With a week off from running (but not off from cross-training), I am finally able to sit and write about Nanny Goat 2015. If you have just tuned in, Nanny Goat is an Old Goat, around-the-clock circuit race that takes place on a ranch in Riverside, California. About 200 runners set up camp along the one mile loop, with several groups of runners taking up residency in the barn, which we run through at the beginning of each loop. There is a 24 hour run, and two 12 hour runs, one taking off Saturday morning, the other Saturday night.
I arrived Friday night, with my oldest son. We set up camp just outside the barn. Being that said son broke a tent pole on a camping trip this past spring break, I was armed up with a band new tent – a mansion tent, compared to what I’m used too.
Early Saturday morning, more runners arrived and erected their campsites. Our tent neighbor was Tony – the same guy who was my neighbor last year. We took those last miles together, those painful miles that I felt I could not take another step. What a joy to see him again!! He said to me as he set up his site this year, “Do you remember what you said at the end of the race last year?” No, I did not remember. But I could have guessed. He told me that I said there was no way I would Nanny Goat again this year.
The runners gathered in the goat pen at about 8:15 AM Saturday morning, and we were off for our circuit race at 8:30 AM sharp. I had hoped that taped feet would ward off heal pain for many miles. No such luck. I struggled from the get-go. But it was not all miserable, as I was in the company of many friends and acquaintances, not to mention the best one-man crew ever! When I needed a soda, a towel, a tub of water to wash my face or feet – my boy did it all for me.
A good calf stretch does the plantar fasciitis good:The first twenty-six miles were quite the struggle. I stopped frequently, and stretched also frequently. On mile twenty-seven, my heals ached so badly, I dropped by the tent for a foot bath. Afterward, my feet were so dang clean, I could not get the tape to stick. My son suggested I throw dirt on my spanking clean feet – but I just couldn’t do it. Instead I popped two ibuprofen (the first and only of the event) and took off on the course. I felt good – I had finally gotten my groove. I ran until dark with good spirits, stopping by the barn for a hamburger and various other snacks (mainly potato chips – actually, my diet throughout the even consisted of potato chips.) Finally, at nightfall, I changed my shirt, put on a jacket and headed out again under darkness. I’m not sure where I was mileage-wise. My son was pushing me forward, assuring me that I would reach more than 70 miles at the rate I was going.
Some time before midnight, I’d say around 11 PM, but I’m not really sure, I decided that I just did not want to do this anymore. My one-man crew somewhat pleaded with me to carry on (but I think that he just really wanted my air mattress). I really was done though – forty miles was a good workout as far as I was concerned. Eventually, I made a deal. I would not drop from the race, instead, I would sleep for a while. For a long time actually. I set my alarm for 5AM, with the intent of possibly getting out for another ten miles in the morning before quitting time.
Thing was, as soon as I lay down beneath the thick sleeping bag, my body shut down, and I froze. I shivered for it seemed several hours. Struggling in the dark, I changed my clothing hoping that would help – but it still took some time for my body to get back to normal. I probably didn’t get to sleep until about 1AM, and woke frequently from the constant cowbell ringing in the barn.
I turned the alarm off at 5AM resolved to officially throw in the towel. At 6AM, gave the air mattress to my son and crawled out of the tent to watch the runners who went through the night coming through the barn. I was not jealous one bit. This was not my year to go through the night. I’ve done it twice before, and know what it’s like. Yup, forty miles was good for me this year. I am better for it.