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Yeti 24 HR Challenge - Recap

Yeti 24 Hour Challenge Recap

With the crazy times we currently find ourselves in, like many, I was thirsting for some sort of event to look forward too and to reconnect with the running community… That’s when I stumbled across Sean “Run Bum” Blanton’s post about the Yeti 24 Hour Challenge being put on by Yeti Trail Runners. After a quick review of the details, and the fact my payment details are saved to my UltraSignUp account (horrible decision…) I was registered within a few clicks/seconds.

The rules are simple… Run 5 Miles at the top of every 4th Hour for 24 Hours. 6 Legs, 30 miles total (throw in an additional mile for a full 50K). Similar to a RAGNAR event, just without teammates. I decided to start my challenge at 2PM on Saturday. With two little boys, it allowed the schedule to fit around key family events. (Dinner, Bedtime, Breakfast, etc.) Which I figured was only fair to my wife that I still handle my domestic duties.

1st Leg (2PM) – I decided to get my first leg done on a 5-mile lollipop loop on some trails at the local park. I am usually doing much more than 5 miles, so this was a great opportunity to hit only the most primo section and have a really enjoyable run. A really fun little section, about 450 ft of gain in mostly a single climb with a big gnarly decent back down, followed up by a super buttery single track that follows the river back to the trail head parking lot. I absolutely love these trails and spend about 75% of my time training out here... with most of the trail head parking areas closed it was nice to get on some dirt.

Stats – 5.12 Miles, 40:01, 7:49 Avg Pace, 446 ft of Gain.

2nd Leg (6PM) – We had decided on burgers for dinner and as usual we are running late, so by the time I had the Traeger fired up and finished the burgers it was already 5:40… So scarfed that baby down and got dressed. The plan was to hit the green way from my house to the western terminus (exactly 5 miles) and the family was going to pick me up and we would grab some shakes on the way home.

I love this path, it’s crushed limestone and follows a creek the entire way with shade provided almost the entire way with 150+ year old Oak trees (I think that’s what they are… probably wrong). I run at least a portion of it almost everyday.

Stats – 5.04 Miles, 33:10, 6:34 Avg Pace, 52ft of Gain.

After this leg, I threw my legs up for a few minutes to rest before the night legs began…. Just kidding. I have two kids, they wanted a fire to roast smores, so I spent the next 40 minutes chopping wood, building a fire, and wiping marshmallow out of their hair.

3rd Leg (10PM) – I am usually in bed by this time, so from experience I know, this is where the mental challenge usually begins. There is a killer loop I like doing from my house… It contains a solid 1 mile gradual downhill, right back into a gradual 1-mile climb with a half mile “flat” section back to my front door. So I threw on the headlamp and I hit this loop twice. Love seeing the neighborhood lit up. Coolest thing on this leg was an owl that was hooting, and I swear it was following me the entire time. Pretty bad ass.

Stats – 5.29 Miles, 39:59, 7:33 Avg Pace, 361ft of Gain.

I got back to the house, grabbed a bowl of cereal, and hit the bed with my alarm set for 1:40AM. As I expected from experience, pretty much a wasted effort. My body was still revved up and I always get super nervous about oversleeping. So, I’ll be generous here and say maybe an hour of busted sleep.

4th Leg (2AM) – 15 Miles in, up since 6:30AM the previous day, starting and stopping, my body was a little stiff. But, that’s what you get with these types of events. At 1:50AM, my phone goes off… I am thinking, Cool! Someone cares enough to shoot me a text of encouragement… to my surprise, it was my brother-in-law Daniel (crewed me at Leadville, supports these crazy things). The text read, “Hey bro! I’m parked outside in your driveway. Ready to get some…” I really couldn’t believe it. It was a huge jolt of energy. I really didn’t even have a route in mind for this leg, so we just ran together (safely separated) and talked about work/life/family the entire time. Before I knew it the 5 miles was up.

Stats: 5.04 Miles, 42:44, 8:31 Avg Pace, 344ft of Gain.

He told me his plan was to sleep in the back of his truck and hit the 6AM leg as well. I told him the only way he could join is if he at least slept on the couch in our basement (careful to not contaminate our general living area)… he agreed.

5th Leg (6AM) – I had my alarm set for 5:40AM… again a wasted effort at sleep, but I’d say I caught another hour… I shot downstairs made a couple cups of coffee and we sat on the front porch chatting waiting on 6 o’clock to strike.

Another reason I set the 2PM start time, was because I knew this leg would be perfectly matched up with the sunrise. We nailed it! This leg was a simple lollipop loop I enjoy which includes a lap around the city park. This was probably the most enjoyable loop of the entire event for me. I love running through early mornings and sunrises.

Stats: 5.05 Miles, 43:27, 8:36 Avg Pace, 190ft of Gain.

I literally laid on the couch for 3 minutes before I heard the pitter patter of my 3 year old upstairs… Welp, time to start the day.

6th Leg (10AM) – By this time, I had been up 30 hours, with approx. 2 hours of “sleep”. I finished breakfast and the general morning routine with the family and decided I was going to hit a varied route on the same green way path of leg 2. I am not going to lie, I felt like a rusted robot for the first mile. I am horrible at stretching and warming up/cooling down, so these events are not my forte. Once I got loosened up, I just enjoyed the rest of the run, thinking back on the legs and everyone who was participating in this awesome event. I passed an old man I recognized, who never fails to ask what mile I’m on and somehow he is always several miles deeper than me. I mean I’ve been on a 25M long run and he’ll be like yea I’m closing in on 30… So when he asked this time, I thought should I say 30, or 5? How deep am I really?... I said 5, he said 13… I snickered to myself, I should of said 30 just to hear what he had to say. Eventually was back to the truck, and in a way relieved, and in a way upset.

Stats: 5.52 Miles, 39:26, 7:08 Avg Pace, 43ft of Gain.

So now, here it is 9PM, boys are asleep, I have been up for almost 40 hours on 2 hours of sleep, and I find myself already asking, "What's next?"

These events are as physically tough as you make them. It is the mental side of it that is challenging, and that is where I find the value in these types of things. Running when you’re tired, running when you’re sore, getting up when you don’t want too, etc. I don’t think physically it compares to a single outing ultra, but no doubt it mentally puts you in a similar place… If you are looking at getting into an ultra or jumping up to 100K or 100M distance, this is a great way to train what is most likely the most important factor to success at those distances.

If none of that make sense, if nothing else, these challenges are fun, the proceeds from this event help out small business, and it gave me something to look forward too and connect with the running community. I’d urge anyone to go for it and push themselves a little bit.

As always - Roam Free/Run Far !

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