50K-100 Mile Ultra Training & Being Hated On by Random Motorists & Citizens Disapproving of Sports Bras Worn in Public
By stephaniechivis on July 16, 2014
Inspecting hydration pack hot spots before doing the sports bra shimmy-off, which is the closest this mother runner gets to doing a seductive dance these days.
Think of a destination that takes you a half hour to an hour or two to arrive at by car. For me, that’s about 30, 50 or 100 miles, and that's way too far to drive to pick up some dark under eye circle concealer since Target.com works just as well.
But 3 days from now, I’m going to run one of those distances.
I’m way past the phase of waking up to the sound of my iPhone alarm at 4:00am thinking, “What did I do?” in regards to signing up for something so outlandish. Now it kind of feels like a big, nasty gyno appointment with a full pelvic exam that you know you have to go to but you try not to think about.
You know you’ll get through it. You know that when you’re done, you’ll feel a huge sense of relief. But you also know it’s really going to be more painful than labor pains or being sliced open for a baby and parts of your guts being lifted out of you in a C-section, but you just have to deal with that. In the meantime, you daydream about another dose of that completely legal but totally awesome medication given after delivery, of course.
I count the time since qualifying for a lofty 'B' standard entry into the JFK 50 miler as my training for a 100-miler. Last February after an over 10 hour exhausting finish at the 50 mile Destin Beach Ultra is when I set the goal. The training runs and ultras I’ve done and am doing in the meantime have just been part of the process. And I can tell you, without a doubt, that I’m a much different runner than I was before and that's the honest truth as I am not one to exaggerate. Everybody that knows me knows two things for sure: 1) I do not eat chicken gizzards and 2) I do not exaggerate. That’s why it’s important for me to tell you what can be learned from ultra training without any exaggeration, added drama or literary embellishment whatsoever.
So here are a few of the lessons I’ve learned during training for a new, previously unthinkable distance (a 100 miler in April). Perhaps a few of these lessons apply to life in general if you make a stretch. But that’s not the point, so don’t go too crazy with that.
You can run a lot farther if you slow down.
Sounds reasonable, right? Well maybe not so much in the moment.
I made the mistake of starting out too fast during my 50 miler on the sand. When my calves ached, the quads tightened and I thought I might throw up (but chewed it back) I said, "You are an idiot". I'm a total bee-yotch sometimes, especially where I am concerned.
So while telling myself what's wrong with me, I told myself, "You try to keep up with the big dogs when you know you can't keep up. Why don't you just slow down and try to just finish this damn thing?"
I didn't answer. I knew it was a rhetorical question. I also know when I'm like that it's best to ignore me or risk my hot German-blooded temper. I once made a grown man cry using nothing but my words and an icy cold glare.
And a hot spatula.
The long and short of it is that I wound up in a schizophrenically loud argument with myself during which at one particularly low moment, I told myself I was no longer going to speak to me. I started to cry until I remembered that I don't cry - because I'm a bad ass ultra runner and what not.
So there I was. Feeling inept with my feet stuck in gulf water and wet sand. I felt powerless. I felt confused.
I felt like spaghetti must feel when I throw it up against the backsplash to see if it's done and it doesn't stick. That's me. I'm a spaghetti noodle that doesn't stick. I'm sliding down the backsplash, telling myself I should have stuck because only the noodles that stick finish the 50.
The thing is, if I slowed down, I'd have felt better physically. When slowing down a lot (and even walking at times, I was able to run much farther than I previously thought as I was cussing myself out. It was scary, because I'd never done it. But once I had, it wasn't so scary anymore. And I felt I could've run farther still if I'd didn't cuss myself out, that is.
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