All Night Long

So when your friend (who just happens to be an amazing runner) asks you to run with them through the night to help them achieve an amazing goal the appropriate response is heck yes!!! And then you slightly panic because you don't know if you can actually run all night and convince your other amazing runner friend Nicole to come too because this ultra running business is kinda crazy and everyone needs back up! 

Kena is doing the Run for the Heroes 260 miles solo across Georgia (course goes from Ft. Stewart to downtown Columbus) over three days to raise money for the House of Heroes. If  you are the charitable sort consider making a donation on Kena's behalf. House of Heroes is a wonderful organization that provides no cost home repairs to military and public safety veterans. 

This run is for a good cause and all but I wanted to run with Kena for two reasons. Number 1- I like to run with Kena! Number 2- I am always up for learning about ultras and how people accomplish such crazy feats plus it seemed like good training. Nicole and I headed out from Columbus around 4 p.m. for a three and a half hour drive to rendezvous with Kena and her support crew (lesson number 1- Support crews are key to success and the most amazing people!) at around 8 p.m. We left in a little cushion time to stop for dinner because food is key. After fueling up on BBQ and driving forever we met up with the crew. Kena was still recovering from the heat of the day (this solo run/ relay is extra hard due to the heat and humidity. 90 degree temps= gross) so Nicole and I had enough time to seriously prepare for this overnight run- blowing up the neon balloons and playing with glow sticks. We come to party!

Once Kena and I were properly glowing we headed off. The pace was a run/walk which worked out perfectly for me. We met the support peeps every few miles to refuel and hydrate. The course is along highways and we passed through several towns. The scariest part were the giant semi's going what seemed to be 90 miles an hour. Scared the crap out of me every time.

Nicole is amazing! She got me a delicious slushy which was the best thing ever because even in the dark the temps seemed to be in the 80s, eventually dropping into the 70s I think. I never stopped sweating and never felt chilly. (lesson 2- crushed iced beverages are the bomb and when I do an ultra with some heavy mileage I want to bring a margaritaville machine along to make slushies and then margaritas at the end. I may also need a generator...)

Nicole has amazing energy so when you are feeling tired she totally boosts you back up and keeps you going. She can also find top notch candy in the middle of nowhere. It's a gift really. If you need someone to crew she is your girl! Organized, efficient and good energy- everything you need to run all night! Nicole actually came to run....but I hogged all the running and didn't even realize I was doing it. Though my watch was ticking of miles and time I wasn't really paying attention and I entered some weird time worm hole. When her running finally got brought up she was like uh it is 5 a.m. you might as well just keep going. Blew my mind! I thought it was like 2 or 3 a.m. (this is probably why you want Nicole to crew and not me since details such as time seem to escape me). Sorry Nicole for being a butthead and taking all the run time :(. 

Running all night requires some snack breaks. I had this bag of oreos, hot tamales, swedish fish and pretzels, you know the major food groups) and pulled out a magical cookie that had all three things stuck to it. Amazing! Now I had a lot of fun running through the night (lesson 3- when you are with someone else night running is fun. It is quiet and peaceful and totally different from running during the day) but it was not all fun snacks and awesomeness. Being on your feet, moving forward is tough even with funny stories, musical sing alongs, and encouragement. Kena had already run like 70 or so miles before we met up with her in 90 degree temps. She was tired and uncomfortable from being overheated during the day. But that did not keep her from being a total bad ass. She just kept going, moving forward one section at a time. If an issue came up she worked on fixing it and overcoming the problem. I hope I am as awesome as she is one day. 

By the time the sun came up we had covered 30 miles. No record setting pace was achieved but that is not how you cover 260 miles. You chip away at it piece by piece, steady movement forward. That is the longest I have ever been on my feet moving forward and a record distance for me. I am honored that Kena asked me to run with her and I was happy I was able to experience some of this race. I cannot wait to see how the rest of the race plays out because she is just amazing!

After saying goodbye Nicole drove us to breakfast where I decided a milkshake had been earned and then we drove three hours home. And by we I mean the amazing Nicole while I tried to keep my eyes open. Thanks Nicole for being the best running friend a girl could ask for!!!

To check on the progress of the solo runners visit: Run for the Heroes
The relay teams start Saturday and you can view their progress at the above site as well.


  1. This is so cool. I particularly love the neon balloons...bring 'em to Colorado!

  2. That's awesome!! It sounds like it was fun, except the running in 90 degrees with..I assume humidity? Ugh, hats off to Kena for being a total bad ass!!!


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