The craziest thing about this whole 100 mile ordeal, is that I have absolutely no idea what to expect.
When you run your first half marathon, you can in theory easily cover 13 miles at once during training. Race days is simply a celebration of all of the hard training you’ve done.
When you train for you first full marathon, most training plans will have you max out at around 20 or 22 miles. Yes, it’s nearly a 10K short of marathon distance, but what’s another 10K when you’ve already run 20 miles? OK fine, I know, it actually does feel like a lot. In fact, the last 10K of the marathon always feels like the longest 6 miles of your life, but the point is, you get it done.
We didn’t exactly “train” for the first 50 miler we raced. Stupid, and a strategy I would not suggest, for those of you wondering. But while it was difficult, it was surprisingly easier than I expected.
But how in the world do you prepare yourself for 100 miles? You run a ton of mileage in training, but nothing that comes even CLOSE to 100 miles. Or even 50 for that matter. How do you even begin to know what it’s going to feel like, physically or mentally, when you are falling apart at mile 75?
I guess you just have to expect the worst, and be OK with it.
Like a sign from the running gods, this week on Facebook the article “Running 100 Miles is Easier Than You Think.” has been floating around my facebook feed. The tips given are from athletic freak of nature Anton Krupicka, so it’s kind of like Michelangelo telling you that painting the Sistine Chapel ceiling is really no big deal, anyone can do it.
The article reminds readers of two things:
1) 100 miles sucks.
2) Those who finish do so because they are mentally strong.
I probably could have guessed that before reading the article, but I appreciate the vote of confidence none the less. Personally, I’ve spent the last week really going over my mental game in my head. A few things have become clear to me:
1) This is going to suck
2) I simply can’t quit moving forward.
I’ve tried to imagine the highs and lows, over and over, so I hopefully will have the ability to recognize those moments while I am in them. I hope I am able to really appreciate the highs, and know when I’m in a low, that this too shall pass.
– I know and have experienced that ache in your hips, legs, and feet, where every single step hurts. You want to stop, but you know that starting again hurts even more, so you just keep moving. I also know that it’s completely possible to keep going through that pain.
– I picture myself getting cranky, as I tend to do when my blood sugar goes wonky, and will, probably spew hateful things like “whose f*cking idea was this in the first place?” I will try to apologize to those around me, even though it will probably come out equally as hateful sounding. So if you are there, and I say “I’m sorry I’m being a bitch because this really sucks”, please know that I genuinely mean it. I’m sorry.
– Related: None of this is Geoff’s fault. *I* found this race and *I* insisted we not only run it, but aim for the coveted 100 miles in 24 hours. So *I* shall not take my anger/pain/delirium out on Geoff.
– I’ll probably cry, more than once.
– There will come a point where I no longer want to eat or drink. When this happens, I need to remember that this is a sign that I really need to eat and drink. Force it down.
– While I hope I don’t, there is a legitimate possibility of puking.
– I’ll probably want to quit, more than once. More like 24 times (once per hour).
I also know that:
– I will skip. There will be moments where I skip or enthusiastically throw out some pathetic Parkour move, because I’m so happy and excited to be running. I’ll then remind myself that those Parkour moves are risky business on a trail.
– I’ll probably spend HOURS and HOURS singing in my head, then quietly under my breath, then to everyone around me (much to Geoff’s displeasure) cheesy classic hits like Gino Vanelli’s “I just wanna stop” or Hall & Oates “Man Eater”, but with the Google commercial lyrics instead. “She’s an aangry tiger!”
– There will likely be multiple times when I find myself simply overjoyed by something at an aid station…like plain potato chips or a slice of pizza. I will probably declare that it is the most amazing thing I’ve ever tasted, and in that moment, totally believe it.
– I’ll be reminded time and time again of how awesome the trail running/ultra community is.
– I’ll be attempting this ridiculous feat with my favorite person in the whole world by my side. Again. Even if he gives me countless “I can’t believe I ever let you convince me to do this” dirty looks, like this one:
I don’t feel 100% ready, but I feel more ready and better prepared for a race than I ever have been. So with that said, my goals are:
A) 100 miles in 24 hours. I’ve got my pacing plan set and pacers to help overnight.
B) top 10 female (it’s a 24 hour race, so most distance = winner. I’d like to be in top 10 of most distance)
C) Finish 24 hours, don’t call it at 4 am and go to sleep.
D) HAVE FUN. Because that’s the whole point of this thing, right?
We likely won’t have internet connection out in the woods, and I’ll be unplugging for the weekend. But if you want to try and track me, updates will be provided here (assuming they have internet connection out in the woods): https://ultrasignup.com/live/live.htm?dtid=19032#search
Now accepting last minute advice.