So….you want to run 100 miles!

30 05 2011

picture one the buckle……picture two after 60 km!……picture 3………trying to get my shoe off after 164 km with Morten looking on…..eventually Morten had to undo my shoe!!!

WHY???????????  This is the question i was most frequently asked during my training……….and if you plan on trying this then you had better ask yourself the same thing and you had better have a freaking good answer because somewhere around 70 miles you will need one!

I knew from all my reading and from friends that this was a task that was not to be taken lightly.  This task would require planning and specific training.  Discipline to get the training done!  Those many many times that people who didn’t quite understand would try to  ask and cajole me into socializing instead of doing a training run, couldn’t understand the importance of each training run!  All I thought was…..somewhere during that 100 mile race I will be very glad i didn’t skip this training run!   I was right!

I will never capture all i want to say in this blog and quite honestly im still having a bit of trouble concentrating after only 22 hours recovery.  I will probably have to write another more detailed one as there is a lot to cover.

We stayed over night close to the starting line at the dirtiest ugliest, stinkiest hotel i have ever been in.   Up at 4 AM for instant oatmeal and bananas…………..we were definitely an organized team with our huge tent near the start line and enough equipment and first aid for 20 runners.

Lap one I knew i had to keep my ego in chk and i ran at a nice slow pace.  I only watched my heart rate not the speed.  I knew I had to limit the amount of lactic acid my body produced and could only do this by keeping my HR under 145 BPM…not easy to do on a hilly course.  If I made a mistake here it was that I hammered the down hills pretty hard and as a result hammered my Quads!

PK passed me looking great and happy.  I didn’t see him again until the tent where he was already leaving when i got in.   I didn’t see him again for quite a few miles.  

Lap two I held my same steady pace and came in right on schedule for the marathon of 4 i needed to run this day.  I felt as though id been out for a little hike and was barely sweating.

Lap 3…I knew this lap would suck.  it was just a lap that needed to get done.  Nothing special as its distance wasnt anything new and it wasnt even half way.

Lap 4…this is where it was getting exciting.  I was still right on scheduled pace and I knew that ever step I took after leaving my tent would be new distance for me.  well a couple of miles out.  I had run an 87 km before.    As this one ended I was facing another Lap I wasnt looking forward to. 

Lap 5…as I left this point i knew that PK would be finishing and relaxing with our friends at the tent…..it was a tough one.  Honestly I don’t remember any of that lap.  Except that is where the blisters started.  My feet had been wet for 12 hours and when I tripped going down hill and smashed my toes into a root or rock I knew id be losing toenails later!  Upon arrival back at the transition I couldn’t stop thinking of Diana and my coach Stephen who had suggested trying the 100km run for the first big Ultra…sure sounded good now!

Lap 6… exciting…it was getting dark…I was alone.  A lot of runners were finished and there may have been 75 people out there on the trails.  The trails were MUD SOUP by now and almost no footing going up and down hills.   I turned on my little head lamp and started out on this adventure.  My first hallucination was when i saw the camel on the path…i found it curious there could be camels here in canada..i went right up to him with my headlamp inches from his glowing eyes…he snorted and sprayed me with his stinky breath!..a while after I passed him I realized it must have been a deer! lol…………………..  I started mumbling and talking to myself as i trudged along the dark path.

Lap 7…..Probir led me back out into the dark wet forest….I knew I had to be smart here.  i wasnt close enough to push…i had to reserve what little strength i had left.    We ran a little and hiked alot.  I had no more up hill running and very little down hill.  Probir encouraged me gently to try to maintain a decent pace and i think we were moving on average at 13 minute miles……..lol….sounds slow but believe me its all that was in the tank…….that lap isn’t clear in my mind any more….i will have to think about it and comment more later.

Lap 8,,   I knew I had it.  i could crawl the rest of the way in 8 hours to come in under the cut off.  there wear many people in far worse shape than me, throwing up, bleeding etc.   Morton and i ran for about 1 km and then started hiking.  I m not sure how much more we ran but he constantly reminded me to take it easy and ensure my finish as i could only make up a few minutes by trying to push.  We saw about 15 deer and a couple racoons…he saw them too so they were real.   He didn’t see the huge Vultures flying through the brush around us and occasionally swooping in….he thought it was a shadow cast from my headlamp on his elbow…hmmm..not sure.   This lap was only a focus on one foot in front of the other.   I couldn’t think until we hit the 2nd last aid station 8 km out.  There everyone was “comeon…push and you will break 24 hours!”    I didnt give a crap!  I was just trying to survive.    i think i asked Morten every 250 meters how much further…he would patiently respond…………..suddenly Diana was there in the woods…another hallucination??  No she was there.  my wife alone in the woods  deep woods at night!  she said 2 km to the aid station….OMG i could do it.  I don’t remember a bit about those steps but i do know when i hit the aid station i could smell the finish about 800 meters out….it took every EVERY oz of energy to make it up the last hill and suddenly i was running to the finish line ( well it sure felt like i was running, maybe i was staggering im not sure)……i crossed it and dropped into a chair just passed it……..wasted, elated, in agony and extacy!

WHY??????????????  I’m going to think more about this and write another blog in the upcoming days….now im just going to try to recover…my feet are hamburger, my brain is numb and im walking like a druken penguin!

There are so many people to thank in here im worried I will miss someone.

But here are a few people who deserve my immediate thanks and if i miss your name its an oversight from my exhausted mind and doesn’t diminish what you did for me.

