Results of the 38 mile FUN run!

Because I knew a couple of people who were running one of the Kettle Moraine Endurances races the challenge entered my mind, “Could I run more than a marathon?” Especially when, in the last couple of months,I haven’t been training specifically for the marathon and/or beyond. Why not try it? Originally I inquired about running the 100 mile run or the 100k, but than thankfully, somewhat of my sanity came back, and I figured that would be too much mileage without proper training and I could very well end up injured.

So, my thoughts turned to the 38 mile FUN run. Since, I just celebrated my 38th Birthday a few days ago I thought it would be interesting to see if I could get through a 38 mile run. When else would I get the opportunity to run my exact age in miles!? ( :

Yesterday afternoon, on a whim, I drove to La Grange, Wisconsin, thinking I was going to start the run at 8pm and hope to finish between 2-3 in the morning. Sleep a couple of hours in my car and then drive back home. However,  When I arrived I was told I could start before 8pm and opted to begin around 6:20 in the evening.

I was equipped with everything I needed. I had just had a full bottle of UR Driven (my all natural sports drink sponsor) about an hour before I started and a protien shot. I also was carrying a water bottle of UR Driven, endurlytes, my head lamp, and one tiny, tiny light on the top of my shoe. Since, I was carrying a bottle in one hand I opted to leave my hand held flash light in the car in order to leave my other hand free. (Dumb idea)

I started out at a nice controlled pace, running alone, although I was passing runner’s going in both directions, so not entirely alone on the course, but running by myself the first 16-17 miles. I felt great. I kept consuming the UR and taking my endurlytes and did not concentrate on the distance I had accomplished and the distance I had left to go.

I finally got to the check point on Highway 12 where my drop bag was located. I decided I felt great. I didn’t need to mess with my shoes, socks, or clothes, so all I did was mix up another bottle of UR and was about to go on my way when one of the crew manning the aid station asked if I had a light. “Sure do! My head lamps wrapped around my water bottle right now, but I plan on using it pretty soon.” In which he responded, “You’re defintely going to need it.” He told me the trail was going to become more technical, with lots of rocks and roots sticking out of the surface. He said, I needed to be sure to pick up my feet and watch my footing carefully! “Will do!” And I set off again.

At first the trail wasn’t that dark but I could feel the dark encroaching on my quickly and figured I better put my head lamp on and be ready for the blackness. The light immediatly came on and just as immediatly went out. What the heck!? This lamp was brand new with brand new batteries in it. It can’t possibly NOT work. I checked it at home and it worked. I checked it in the car and it worked. However, lesson learned, I needed to check it at the aid station before I went out into the dark, wooded path. At least then, if it didn’t work I could have put in my back up batteries.

And now, all of a sudden,  I’m alone and I’m in the forest, and it’s going to be dark, and I’m ALONE. Ok, don’t panic, turn the tiny tiny light on my shoe, at least that’s something.  Even the smallest light can brighten the darkest night, right? Well, not so much. I told myself, just think of Katniss, from the Hunger Games, running through the forest, unafraid yet sometimes very afraid..and, oh, wait she’s equipped with a bow and arrows. I’m missing the bow and arrows and that’s just not good. I’m not as cool and calm, I’m more of a nerd so forget that image. : )

Anway,  it was frustrating because I definitely had to slow my pace and be very careful, making sure I was seeing the trail markings on the ground and hoping that I would soon come upon somebody with a light. And with about 2 miles to the aid station I did just that. He was running the 100 mile run so I did have to slow my pace quiet a bit, but that was okay. I’d rather take it slow, be able to see, and not get injured! When we came to the aid station he sat down for a well-deserved rest and I was anxious to get going again. That’s when I saw Alec (who was running the 100 mile run) and Brian (who also came out on a whim to help pace Alec and get in some mileage.) I hung back with these guys until the next big aid station and was very thankful when Alec gave me an extra head lamp. Alec told us we could both go ahead and he would be back to running shortly after we set out again.

