It’s 3:45pm and I’m lying in bed. My body is achy and my head is a bit cloudy. I’m clean and thankfully well fed now, but when I try to get up and walk around the condo, I resemble a new born calf. I wonder how, after 4 hours of running I can feel so beat up, while at the same time be optimistic we can both run for 15 to 20 hours to complete the 100 mile race we’re training for three months from now.
The facts of the situation are that Julie and I ran for four hours straight together. We got going around 8am and finished at noon at our Myrtle Beach condo. The weather was cooperative, 60’s and overcast, though a bit humid, with a slight breeze to cool us down when traveling in certain directions. We probably ran somewhere between 8 and 9 minute miles which puts us somewhere in the 26 to 30 mile range for the total distance traveled. We ran in the neighborhoods of Surfside and Garden City primarily on the roads and sidewalks while still getting in some other terrains including grass, dirt, sand, and rocks. By the time we’d finished, we’d each drank two 22 ounce water bottles – meaning we were thankfully able to fill up at the 2 and a half hour mark at a beach access station – and Julie put down three Gu packs while I decided not to eat anything on the training run.
The psychological outcome of the run is varied. We’re both glad to have made it. Julie did not want to get out there and do it and was a bit pessimistic about the duration of the run until we were within 90 minutes of the finish. She worked it hard though and kept going the entire way. I was actually pretty upbeat today and felt steady throughout, at least until the last 45 minutes or so. I tried to get excited about the run because this is something we’re doing because it’s fun and rewarding so I am trying not to feel burdened by it. I felt better than the previous long runs along the way, i.e. better at the two hour mark today than on the three hour run, and better at the three hour mark today than on last week’s three hour runs. I had fun with the run and it wasn’t until we were walking back to the condo that I thought about the serious duration of the 100.
My right knee was a bit sore the last half hour and when I was walking back to the condo this was very noticeable. I notice the soreness in my feet and joints now that I’ve been finished for a few hours too. How will we each go for four or five times this duration of running? My current answer is that it’s part physical, and we are preparing for that by doing these long runs. We have a few more longer runs and another sandwich run (back to back four hour runs) scheduled for next week. We’ll keep putting in the work, and as the training gets longer, hopefully our bodies will be stronger and last longer as a result. Mentally, I think I tend to run to the plan. I mean that if I set out to run two hours, I’m getting tired towards the end. If I’m running three, same deal. It was that way with four hours today too. I’m hoping, and believing that if I go into the 100 knowing I’ll be moving all day, that my mind will work better knowing the task in front of it. For each ensuing difficult challenge I’ve given it during the training so far, that is how it’s worked out. Plus, I’m excited and pumped for another shot at the 100 and think I can be competitive and do well whereas last year, I felt tired and beat up physically by the time I got to the start line.
However February works out, we’re good now, I simply need to get out of bed and actually get some work done for the day. I’m going to go for a walk on the beach later tonight to loosen the legs out too. We’re both pleased with our efforts and our progress so in looking at our training plan, my body and my mind confirm it: 4 hours, check!