One Mile With A Smile - 12 Hour Endurance Event

As I pulled into Heather's driveway to make some repairs in her bathroom, a large box was in front of the door...  reading the logo on the box, I pulled my phone from my pocket and sent a text.

"Did you order a cooler?"
"Yes! Surprise!!  For our event this weekend!"

I brought it in, unboxed it for her and made those repairs!! This was going to really help us out this Saturday to help keep of our drinks super-cold! Awesome purchase!

The One Mile with a Smile 12 Hour Endurance Event would be a first for Heather and myself. A timed event in which the clock runs down from 12 hours and participants see how many miles they can get in during that time. The event accommodated fifty people, each with a different goal in mind! Ours... Do 50 miles in 10 hours or so... and stopping at that point, not running the full 12 hours unless of course it would take us that long to cover the 50 mile distance.... I honestly did not think it would!

With two seventy mile weeks back to back leading up tho this event, I had a great base, my legs felt strong and I was ready for what I was just considering a "Day of Running" (saying this, took off some of the pressure) with my best friend and running partner and no other woman in the world that I would want to be by my side for duration of time it was going to take us to accomplish our goal!

The event started at 7 am and so the plan was to get up at 3 am and leave by 4 am to arrive with plenty of time to set up "camp"! We had a 10x10 pop up tent, the Artic cooler Heather just bought, a table, two chairs and alot of food/fuel to keep us going for the full fifty! We had mostly everything packed in Heather's Yukon the night before to alleviate some of the workload in the morning since we were going to be getting such an early start.... the only thing I might be willing to lift that early is my cup of coffee to my mouth until my eyes widened and the fog cleared!

The night before.. I felt calm, relaxed ad ready.. I wasn't nervous at all and as Heather and I were texting good night.. we both seemed ready and confident!

This calm was mostly because we knew that there was no "real" pressure.. you cannot DNF a timed event, we were able to create our own aid station and stop whenever we felt like it.. piece of cake, right? :)  We did have a strategy as this 50 mile goal was basically a "tune-up" for the Yeti 100 that will take place at the end of September! Twice the distance with a whole lot less conveniences!

We said good night to each other and off we went to sleep awaiting that 3 am alarm to go off.... ugh... and it did! Too quick!

It was going to be a long day.. but a fun day!


Heather pulled into my driveway just about 4 am! We loaded some food into the cooler and the dry items just remained in the bag! We had everything we needed for  the day!

Armed with a Yeti full of java.. I took the drivers seat of the Yukon and we were off to Chesapeake!


We arrived to Oak Grove Lake Park with plenty of time to spare! As soon as we got out the Yukon we saw Katie and Scott Cumberland! Katie was there with her own goals and Scott was there in support of her efforts!

Heather and I took just about all we could on the first trip, leaving behind only the replacement beverages that wouldn't fit in the cooler. Some extra ginger-ale, powerade zero and water! We never went back for it...

We quickly picked out and claimed our land among the small landscape of tents and coverings along side the lake and crushed graveled path we would be running along, setting up our tent and getting things half way organized for our day! A few minutes later we made our way over to the packet pick up table. The line was not that long but seemed to be moving slower than it should have. The line got longer as the 7 o'clock start time approached and because of this, the race started about 12 minutes later after a few brief words from the race director!

Not much to learn here.. nothing complicated. Run clockwise only, not the other way and check in on every lap! Easy. The lap itself was a 1.5 mile loop around the lake. The path was wide and made up of a mixture of dirt and crushed gravel. The loop offered a combination of shade and full sunlight depending where you were on the loop. Benches and various workout stations dotted the course and with such a beautiful day, many families were out in the park as well. Some walking, others riding bikes, walking dogs, or otherwise just enjoying the weather.

The event got on it's way around 7:12 am!

Off we went!

Shane & Heather
The Start Line of the 1.5 mile loop

Our strategy for this 50 Mile goal was a run/walk method of 4:2. That's 4 minutes of running and 2 minutes of walking! This strategy will allow us to run a little faster with walk breaks that will keep us moving forward while offering a little recovery and rest intermingled throughout each mile. Not something we're used to in marathon running or training, but these distances require a different approach. This strategy would take effect right from the start.

Initially we started to pit stop for aid every other loop but that changed pretty quickly to every third loop or every 4.5 miles. This seemed to work well, although we would compensate our non-stop loops by grabbing something quickly without stopping from the aid station the race provided. Water, clementines, granola bars and eventually even Popsicle's were being offered... which we totally accepted!