My wife Diana………….OMG………where do i start.  All those weekends where all i did was run and then too spent to even go for a walk with you…….all those weird hours you would wake up and i was gone for a run, or the altering of personal schedules so i could train. meeting me at the ned of my long runs to help me on those last miles   BUT even more amazing, the fact that you were such an incredible CREW.  I mean for someone who doesn’t do camping and has never read an article on crewing for an Ultra…..you were so organized and efficient.  No way I could have done it without you….especially when I was 120 km and hinted around that i should stop……..you said ” get out there and get this finished!”  lol……………you managed my hydration, nutrition and clothing.

My sister Ava, and my FB running community friends Verity, Laura, michael, Neil, John, Cheryl, Rose, Geoff, Norman, Vladamir, Donna, Paul, Scott,  Lourdes….countless others who offered me advice, encouragement and support i apologize to all those i missed here but you know who you are and that you helped encourage me.

AVA…this is all your fault!  You got me into this running thing with the little “hey want to run a Marathon with me 9 years ago….then the Hey wouldn’t it be COOL to run 126 km DEATH RACE about 8 years ago.   lol….

My family especially Yvette who constantly gave me the old “you can do it”

Patrick ( PK) my running buddy.  All those times you adjusted your running schedule to fit mine so i had someone on part of my long runs.  all the discussion and sharing about equipment.  Congratulations to you on your first 50 miles!

My pacers………..Probir, ( a 3:10 marathoner) who drives out to Sulphur in the middle of the night, to encourage support and watch out for my well-being from 120 km to 140!  Probirs a city boy so wandering around in the forest with someone barely able to manage a occassional slow jog for 750 meters at a time.  Although at one point he did say we hit a 530/km pace!!!   Constantly updating me on the distance remaining and comparing it to our local training routes

Morton!  Holy crap man.  You are an incredible person.  So much patience.  I know how busy your schedule is this time of year…wow….you drove out there at our pre planned time only to find me several hours off pace….waited around in the wet night and then set off with me on what you knew would be a gruelling and slow grind of 20 km!   Constantly advising me on where to step at every technical point ( which was most of the trail with the rain!)     Morton you acted so selflessly I am humbled to be your friend!

Dr Ian………..if there is a better sports doctor i havent met them!  Talk about committed to helping me achieve my goals and then driving out to Sulphur on your birthday to see if i needed any medical treatment…which i did.  surprisingly not my legs but my neck which you adjusted and bought me another 20 miles of pain free running.  Without you i wouldn’t have made the starting line!

Lorraine my compassionate and caring massage therapist.  you are excellent at what you do and gave me a tonne of encouragment…….an excellant runner your self.  i think im looking forward to seeing you toady….a bit nervous as im not sure i can be touched anywhere!

The Kingsway runners gang…WOW….what a bunch.  Such great friends.  You can’t understand how much encouragement you gave PK and i by showing up to cheer…..every 2.5 to 3 hours!!! as we came through.   Jay and Katherine…your excited and positive vibes carried me back out on the course again.  Rod, Andrew, Noah,Grace,  Islay, Stephen, it meant so much to have a support team

My coach Stephen Bogardo……constant support, encouragement and a bit of ass kicking.   He did such a great job of keeping me focused on the task and to stay specific in my training.  A good coach and a great friend.

The race organizer Joe Hewitt, an awesome guy with 15 x 100 milers under his belt, knew exactly what to say for a motivational speech.  Extremely organized.  The entire volunteer staff who were so amazing at the aid stations.  Especially the gang at the station 8km from the finish line….so on top of it you even told me i wasnt rehydrating enough anymore as you had noted what I had drunk in between stations…amazing people

More later…..this was the broad strokes!  I will have to write what it really means to do this and what happened out there on the trail at about 75 miles!

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4 responses

30 05 2011
raceinpieces

Congrats Stefan!! An amazing feat to conquer. We thought of you often on our way home, relaxing, eating a full meal, going to sleep… truly amazing (especially on that looping course). Enjoy your recovery!

30 05 2011
extremechef

hahaha….thanks guys….i wish i could have met you although i think i saw you at one point, passing me in the forest……..then again i saw a camel and some vultures so perhaps not! keep it up guys, youll kill CDR…………………………..i follow your training schedule closely….one piece of advice i can give you is this………HILLS….dont run them in training youll kill your knees……..go out find the biggest ugliest hill and do about 25 hill repeats…MOSTLY walking jog a few uphills for HR and a few down hills for foot turnover……..but at CDR i can promise you you are not running up Leg 2………..unless you have cloven hooves!

1 06 2011
Mark McCallum

G’day Stefan,
Fantastic job, well done. You are now a different person than you were when you stepped off 160KM before. Have you started dreaming of the next one?
Cheers – Mark

3 06 2011
extremechef

Hey Mark, yes its a life changer for sure. I can definately tell you there were defining moments which will forever change me. In the immediate hours following i thought ” this is nuts, i wont be doing this again”, the day after i thought ” i wonder how fast i could do a 50 miler if i pushed?”……………but the reality is, my business has grown to the point where i have always dreamed i could bring it and im neglecting it with the hours of training………i dont know what to do or how to manage my time. not so much the training but the scheduling of days for events as well………im just not sure i want to put any more burden on my schedule this summer………..i ll see how i feel next week………………thanks for the note!….now to start running in my minimalist shoes

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