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Palmer Lake 24 Hour Race

Palmer Lake 24 Hour Fun Run {PDR!}

31 Mar , 2014,
Heidi Kumm
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Earlier last week I saw a post about the Palmer Lake 24 Hour Fun Run. On Friday morning Paula, Chris and I signed up for it. Saturday morning rolled around and we headed south with a few bags of food and many layers of running gear having no idea what to expect.

We went in with the goal of 6 [or 7] hours at the race then heading back to real life and such. We really had no idea what we were doing and if it weren’t for Paula waiting for a ride I may have stayed in bed. The idea of showing up at a small ultra terrified me. It was a laid back event put on for the sake of getting people some training miles but I had decided I was going for a PRD [Personal Distance Record] of at least 32 miles and that got me all worked up.

24hrs of Palmer Lake: Race Video 2014 from Jerry Armstrong on Vimeo.

Turns out I got myself in a tizzy over nothing, as usual. We arrived, introduced ourselves to the Race Director, Israel Archuletta, and haphazardly claimed a place in the grass. At 8:01am the 30ish runners started their first loop around the lake.

Oh, did I mention that entire race was run around a 0.82 mile “lake” loop? Yea. That may have been another reason I was freaking out about the race and my distance goals. I have spent many mornings whining about the 2.5 mile loop around Wash Park, how was I going to survive just 0.82 miles per loop?!

The Running

I started running with Paula at an easier pace – she is completely insane and did the Crossfit 14.5 Friday night so her legs were hating her – while Chris cruised along as his version of an easy pace. He might be new to this running thing but I’m quickly losing my ability to keep up with him! As we looped around the lake area [it was a very empty lake] we talked each other’s ears off and let the miles just slide on by.

The timing system was old school – write your name on the board and mark down a tally every time you pass by. We started out stopping at every single loop to tally and play tic tac toe. Yup, we play games when we run. There was a playground set right near by so we spend the first 10ish miles being awesome at tic tac toe. We both won, then we got distracted with miles and eating. Lots of eating. Israel cooked up 6 pounds of bacon for us…I was in heaven. Bacon + chips + M&Ms + Swedish Fish = Happy Shorts Heidi!

Tic Tac Toe…and a half marathon selfie! Look how smiley Paula is 13.1 miles into her day!

Paula came to run 10 miles and called it a day when she hit 20 miles…she is crazy. Completely crazy. Chris was strictly instructed [by me] to keep his distance under 25 miles. He finished up at 27.06 miles – he’s an ultra runner! I would have smacked him for it but I may have been the one to instigate the last few miles. Oops.

They both promised me they were happy to nap in the grass while I kept my loops going…so I kept running. After the first 15 miles or so I decided to either get someone to tally for me or save up my tally marks for every other loop – the constant stopping to tally was making me crazy. By the time I hit a full marathon I had gotten into a rhythm of stopping every 2-3 loops to eat, drink and tally.

The loop…and the food!

I hit a full marathon 10 minutes shy of 5 hours, took a breather to swap out socks then headed back out to cover a 50K in just under 6 hours. Technically the 6 hour make was our “limit” for the day but I was still going strong and Paula assured me she was capable of speed showering before her dinner plans so I started looping again hoping for 36 miles in 7 hours. By the time I hit 6.5 hours I was at 34 miles…which meant I was definitely going for 37 miles, I had the time.

Running my last few steps…then done for the day!

I finished my final loop at 7:01:08 with a grand total of 37.75 miles and 46 loops around the lake. The last 2 miles were annoying. My body wanted a breather but with a 7 hour limit I didn’t have the time so I kept running. Nothing really hurt, per se, but everything wanted to be done running. I’m glad I didn’t stop at 35. I’m really glad I made it the full 7 miles.

Filling out my last tally of the day – 46 loops!

My last 10+ miles were the fastest of the day, on average. Actually, from mile 15 on I started pulling out miles in the 9’s and low 10’s while seeing a lot of 8:xx and low 9:xx on the “current pace” Garmin display – not entire accurate, but nice numbers! It felt crazy to see those numbers but my body wasn’t protesting – it was actually more annoying to slow down the pace so I just kept going. The last 5 miles were all below 9:10 with two at 8:5x. That’s really just a bunch of numbery stats to most people, but to me that is crazy talk…and proof that I am probably capable of running a fair bit faster than I currently do.

