Black Mountain Monster 24 hour run – 2013


I loved this race last year, and was really looking forward to running it again this year.  It has such a great atmosphere, and I’ve found the 24 hour format, where you run the same loop over and over, really seems to suite me.  Well, I’d only done it once, but I just knew from the 1st time I thought about it, it would suit me.  🙂

Here’s a link to my preview post.  The most relevant part of that post:

My goal is get stronger for Leadville in August, which means I don’t want to kill my training the few weeks following BMM24.  My guess is that means I’ll run something north of 75 miles, but I won’t hesitate to back off or pull out if anything comes up that might jeopardize Pb.  But if I’m feeling great I’ll just run with it…

So, would I be able to “hold back” in a race?  Read on to see.

Heather and I drove up right after Haw River’s field day ended.  We had learned from last year about a few gear items that would be nice to have, including a table and canopy, so the car was a bit more full.

Typical race understatement.  In reality it should read “RACE OF AWESOME!!!”


We were one of the 1st four or five groups to arrive, so we quickly set up camp in about the same spot as last year.

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We ran out to My Father’s pizza — they now have  gluten free crust (though it’s not quite as good as their normal crust), as well as cider!   A quick run to the grocery store for a few last minute items and we headed back to camp to hang out with other runners.  At one point I was surprised to hear one of my favorite songs playing a few camp sites down — The Avett Brothers’ “Gift for Melody Ann” — so I walked down and talked to them.  This song has the line “I want to keep running all day and all night even when my mind tells my body that’s enough,” and if I ever meet Scott or Seth, I’m going to tell them they have it backwards.  It’s the body that is screaming “Stop!” but the mind is what keeps you going…  🙂

The one thing about last year’s camping that surprised us is how loud the trains were.  This year I grabbed a video of one of the trains, though it doesn’t quite catch the volume:

So this year we all brought ear plugs.  I went to bed around 10:00 p.m. and slept pretty well.  I only heard one train come through, though everyone tells me there were 3 or 4.  Guess the ear plugs worked!

I love the 10:00 a.m. start.  It allows for a nice leisurely morning with coffee and time to go through gear one more time, get everything set up just right, etc.  I was surprised that a few people came in the last 30 minutes or so!  But most of them had a “crew” to finish set up after the race started.  Sho Gray came in just a few minutes before and was kind enough to bring me a half a bag of ice to top off my cooler!

There’s not much to report in a 24 hour run that is just a 5k loop over and over and over and over and over and over and…. You get the point.  So I’ll just quickly go through a few things.

I made a few facebook posts from the course so I know:

50k in 5:45

50 miles in 9:45

Beyond that, I took my phone out on loop 16, which when complete would be 49.6.  As I was coming in to the check point I heard one of the most amazing renditions of “Hallelujah” I have ever heard… Sorry for the bounciness of the camera:

I’ve since checked with the RD and this is Rota Williams.  She does not yet have a web page or a demo CD but is working on it.  I will be first in line to buy it!  I took a bunch of pictures on this loop as well as the video below:

50 mile update

Here are a couple of pictures people took of me… This one was from mile 45 or so, I think, as I still had my hat on:

I think this is one loop later (I think), with the hat off.  Still smiling at nearly 50 miles!

And then here are some photos I took on that loop:

The very beginning of the loop:

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My favorite section to run — nice soft pine: IMG_2339

The one “aid station” half way out on the course — always stocked with cold water, a bit of fruit, gatorade.  And Vaseline, which would come in handy later.  (I’m still not sure how I feel about community Vaseline, but it was an emergency!!)

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At one point I came up on Heather, and less than 5 minutes later passed her again!  She had cut the course unintentionally.  (And later ran this section twice to make up for it.)   I figured out on the next loop it was here, as I almost made the same mistake, where there was no orange tape at the time and the cones were a bit off, making it quite confusing.  I mentioned it to the cross country coach when I saw him and he fixed it immediately.



So, how did I do?  I tried really hard to not know how the other runners were doing, as I just wanted to run my own race.  However, sometime around 30 or 40 miles in, the lap counters started updating me each loop.  And they confirmed what I thought — that only Sho Gray was in front of me.  On a few loops, the cross country coach even used his stop watch to keep track of how far in front of me Sho was — and it was pretty steady at about 20 minutes for a while.

Sometime around 2 or 3 a.m., I was checking in and about to head out — when I saw Sho sitting right there!  He had just come in so had finally gained a full lap on me.  He was going to walk a loop with his friends, so I did gain back the loop as I headed out.  But on the next lap he went flying by me like I was sitting still.  I eeked out a couple more loops, but when my lap times degraded enough, and I had walked 95% of the my last loop,  I decided to call it at about 5:20 a.m., leaving four hours 40 minutes on the table.  I had run 86.8 miles in 19 hours and 40 minutes.  That would be good enough for 2nd place…

I had felt quite good through mile 65 or so, but slowed when it got dark.  And now that I was mostly walking I figured I was no longer helping my Leadville cause.  Here it is a few days later and I am sure I made the right call to stop when I did.  While I’m certainly not 100% recovered, I feel pretty good.  I’m 99% sure I could have walked in 5 more laps to get to 102.3 (Sho’s eventual winning total), but it would have been tight, and it would have hurt!  And Sho would have had time to get one more lap in anyway.  My goal was always to use this a build for Leadville — a “B” race but with a solid effort.  And in that, I succeeded.

Here’s a pace chart:

After running this, I really do want to go all out in a 24 hour race at some point…  Last year I hit 99.2 miles in this race, but I was under-trained and really over raced.  I was shot for several weeks — perhaps even on the point of adrenal fatigue.   So I want to do a 24 when properl y prepared… Maybe this one next year.  Sho and Bruce, last year’s winner, are already talking about a show down next year.  So maybe the 2nd place runner the past two years (me) will join them for a nice little run in the mountains.  🙂

6 thoughts on “Black Mountain Monster 24 hour run – 2013

  1. I have to bust your chops a bit…you were the 2nd place male but 3rd overall. You got chicked by Ong. 😉 (I’m impressed that you shut it down when you did. That was very smart running.) Thanks for your support (and driving home…I was TOAST!).

  2. It’s probably good I didn’t know Ong had run so far… I might have kept going against my better judgement. 😉 Nah, I would have stopped. I played it just right, I think.

  3. Congratulations. Sounds like a successful run all around as you were smart and still met your goals. I’ll have to agree with your assessment of Rota’s Version of “Hallelujah.” Just the little bit that you captured sounds impressive. Bet it was even better in person.

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