Running in Circles – New Year’s Revolution Run
Each year continually polls show that the most popular new years resolution is to well simply lose weight. Many set the goal, some buy memberships to gyms but continually let the gym membership card collect dust in our jump drawer. We as Americans are the most overweight and least fit country in the world, and yet we continue to make resolutions to lose weight and get healthy. I do have set goals for each year some years they come true and others they don’t. This year I committed to running more miles and be able to take on more ultra-marathons. I love the distance, but sometimes have a hard time committing to the miles and runs. This year was different.
In the fall shortly after moving to Utah I found a race called New Year’s Revolution Run/Ride. This is a 5-hour race to start off your new year, held in the Olympic Oval here in Utah, home of the “Fastest Ice in the World”. Most know the oval for the speed skating from the Salt Lake City Olympics, but outside of the ice is a 442 meter track (if you run on the inner lane). The race began promptly at 8:00am on January 1st and concluded at 1:00pm. The rules were pretty simple, you showed up when you wanted to, ran as long as you wanted, then went home. If you completed a half marathon (47.7 laps) or marathon (95.5 laps) you got a medal. Everyone got a great long sleeve tech tee and the satisfaction of knowing you started off your year with a race.
When I arrived on Tuesday morning, I didn’t know what to expect. I had planned on running with a friend, but last minute he had to bail due to a hard snowboard crash the day before. As I drove to the venue I found out. So it was time to go at a race completely alone again. It had been a while but I had raced alone before and put on my big girl pants to do it again. I walked in the door, perpetually early, spoke with the guys in charge for a few minutes. Everyone was pretty nice in the morning and it was a pleasant way to start the day. I opened my bag with my gear and noticed I had forgotten one thing, my headphones, oops! No friend, no personal music, well there is a reason for everything I guess and this day was about me not preparing well.
As I looked around as more and more people came into the Oval, I looked around and could immediately spot the trail guys and gals from the road warriors. It’s funny how everyone is a runner but personalities can be so different. I spotted a three a couple rows in front of me and it turned out it was Byron Powell and Meghan Hicks from iRunFar.com, I found out after the race. Love connecting with other runners and building new relationships in the community. I finished getting ready and headed to the start with my timing chip around my ankle.
As we lined up for the race to start there were people of all shapes, sizes, ages, and gender. It was truly a melting pot of people. We took off and it was on five hours of running around in a circle. There were people of every pace, as I watched the fasted wiz by me completing about three laps in the time it took me to do two. I settled into the second and third lanes for the race. The crowd at first was rather deep and I found the first hour or so I was dodging people. I would have short conversations with complete strangers along the way for a couple laps then go back to my running.
It seemed a second wave of people came a little later in the morning but after the first two and a half hours the crowd began to thin some, it would continue to do so until the end of the five hours when it seemed less than fifty people were still looney enough, stubborn enough, determined enough to finish out the five hours. Let’s put it into perspective the scenery didn’t change, the terrain didn’t change, and I kept searching for that elusive left turn the whole time.
Somehow in what seems like an awful sort of race, it was a blast! The people watching in the first couple of hours was fantastic, while we were all running the bikers were on their trainers in a corner of the Oval on their trainers for five hours. At some point a bunch of the bikers got off their bikes and proceeded to do the Gangnam Style dance around a loop. The atmosphere was something between a race, a fun run, and well really it was whatever you wanted it to be.
I had two goals going into this race, complete a marathon and run for the entire five hours. The funny part is I don’t actually have a marathon medal yet. I have a couple ultras, and tons of obstacle course racing medals, a few from trail races but no marathon. I wanted that marathon medal. In theory it seemed like a simple task to run a marathon in five hours, in reality I found running around in a track was in many ways harder, my right quad certainly thought so. I found myself having to pump out some quick laps to finish out the race. In the end I would have one lap of cushion on the day but complete both goals.
It wasn’t until I got home talked with a friend who use to run track that my majority of time spent in the second and third lane actually could have added two to three miles to my overall race distance. Either way I got my laps in started off the year with a bang, met new people, and had a great time. Definitely a great way to start the year and even though when I finish I said I didn’t want to do it again, I sit her today and can’t wait to give it a go again. This time my goal is 100 laps!