The Body

As soon as I finished my last lap I stopped by the aid station table, stared at the food and walked away empty-handed. I expected to feel a gnawing hunger after all those miles and I was ready to take on large quantities of real food. But food didn’t appeal to me. I plopped myself down in a chair and chugged water. I wasn’t exhausted. No part of my body was broken. My feet were blister free. My muscles were tired but fully functional. And I was incredibly proud of my body for pulling off this kind of crazy, impulse racing!

Still running smiley in the mid-30’s!

It wasn’t rainbows and unicorns the entire run but the aches progressively moved throughout my body as the loops went on. My first ache was in my lower back – it’s been a trouble spot for a long while now. A dull, annoying pain became grouch inducing even after awkward stretching but at some point it just went away. I don’t remember when, I just remember realizing my back wasn’t hurting any more.

Self inflicted rolly pain…

After I hit the 20 mile mark my right calf got angry with me for unknown reasons. It tightened up and kept threatening to knot. After I crossed over the 26.2 mile mark [really wanted my sub-5hr marathon] I spent some time rolling it out and switched over to the Zensah Compressions socks that arrived in the mail this week. The next miles were better and after another roll out stop around mile 32 my calf had settled down. It wasn’t overjoyed with me, but it was no longer protesting. I’ve never been a devote compression wearer…after this little experience that may change, I think the added Zensah compression socks made all the difference in the world!

Still smiling after 46 laps – most important part of the race!
See that “half marathon” mark up top? That’s from an 8 year old that went on to run 20 miles!

Aside from those two incidents my body didn’t really complain. I was impressed. Personally, I expected much more misery – both physically and mentally. It wasn’t all easy but I never doubted my ability to run and after the first 20 miles there was no doubt in my mind that I’d hit at least 30 miles. The course may have been flat and loopy but it was a huge confidence booster for my endurance!

The Food

We went grocery shopping at 9pm the night before the race with no idea of what we would need. It wasn’t required that we brought food but I wanted my own stash of go-to snacks, just in case. We arrived at the race with chips, Swedish Fish, Powerade, Mt Dew, espresso beans and random gels. Israel has an awesome set up with fresh fruit, cupcakes, donuts, potatoes, M&Ms and bacon galore.

I started running with a handheld + gel mixture. I hesitantly used a Clif Shot Citrus gel [not a citrus fan] and a standard Honey Stinger gel. Turned out to be an awesome combo, tasted just like sweet iced tea! Definitely buying more caffeinated citrus gels! Beyond that I had absolutely NO plan when it came to food. I’d eat whatever I was in the mood for and when I was hungry. I ate quite a bit in the beginning but as the miles wore on I slowed down my inhalation of food.

The start/finish of the loop – Paula is marking down our tallies, the food is behind her.

I never felt very hungry or depleted of energy so I must have been doing something right but I need to do some serious nutrition experimentation before I take on Quad Rock! I at least need to have a backup plan should things go south, something I know I can depend upon. Something that isn’t pure sugar or lubed up in bacon grease. Something that doesn’t make my lips all sticky with gel residue. Something that is guaranteed to at least settle a stomach and get me nutrients…any suggestions on what that something can/should be?!

Overall, it was a crazy awesome day. Not only did I run further [and faster] than I expected I got do watch other people to crazy things. Crazy things like Chris’s first marathon, on a whim. Crazy things like Paula double her “goal distance” even after a heavy leg workout the night before. And super crazy things like 7 and 8 year olds covering 20+ miles. I was really hesitant to actually show up on race day but I am so glad I drug my butt out of bed, even if I hadn’t covered my goal distance it would have been an incredible day!

What happens after 37 miles…I lay on the ground and whine until you cover me in jackets and hold them down with food!

The official results are in – I pulled off second place female! Yay for small races! The woman ahead of me was nearly 50 miles ahead of me so I didn’t have a chance at winning. I’ll happily accept my 2nd place status! You can see all the numbery result stuff on

Random Side Note: My body is loving the long miles. After the 7 hours of running a Palmer Lake I took the day easy but never crashed and burned or hated myself for the distance. Instead I got up early the next morning to meet the Boulder Running Company crew for 10 miles on rolling hills at Lair o’ the Bear.

My body did not protest until it realized I’d stupidly forgotten to bring any food with me. The miles were not easy but they were far from the most difficult steps I’ve taken so I’m calling this weekend a fan-freaking-tastically huge win!


