well.. well.. little miss procrastinator. I just watched a great TED talk by Vik Nithy on the topic.. nearly 7 weeks ago I ran for my first American 100 mile Buckle.. it was bEAUtiful and I had the perfect 100 mile race. A perfect 100mile.. is there such a thing? I finished in 20hr45mins and i sprinted the finish... I felt good with my efforts.. haha.. that's not to say I didn't encounter my challenges.. I certainly experience a couple of super scary, getting lost in the middle of Duck knows where moments with no living soul in sight for miles. :((... mommie!
Race morning. I'm comfortably warm, standing watching DAwn lift. Myself, and my aMAZing (bright, caring, motivating, and logistically there every step of the way, well.. at least, always in spirit :) CRew are all very happy. I have a great gut feeling about today; I'm going to race for my first ever 100mile belt buckle.. What a RAd reward! and Nina Simone said it best.. I'm feeling GOod!
I see 'Moe the Eagle', UltraMarathoning legend. 'Moe, your advice is my race strategy, I'm going to finish strong!'. Moe a few years back had told me to walk all the hills in a 100miler if I wanted to finish strong, he was right.
Perhaps walking all the hills seems a little extreme.. after all, this is a race, however the advice has strong foundation. Never push into your heart rate threshold zone, meaning for the entire duration of a 100miler, its a wise idea to never push over 80% effort... the higher you push, the harder it is for the body to recover, which starts to really become apparent after the first 50miles. *more heartrate rambles.. as the body pushes its capabilities, internal systems begin to shut down to direct more of the energy needed for the immediate task at hand (pushing to survive, or at least that's what the body thinks in competitive mode). In past races, when I've had digestion or stomach issues, gut rot (food not digesting, creating internal pains) it had everything to do with me pushing too hard for too long and shutting down my digestive system.. this race I had none of that, I ran a strong race from start to finish with NO stomach issues and I ate everything ..even cheese pizza... and YES.. I walked (hiked with intent) EVERY hill.
So here I am, power hiking all the hills, with almost 18 000ft of up and equal down, my race is feeling way too easy. I'm in great spirits, smiling, laughing, high-fiving passing runners on the out-and-back. I'm alternating between two water bottles filled with whatever random electrolyte tab thrown in there.. even threw in a Starbucks VIA ice coffee packet in my bottle at one point ...yum, that warmed my heart!
I recall around mile 70 hitting this long stretch of gorgeous, sandy single track. It was so dark and moonlit. A talented, fast fellow that i was running with told me to take the lead down (which was fantastic as i dislike following other runner's headlamps) and we spent the next few miles completely absorbed in our fast-flowing movement as we owned the singletrack, the highlight of the entire course by far, I felt like a Cheetah.. wildly chasing and playing on a warm summer night.
I went into this 100miler as a physical test, how efficient is my current body at running such a distance. Mentally, I knew I could run a strong 100, although this was officially my first '100mile Race' and training hadn't yet begun for the season, I was going into it with no extra special training.. just what I was recreationally doing, which scared me a little..however, I knew, the distance was more mental.. and in my heart, Ive always been able to run that distance.
My strategy.. walk all the hills, take deep, long breaths when any tension arose. Eat 200-300 calories per hour, fill up my bottles at every aid station, thank all the volunteers and most importantly... SMILE! ..ohhh and run as fast as i could (under 80%).
Perhaps I waited so long to recap this event because, to me, right now.. it is not a main event (nonetheless an INCREDIBLE Personal achievment).. it was simply a test, almost like an entrance exam (a hundred miles of meditation) into the next chapter of my Life. Tomorrow, I head down south for 26 days of intensive Yoga teacher training. I'm bringing another personal passion into my career life... I'm going to bring Yoga to us 'Runners' and it's gonna FEEL GOOD!