“Nobody trips over mountains. It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble. Pass all the pebbles in your path and you will find you have crossed the mountain.” -Unk”
Right before I ran my longest run to date, a 54-mile training run, someone told me this quote. It’s funny how one little quote puts things in perspective. Over the past few months, I have tripped over quite a few small pebbles, but it’s what’s going to get me across this mountain that is my 100-miler. It’s also hard to believe that my 100-miler is less than a month away. ACK! HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?
I have to admit, training for a 100-miler hasn’t been as daunting as I expected it to be. Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been easy, but I expected to be logging in a million miles a week. Fortunately, Coach Whip’s schedule is actually pretty manageable. Most of my weeks are in the 30-40 mile range and I peak in the 50-55 mile range. To date, my biggest week was 63 miles, which included my 54-mile training run. I also cross-train twice a week and squeeze in yoga whenever I can. Below is a little breakdown of what my schedule has been like over the past few months.
- Monday – Rest (sometimes yoga if I wake up in time and feel the need)
- Tuesday – Vinyasa Yoga (1 hr), strength train (1 hr), speed or hill work (5 – 7 miles)
- Wednesday – Speed work (up to 10 miles)
- Thursday – Vinyasa Yoga (1 hr), strength training (1 hr) , easy run (about 5 miles)
- Friday – Rest (sometimes yoga if I wake up in time and feel the need)
- Saturday – Long run on the trails (11 – 18 miles)
- Sunday – Recovery run on the trails (6 – 15 miles)
It’s funny. It didn’t seem like a lot until I typed it out. Geez, I guess I do train A LOT! But others do way more, so I can’t complain. Overall, I’ve been following the plan at about 85-90%. If you’ve been reading my blogs for a while, you know that’s a huge deal. I typically don’t follow a training plan the way I should and then I end up in a panic two weeks before the race. But, this is a hundred miles ya’ll. You can’t mess around with training and you gotta buckle down and take it seriously.
The most important training run I had was my 54-mile training run a few weeks ago. It’s the longest run to date and I learned so much from it. With the help of my friend Theresa of Go. Believe. Conquer. we set up my training run to take place at Rosaryville State Park where I could do six 9-mile loops.
I dedicated each loop to a cause and invited others to do the same. Theresa suggested making this into a fun event, and I’m glad I did. I had a few runners join me for the first three loops, and then I did the last three loops alone.
Here’s what I learned from that training run:
- I am still in the habit of going out too fast. It’s a new habit I picked up this year and it needs to stop. It’s going to break me during my 100-miler and I need to take control of it.
- I need to eat more. Don’t get me wrong, I eat, but I don’t think I’m eating enough. I’ve also been experimenting with Tailwind, but I just haven’t found the right mix of consuming Tailwind and eating food. Ultrarunners love it, I’m working on it.
- I can run 37 miles in a lot of pain. My left knee has been giving me fits because of my IT band and during this 54-mile run, it crapped out on my at mile 17. By the time I hit mile 52, I was doing a limp/walk/jog. So, if I can get 70 miles of pain free running during the 100-miler, I’ll be golden! Lol!
- Flo is a biatch, but I got her handled. Okay, so this is in the department of TMI. Guys…skip this bullet. Move along, move along…nothing for you to see here. With all this training, my monthly friend has been a little irregular. It just so happened that she decided to show up the day before this run, which means having to run on the worst day possible. Girls…you get it…I know you do. Having to stop in the ladies room to take care of business after every loop was not fun. The cramping and all the “fun” stuff that comes along with it was in high gear. But, I managed and pushed through. And while I was cursing the curse the entire time, I have a feeling that she’s going to rear her ugly head on race day. Knowing that I can get though 54 miles with my monthly friend lets me know that, while it’s not ideal, I can manage 100. Let’s pray that Mother Nature will have mercy on me and make my friend show up early or late.
- I hate night trail running alone. It’s creepy and yes, the boogie man is out to get you. The spiders are 5 times the size and they weave webs right across your face. The bugs shoot straight for your face because of your headlamp (note to self: carry light in your hand instead), and animals make the scariest screeching noises EVER!
- Those who support you will go out their way for you. I had people drive over an hour to come run with me in the morning. I couldn’t believe it and I’m grateful that they did. I met some new friends that day and also pulled in a perfect stranger off the trail to be a part of this little “get together.” The running community never disappoints. We are a band of
brothersrunners. Shout out to Michelle K. for making a Chipolte run for me at the end of the day. It was exactly what I needed after I finished my run!
- You find angels where you least expect them. What my friend Theresa did for me that day was unbelievable. I can’t begin to tell you the gratitude I have for having her in my life. I met her in high school and after losing touch, we reconnected through Facebook and bonded through our love of running. While most of our interaction is through social media and she doesn’t exactly live next door, we are able to catch a run or two together here and there. Well let me tell you, my dear friend went above and beyond the call of duty. There was not one other person that offered to help the way she did and I am forever in her debt. She showed up at 5:30 a.m. with EVERYTHING you could think of that would be at an aid station. It was crazy! A cooler full of food, rice crispy treats, soda, oranges, cookies…medical shit…you name it, she had it. She ran the first loop and a half with me and then she sat there until 10:00 p.m. in the hot sun waiting for me after each loop, making sure I was safe, making sure I survived. And what she did towards the end of my run almost brought me to my knees. As the sun went down during my last loop, the woods got dark…like pitch black dark. I sent her a quick text message to let her know I was freaking out. At about mile 50, I saw a glimmer of a light and I heard her voice “Sandy, it’s me!” Seriously, if I had the ability to cry, I would’ve broken down right there. Later she told me that she could see the panic and fear in my face when she saw me out there, and I don’t doubt that one bit. When she told me she cleared the spiderwebs for the last 3.5 miles and I would be good to go, my eyes teared up. I cannot begin to tell you the relief I felt at that moment. Once again, when I needed someone out of desperation, they appear out of no where. She was a godsend. I had a lot of folks support me virtually that day, and a handful come out to run with me, but what Theresa did was above and beyond and I’ll never be able to repay her.
There’s 24 days to go until the big race. TWENTY FOUR! And as Mia Hamm once said,
“I am building a fire, and everyday I train, I add more fuel. At just the right moment, I light the match.”
On September 11, 2015 at 4:00 p.m. I will light my match, burn my fire, and I will run the Hallucination 100.