Throughout the event we kept to plan and it seemed to be working well for both of us... by mile 25, half way through our goal, we were feeling good and I kept saying what a great job we were doing with our nutrition. We were eating and drinking regularly, eating everything from some turkey sandwiches we had made to salted boiled potatoes that Heather prepared the night before to M&M's, skittles and potato chips!

We also were drinking some tailwind, ginger-ale, powerade zero and water.

As we clicked through the miles we saw and briefly chatted with friends along way and made some new ones too! One of the big differences I have found over the years between the marathon and the ultra communities is the sense of comradery you feel on the trails! We all seem to slow down a bit on the trails and for some reason we get a little bit more chatty when running more than 26.2! We had some fun out there with the other participants and everyone was very encouraging toward another!

Some ways in we noticed that Heather made it to the third place spot in the top 3 leader board for current most laps.. later we were told she had moved up to the second place spot although not yet recorded on the board yet. After a few more laps I checked the board and sure enough she was on there at second place! So I snapped a photo real quick and we were on our way!

Heather Gardiner Makes it to the 2nd Place Leader Board!

Now, I must say.. I was not even paying attention to the top 3 men's because no way would I make it on the list... But If you take a look, I was tied for third at that moment in time! I had know idea until I sent this off as a text message to our training partner Emily (who was supposed to be with us) after we were done, while bragging on Heather and her response made me open the photo again. To my surprise, there I was!

This made me happy but in the end Heather and I both knew we would lose the positions anyways as we were not going to be running the entire 12 hours... only until the fifty mile mark. those who were close to us would pass us if they kept running.. and because we knew whom was out there.. we knew they were there for the 12!

We came to run 50 miles. We didn't come to compete.. not this time, anyway! But when we do... :)

And speaking of I wrote,  she was supposed to be with us, but due to circumstances outside her control she could not be there! She was so bummed and it was also her birthday! So to kill a few minutes during our walk break we fired off a little happy birthday video!

And so it continues...  around and around we go... 1.5 miles at a time!

33+ times around, as a matter of fact... and as we were making our way to the 50 mile mark we knew that we would end up running another half mile as fifty would show up a half mile from the end of the loop. Yeah.. we were not loving this.. think a bout a half mile after 50 miles. We were done.. we were not wanting to go any further than fifty! So we asked the race officials if we could just go out and back on the loop and they agreed.. however... Heather some how fell back a third of a mile from me according to our watches... and you know that we live and die by them.... so...

I ended up running 50.30 Miles until she got to 50!

Because a good running partner stays until BOTH are finished! So that's what I did and what I always do!

Plus I ended up getting more miles than Heather!! :)  Maybe my good intentions are self serving after all! Ha! No.. I am just kidding!!

 I planned on running on Sunday to grab my 80 mile week.. which I did. Heather decided she might as well too and got another PR to add to the 50 Miler distance PR she just ran! 80 Miles for the week!

50 Mile/Finishers Medal (wooden)

Summary Data from my Garmin Fenix 5

PR Distance of 80 miles for the week

So we got our 50 and had a lot of fun doing it! We both sat down at our tent for a much needed rest.. and maybe a beer! Heather walked over a few tents down where they were offering free massages! She said it felt so amazing, that I got one right after her!

Heather gets a much needed and deserved massage!
A cold beer was very much appreciated!

In the end I was very wrong about what I thought an event like this would be... I thought it would be dreadful running a short loop all day, over and over again.

Way Wrong!

Everything about this event was AWESOME!! The venue was beautiful. The volunteers were super great and supportive! It's a great way to meet like minded athletes and make some new friends. The idea that you can create your own aid station and return to it as little or as much as you like is very appealing.. and the fact that all the participants can have have a different goal in mind for themselves makes it an event anyone can do if they want to!

1 Mile With A Smile Volunteers!!

After a while we packed up and headed to out to get some dinner and find a place to stay the night.... we were going to drive home but decided that neither one of us wanted to drive so we would just get a hotel and drive home in the morning! I think now that was a great idea!

A couple cold ones with dinner sounded awesome!

Shane's Gear
Altra Torin 2.5
Garmin Fenix 5

Heather's Gear
Altra Paradigm 3.0
Garmin Fenix 5s


  1. It was a great time. I only got 30, but had never been past 27, and at 58 years old, in a year I have not run father than 6 or so miles in any single run, I felt pretty good about that. Saw you guys, did not get a chance to talk, but would love to do profiles over at - let me know.

    1. Thanks for the comment, congrats on getting in 30 miles and we would love to do some profiles! Just let me know how you want to proceed! Sounds fun!


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