Over seven hours to run/walk 33 miles is a pretty weak for a guy that calls himself an ultra runner, but it was a "fun" run and I never meant to do more than just put in the miles. What I didn't expect was for it to hurt so bad. I guess that's what I get for allowing myself to train the way I have been. Running up to 20 miles on the weekend for my long runs and very little mileage during the week is not the way to do it, I can tell you that.
At the school, I jogged at a slow steady pace. I completed five miles there around the ropes they had set up (inside the ropes was a track for joggers and the outside was reserved for the walkers). There were probably close to two hundred people that came out--not bad for such an event at a little Bible college. Jogging the five miles was a piece of cake for me, but I knew not to feel too good about it yet. The couple other folks that decided to run were exhausted (as none of them were in a routine of running regularly at all) yet I felt nothing. I was clearly the only one out there who not only runs regularly, but enjoys running long distances just for fun. The guys who were jogging were going six miles (it was some sort of challenge they had been given at a chapel service), but I left before they finished. At five miles I had only began. I was going to run about 3 miles to the river, run it's length twice (about 14 1/2 miles each lap) and that would have got me around 38 miles (I only promised 30 to all those who were sponsoring me).
But nothing was quite going as planned. I will try to briefly summarize:
My wife and I decided that I would be okay to run alone after I left the college. She would have to take the kids home, feed them, get them ready for church the next morning, etc. So I left down a long, lonley course with a Camelback of Shaklee Performance (electrolyte drink) on my back, an extra shirt (just in case), and a paper lunch sack with some goodies inside. I stashed the bag and the shirt when I reached the river.
The problem was going to be that when I was done it would be dark and I would have ran 38 miles, but I would still have to run back to the college to get my car. O well, I thought, I'll just make it 41 miles. Yeah right! Somewhere around 15 miles, everything from my quads down started to hurt, and I began to think of ways to get my 30 miles in and be done with it. I decided when I finished running the river once, instead of running the whole thing again, I would run only 2 1/2 miles and turn around. This would be somewhere around 31 miles by the time I got back to the car--good enough.
My energy was good as I was staying hydrated and there is something about Shaklee Performance that keeps me from getting hypoglycemic, "hitting the wall," or "bonking" as some call it (I could explain, but if you don't know you probably don't care). But I realized when I got to the river that I had left behind the extra liter of Performance I had packed in the car. So on my way back to the start of the river I found a water fountain and guzzled so I could save my Performance. I still ran out but later I stopped at an Arby's and drink from their bathroom sink--yes, I got some strange looks.
By the time I was half way back to the start of the river (about 19 miles completed), the pain had forced me to a run/walk pattern. Eventually, to keep me from walking too much and not being able to start running again, I found the most effective pattern was to run about a minute and then walk for 20 seconds. I was pretty bummed that I hurt so bad at 20 miles when I plan on running 62 miles in less than a month. But anyway, I finished the river, turned back for 2 1/2 miles, etc. I picked up my lunch sack, ate a few cookies and a banana, and just put one foot in front of the other until I got back to the car.
Being alone makes one lose a lot of the motivation one would otherwise have, but I found a way to lift my head up. This night there happened to be a car show in town. On my way back to the college, the sidewalks were lined with people and families who were watching the cars cruise down the road, revving up their engines and all. My imagination won over and I convinced myself that the masses of people were there to cheer me on. I lifted my head up, picked up my pace, and ran by their cheers and waves (don't laugh at me).
Amidst the cheers, I messed up on my route back to the college (if you know me and my sense of direction, you understand what I mean). I ended up adding 3 miles to the route, so I was glad I had cut my original plan short. The total mileage ended up being about 33-34 miles, I guess, and I was happy with that. I ate left-overs when I got home--hamburger patties, fried potatoes, and Coke (My wife knows what I need).
I had a hard time sleeping that night, as was to be expected having spent the last 7 hours running. I limped a little on Sunday, though I don't think it was too noticeable. But today I am feeling great and I'm ready to start thinking about the 100k on the 26th. I need your encouragement. Thank you for it,