish can only push a person so far. I switched from the capris to shorts, as it was really warm in areas protected from the wind. The legs can handle the cold wind fairly well.

I hit four times my step goal at 2:15 p.m. At some point in the afternoon, the little toe on my right foot started to hurt. I’d changed my socks earlier, and I figured that perhaps the sock was bunched up around the toe. The smart thing to do would have been to stop at a location where I can sit down and checked the toe. I am not that smart.

My legs were pretty tired. I returned to Trailhead Park around 4:00 p.m. That wasn’t quite enough time for me to do another full loop, and I feared my legs were going to rebel on this last loop. Thus, I didn’t want to put myself in a position where I had to speed up. (The Hubs was supposed to be at Trailhead park with a couple of growlers of beer from Bale Breaker – I didn’t want to make him wait.) I went to the top via Canyon and came back down via Trailhead Loop & Sagebrush. Going up Canyon wasn’t as difficult as I imagined it would be, and it probably would have hurt a LOT more to go down that trail.

I made it back to Trailhead park shortly after 6 p.m. I could have wandered around Badger Flats until 6:30, but my toe hurt sumthin’ fierce. And I was oh so tired. Garmin says I logged 26.46 miles: I finally got my marathon ~ even if it took 10:15 of walking to get there. 😉

I knew I wanted a burger, so The Hubs & I went to HopJack’s – beer! tater tots! cheeseburgers! Not the greatest recovery meal, but it was yummy. Shortly before midnight, I noticed I’d taken 59,156 steps on Saturday. No way I was going to get in those last 844 steps before the day ticked over.

As I said at the beginning, the most important thing I learned from this is that one should not attempt to walk for twelve hours without having trained for such a thing. But it was a great chance to try some different gear; most importantly, it was a chance to see how I’d do in a 12-hour race. I’ll absolutely do this again. Right now, though, I’m focusing on healing my toe — no blister, but I’m certain I’ll lose that toenail — and getting ready for the Chamna Chase.

I still need to decide which costume I’m going to wear for that race…




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