From DNS to DIY to DNFY 200-Miler
When I first signed up for Across the Years, I had a strategy of run/walking 50 miles each day. You have 4 days to complete the distance. I figured I could conservatively do the 50 miles and then switch my energy to recovery: ice bath, Tailwind Rebuild, a real meal, a shower and then sleep. This would prepare me for the next day's 50-miler,
The thing with ultras that I have learned is that they aren't just a race but they are essentially a training run too. In a marathon, your longest run is about 20-22 miles which leaves you with only 4-6.2 miles of steps into the unknown.
But with a 100-miler or more,, my steps in to the unknown start around mile 60 or so., In the case of my 200-miler attempt, it started after mile 70 on day 2. What draws me to these distances is the curiosity of not only seeing what I am capable of but also the curiosity of how to get all of the essential moving parts (my nutrition, pacing, gear, chafing product, body and mindset, etc.) to get along as best they can so I can make it to the finish. The nutrition that works in one race may be what brings me down and out in the next. Or the chafing cream that didn't work in one race may be what kept me blister free in the next rest. Nothing is guaranteed.
I finished day 1 with 50 miles under my belt and the start of one tiny blister on my right, baby toe . I also had a slight twinge in my MCL. To keep my MCL from getting worse, I decided to walk the whole 50 miles on day 2. This worked out fine for my legs but for some reason, I just could not find the right sock-shoe-chafing product combination. I even changed my shoes and socks 4 different times. I ended up with the skin between my 4th and 5th toes on each foot ripped raw and bleeding. I have never had this happen before. Not even in my 100-milers. I was in tears that night because I so want to go on the next day but I could barely walk.. I could only walk on my heels.
I took the 3rd day off to see if a 24 hour miraculous skin healing could happen. Well, my right foot was 95% better but my left foot didn't seem to improve. My feet wanted nothing to do with even a DIY 5K. It was really hard to stop as mentally, I was in the right head space to keep going . Physically though, I had to listen to my body and also practice what I preach.
I was however, able to squeak in one more mile walk on the 4th day with lab Farley and my sister's beagle, Leila That was the best way I could think of of finishing my first attempt at the 200.
I am taking this as a DNFY because it's not that I didn't finish what I started...it's that I DIDN'T FINISH YET. So as Arnold would say, "I'll be back!""""
🟢 I got to see 2 sunrises and 2 sunsets in two runs
🟢 I got to listen to this great book in it's entirety, "Broken Open" by David Clark
🟢 Learned that ginger chews worked for me!
🔴 Learned that regular band-aids DO NOT work in ultras on baby toes
🔴 Learned that my Trail Shoes with a rock in them were not a good choice the last 20 miles Saturday night
🔴Learned that my mohair socks might be too heavy for ultras
🟢 Learned that Banana nut muffins are great substitutes for PB&J
🟢Learned that I am not alone even when I am alone (I had a virtual cheer squad rooting for me and checking in on me)
🟢I ran/walked 101 miles in 2021 and it's only January 5th! How bout that!
"It's the moments that almost break us that we are most proud of"
***BTW for some reason when I charged my watch when I finished each run, it would still add about 1.5 miles to my cumulative mileage even though it was sitting on my night stand...and now it still won't sync to the Suunto app and Strava...that's why my watch shows 104.7 miles. I took pictures of it when I ended my run and restarted my run each day.