Today was the 9th annual “world renowned” Riddle Run at Lake of the Woods forest preserve in Mahomet, IL. The Riddle Run is a 28.35 mile ultramarathon run consisting of 7 loops on a 4.05 mile trail. It is named after its organizer, Jeff Riddle, and it is a very low-key event. The run uses “clipboard timing” (rather than chip timing), where runners are required to write their times down on a clipboard after every loop. Most runners have no intention of running all 7 loops, only 1 loop is required to get an official race cupcake. A record 105 people pre-registered for today’s run (that is to say they sent an email to Jeff).
4 years ago I completed all 7 loops of the Riddle Run in 5:23:44. It was my one and only ultramarathon. 6 weeks after the 2004 Riddle Run I tore the cartilage in my left knee and took 3.5 years off of running. When I started running again last August I could never have imagined picking up where I left off, but today I finished the Riddle Run again, completing my second ultramarathon in 4:50:32.
I was nowhere nearly as well prepared for the run today as I had been 4 years ago. Last time I did multiple 18 mile training runs, whereas this time I did multiple 12 mile training runs. I think my legs are stronger now (thanks to countless hours of cycling), and at 29 years of age I think I am slightly better suited for endurance events than I was when I was 25. Fortunately, we also had “great” weather today. It was 23˚ at the start and 34˚ at the finish, whereas in 2004 it was -10˚ at the start and +5˚ at the finish.
I must have burned over 4000 calories, so I definitely felt the need for a nap when I got home. It was exhausting, though I was never really in pain, which is a good thing. Many of the runners choose to eat their cupcake after the first loop, but I wanted to save mine until the end. It made the accomplishment that much “sweeter.”