  1. Heidi @BananaBuzzbomb March 31, 2014 at 6:16 am Reply

    Woohoo! Way to go. You are a rock start =)

    • Heidi @BananaBuzzbomb March 31, 2014 at 6:22 am Reply

      Errr, that should be star Ha!

      • Heidi Nicole March 31, 2014 at 11:51 am Reply

        Ha. I’m okay with being a rock start! 🙂

        Thank you!

  2. Terry Miller March 31, 2014 at 9:20 am Reply

    Nice job! As for what to eat, this may be controversial but I (and lots of others) have been trying to be really low carb to get the body to use fat as fuel more. I went 6+ hrs and 5600′ elevation gain and only had an egg McMuffin and hash browns before I started and less than 12 oz of bacon while I was going. Just water to drink. As the hours add up, all those carbs/sugar start to be hard on your stomach. Fat makes you feel more satiated, less nauseous. Used to be I would have had 10 gels in that time and that gets old.
    The guys I was with were talking about something called ultra balls. It’s a homemade thing. They say the recipe is on the web.

    • Heidi Nicole March 31, 2014 at 11:53 am Reply

      I agree with the sugars getting old and abusive after a while. So far I’ve been able to depend upon my body’s cravings to help me figure all that out. I’ve never paid much attention to the actual ratio of carbs/sugars/proteins in any aspect of my life so this nutrition while running thing is an interesting beast to figure out. Thanks for the tips!

  3. Amy March 31, 2014 at 9:41 am Reply

    Congrats on a PDR and a 2nd place victory! I do 2.7 mile laps around Sloans Lake all the time and it kills me. I cannot even imagine .82 mile laps! But I imagine with the right company and food and fun, it would be OK. I think you have nothing to worry about for your 50 miler!

    • Heidi Nicole March 31, 2014 at 11:55 am Reply

      Thank you!

      I spend so much time whining about the loops at Wash Park but the 0.82 mile loops were SO much easier. It must have been the people and knowing that I could eat ever 10 minutes if I wanted to. Food does crazy things for me motivation wise! 😉

  4. Marissa @ Barefoot Colorado March 31, 2014 at 3:28 pm Reply

    First, AWESOME JOB!! Second, those kids are making me look like a wimp.

    • Heidi Nicole March 31, 2014 at 10:05 pm Reply

      Thank you!

      Those kids were incredible! They just kept going round and round and round! I did not have that attention span nor determination at that age!

  5. Colorado Gal March 31, 2014 at 3:31 pm Reply

    Holy cow, congrats! That is such an awesome way to PDR- you so have Quad Rock in the bag 🙂 Remind me what date it is? I’ve gotta be there!

    • Heidi Nicole March 31, 2014 at 10:06 pm Reply

      Thanks! It is kind of surreal…crazy legs!

      It’s May 10th. Come hang out, it’ll be fun! 🙂

  6. Cassie @ Rural Running Redhead March 31, 2014 at 8:31 pm Reply

    Wow! So impressive. You’re going to kill it at Quad Rock.

    • Heidi Nicole March 31, 2014 at 10:09 pm Reply

      Thank! I really hope so…or at least I hope I survive with a smile or two!

  7. Laura April 1, 2014 at 4:46 pm Reply

    WAY TO GO!

    I’m like you - I don’t pay attention to nutrient ratios and just go by what I’m craving at the time. For my longest distance (which is only 39 miles, not the 50 you’re going for) I had a mix of gels, Oreos, pretzels, and Gatorade. Pretty standard stuff! My stomach seemed to do okay on that, but I had something different (because I was craving something different) each time I stopped. Does that help at ALL? I guess what I’m saying is, whatever you pick, make sure you have multiple options.

    • Heidi Nicole April 4, 2014 at 2:29 pm Reply

      I think following cravings is kind of the way to go, especially if you can keep drinking electrolytes and what not. My stomach seemed better with the craving-as-you-go plan than it has had in the past with more specific must-eat-this-now running I’ve done in the past. Probably sticking with this kind of plan for the 50M. At least the first 50M. How that all goes will have a pretty major impact on the 100M which will probably require some eating even if I really don’t want to!

      Thanks for the input — glad to see the eat-what-you-crave method works for more than just me!

  8. Natalie @ Free Range Human April 4, 2014 at 10:54 am Reply

    You are all kinds of insane! In the best possible way 🙂

    • Heidi Nicole April 4, 2014 at 2:33 pm Reply

      Insane is kind of fun! 🙂

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