Final race of the year! Here’s my 2021 Nutcracker 6 Hour Race Recap!
Why would you run for 6 hours?
The Nutcracker Endurance Run is different. It is time based, meaning you choose a time (3, 6, or 12 hours) and run as many miles as you can within that time.
Success is inevitable in this format. The only way to DNF (“did not finish”) is to not show up!
It would be kind of rude to leave for 12 hours on his weekend!
It rained right up until the point we were briefed and began running.
The course here is simple: you run five miles to Dunn, NC on a dirt trail- this is not aggressive terrain at all- then turn around and run back.
I parked my car right at the start, so at the end of each 10 mile out-and-back, I simply went to the trunk rather than arranging a drop bag area.
Ran the first 8 miles swapping stories of parenting multiples with a twin Dad. I love making friends on the course and will purposely look for people without headphones to do so!
I knew it was going to be an off day when I had made it into double digits and hadn’t yet found a groove.
It is really hard to put a finger on what was happening with my mind; my body was fine but I was in a mental pain cave all day.
I even used all my go-to mindset tricks and the only thing that gave me any relief was self talk that sounded like this: “you’re only out here for 6 hours instead of 12“.
…which is a problem.
No matter which distance (or in this case time based option) you opt for, you should be having fun.
Changed my shoes and socks at mile 20, which drained a lot of time but I was hyperaware of my feet getting blistered.
As I’ve discussed previously, your feet will give out before your legs do! I didn’t need another reason to complain in my head.
Tried to distract myself with audio books and Peloton classes.
Hit the marathon (26.2 miles) point faster than expected around 3:58. I should have been feeling great, right? Still felt off.
Not physically, mentally.
It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be there- I did! Just couldn’t find my groove.
At Nutcracker, when runners cannot make the complete 10 mile out and back within the allotted time, they have the option to do single mile loops until the clock runs out.
Here’s the kicker, though: you cannot do more than 9 single laps.
What of you go out for the 10 and don’t make it back in time?
None of them count.
And 10 miles is a pretty long time to make a “final” decision like that- you can feel very different at, say, 30 than you do at 35 miles.
I had just shy of 90 minutes left at this point, so it was an easy decision to go for loops.
If you are reading this and contemplating this race, this is something to consider.
Here’s an observation about those loops I want to mention: I started walking at this point.
I hadn’t stoped to walk all day long.
With the exception of fueling and shoe changes, of course.
Yet, when I saw other people walking, something in my head was like, “it’s okay to walk- everyone else is doing it“
I don’t know if this can be attributed to my already weak mental state or just plain ol’ peer pressure…but there we are.
The last 7 miles were a 8:2 run/walk ratio and I was absolutely spent by the end.
Even with the running and walking combo, I secured first female overall by and third overall with 37 total miles.
The leading men (including the twin Dad from early in the race!) ran 42 and 41 miles.
It was not a bad performance, yet I just felt MEH about the whole day.
I am strangely at peace with this experience.
When you’ve been a runner as long as I have, you know there will be great days and there will be not so great days. And they don’t always correlate with performance.
You can have a great day and a slow time.
You can have a crap day and a fast time.
Hindsight is 20/20, but I got trigger happy about race registrations this year as events began opening up post pandemic and apparently there is too much of a good thing.
I had a really busy race schedule this Fall and Nutcracker 6 Hour may have been my mind crying “uncle”!
I will absolutely do this race again because it can’t be beat in terms of pure camaraderie and holiday spirit (lots of people dress up much more elaborately than a tutu!).
If you are toying with the idea of a longer distance but don’t want to commit to a specific race distance (half marathon, full marathon, or ultra), this is a great way to dip your toe in the water.
There’s literally no way to fail here unless you don’t show up.
It’s also is a not for profit event and 100% of proceeds benefit Dunn Police Athletic League, Dunn Rotary Club, and Dunn-Erwin Rail Trail. Registration is relatively inexpensive and the swag is always great!
Let’s connect on Instagram or keep reading some of my other posts below:
- Review: Ultima Replenisher
- All About Boston Marathon 2022
- The Ultimate Senita Athletics Laundry Guide
- Best Bras Under $50 at Senita Athletics
- I beta tested the lululemon blissfeel running shoes and here are my thoughts