Back in October of 2018 I saw this video (David Goggins). After I saw the video I did some searches on Ultra Marathons and singed up for Old Pueblo 50 (3/2/2019) – On race day I hadn’t run as many training miles as I should have and there is a back story but it’s just easier skipping over it as it doesn’t change the main premise. I should mention I’ve always stayed in shape but a long run was anything more than 12 miles.
As I mentioned I was able to practice being in the pain and see that pain is pain. So pain is just something that gets our attention. Now if I wasn’t running and felt such a pain then there might be a problem that warrants my/our attention! Because of this I can learn to just drop the story and experience the pain as I experience any other thing. It’s just a feeling!
I know that I’m not in extreme danger but my body doesn’t. Essentially my body is giving me the story which will hopefully get me to stop. Yes sometime I do NEED to listen to this message.
I hope this story illustrates my main point as well as the second point of needing to listen:
Up until mile 41 I was doing great! My personal goal was to have the first 25 miles completed around 4:30:00. Around mile 20 the leader had passed me in the opposite direction (First lap one direction second is back the way you came). My legs felt great at that point, sore but plenty of strength. I felt very mentally comfortable as I spent a majority of the first lap running with a group (awesome group of guys). So mile 20 I picked the pace up slightly just to see if I could do something impossible, catch first. My wife and son were at the halfway aid station (the start line) and helped me get in and out, they did an awesome job. I was in 7th, about an hour behind the leader, 30 minutes behind second, and 10 minutes behind 6th. I arrived at the half way point right on schedule: 4hrs 30mins. Keeping my time goal and running my own race.
A quick calculation and it seemed there were a lot of people running faster than last years finishing times reflected. Perhaps, we start fast, out of optimism, and then reality punches us in the face. Then again what the hell do I know this is my first ultra and trained alone.
After the half way point I really began to punch it and I believe I was going at a pace to complete the second half in about 3hr30mins to 4hr00mins. The second half of the race I switched to caffeinated gels. My overall nutrition plan was after the first hour I’d start taking gels every 20mins and drink 1.5L electrolyte water, and use lyteshow electrolytes in my water.
On the second half my stomach began feeling slightly upset. I limited my water intake because I didn’t want to run out but I started feeling really thirsty. I was practicing pretty deeply my running meditation, especially at this point. Now, roughly mile 35, I had passed 2nd place. I took off the hard on the second loop because I believed that I could push it through 25 no matter how bad of a condition I was in. Maybe, maybe, I could have kept the pace had I been able to stay hydrated. Around mile 37 I tried choking down a gel but I was on the verge of vomiting and was feeling pretty horrible. By mile 41 (aid station) I basically blew up. My ears were popping pretty bad and needed a little assistance walking. They assisted me and made me stay at the aid station for a bit until I recovered slightly. Just as I was leaving 3rd place had arrived at the aid station. Linda Vann walked me a little ways from the aid station and told me walking was good enough. This advice helped me more than she’ll know! However, I knew what walking meant: there was no way for me to get 2nd place or be on the podium, as I knew 3rd was shortly behind 2nd. Honestly, I felt like dropping when I hit that aid station. I felt like I was maxed out.
However, I did walk and for a few moments felt sorry for myself but I made myself walk anyway. I just kept walking. As third place (now second) passed me he said, “maybe you’ll get a second wind”. I thought there wasn’t a way in hell I’d recover. There was about an hour window in which I had lost my meditative mind. It was negative and telling me so many reasons why I should and could dropout. But as I said, I just kept walking. I tried and then slowly started to get my mind back.
As I was walking I started to recover and had around 5 or 6 miles to finish. I started to jog. I would jog and then walk for a bit, jog and walk and repeated this process to the finish. I had run out of water around mile 45 so I gulped down a 100 mg caffeine gel to power me home. I got to the state of feeling horrible again but just pushed through to the finish. I heard stories of people being a mile or two from the finish and not finishing but as long as I was alive I wasn’t going to let that happen though my body begged.