The rest of the run Brian and I talked the entire time. In fact, I don’t think there was ever a lull in our converstation. And what was more amazing is that we kept feeling good. I figured as we drew closer to the end, mental and physical fatigue would eventually start to set in. But, it never did and when we saw that we only had 5 miles to go, then 3 miles, then 2, and finally 1 we wondered how on earth we could still be talking, smiling, and laughing. It was incredible. I certainly didn’t feel like I had just finished 38 miles. The only thing I can attest this too is that I went out at a very easy comfortable pace and never became depleted and I stayed properly hydrated and fueled the entire race.

I’m not sure if finishing with such a good feeling will be in my favor. Because of course, I’m already thinking that If I can do 38 miles and feel that good, why not try 50, and if I can make 50, then whose to say I can’t do 100! Hmmm…..I’m always up for a new challenge!

Here are the results from the 38 mile run. It kills me that I had problems with my head lamp b/c if I didn’t I might have been able to beat the first place male finisher. Well, I guess he just better watch out next year…( ;

“Another Saturday Night and I Ain’t Got Nobody”

“Another Saturday night and I ain’t got nobody

I’ve spent my money on a 38 mile race

How I wish I had someone to run with

I’m in an awful way”

What am I thinking?  Well…

After running the marathon in December  2011 my plan was to cut back on my mileage and focus on my speed.  From 2010-2012 my goal was to make it to the Marathon Olympic Trials. Every run, every workout, everything I did training wise, was focused on running a 2:46 marathon. Each race I ran was only an attempt to make me stronger for the marathon. The little goals I met along the way where there to get me to my ultimate goal of the trials.

Unfortunately things don’t always turn out as I would like them too. In 2011, when I tore my calf muscle two weeks before the Chicago Marathon I knew I was going to have a tough time healing and making the cut.  (This “story” I will save for another blog).

Thankfully, I was able to go out to California and attempt to run a qualifying time at the CIM marathon in Sacramento. However, my calf muscle was still an issue and I was finally forced to stop at mile 22 and watch the Olympic Trials vanish before my eyes. The remaining 4.2 miles of the marathon was a complete death march but at the same time somewhat satisfying. Instead of walking off the course, I was able to finish with a time of 2:50:03, and in so doing, I  was able to close the chapter on a dream I had been pursuing for quite a while. While disappointing it wasn’t devastating. Through this journey, I was reminded, once again, that running doesn’t define who I am and the Olympic Trials do not define my running.

However, it was strange to come back home, rest a bit, and start running again. This time there was no big dream to chase, no future goal that compared to the trials. I was wondering what direction I should take in regards to my running. Did I want  to focus on speed, run the mile, try to PR in the 5k? Maybe, train for the 1/2 marathon or maybe, it would be fun to race the CARA circuit races again and see if I could repeat being “Chicago Athlete of the Year,” like I did in 2006 and 2007. It would be interesting to see where I would place now being five years older!

I eventually decided that I would start training for a 1/2 marathon in May. However, my body and mind seemed to be bored with the high mileage and similar workouts I had used for the marathon. So, after talking with my coach, Carla Hastert, who I just started working with this year, we decided I’d go back to the 5k and work on my speed. However, my body still didn’t seem to want to cooperate and my workouts, even my easy workouts,  seemed laborious and too difficult.  We realized I needed to rest and back down on my training. So, for the last month that is exactly what I have been doing. I haven’t run many long runs or hard workouts. I’ve been keeping my base mileage right where it needs to be. I’ve been working on running drills, strides, and recovery runs and soon will turn my attention back to marathon training.

But first however, I will wrap up the last couple weeks of training with a 38 mile run in Kettle Moraine, Wisconsin tonight at 8pm. Why? Why? Why would I want to run anything more than a marathon?  In fact, if I had to choose between running the marathon or the mile I would definitely pick the mile 100x over the marathon! So, why in my right mind, without specific training for an ultra-run would I sign up (a week ago) to run one? Well, that’s just it. It really doesn’t make sense and it’s probably not the wisest decision I could make, but that’s what makes it fun and adventurous.  And if my running and training is always predictable and rigid it becomes boring and tiresome. Every once in a while I have to throw in something completely different (last year I ran a mile PR in the midst of marathon training and a 100 mile week) and tonight to start a 38 mile run at 8pm through the forest, in the dark, is something entirely new and challenging for me. It’s nice to have butterflies in my stomach because I don’t know what to expect.  Here’s to spending my Saturday night running and running and running…

Updates to follow if I can move after running 38 miles…