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Learn : Ultramarathon Story  

Running Background:

marathon photoI consider myself an advanced runner and I primarily run for fitness. I decided to run an ultramarathon because I enjoy a challenge and especially enjoy the training. I have a beautiful valley that I can run in and around. Each season has it's own challenges and it makes for enjoyable running year round. Winter is the most fun when you know you are the only human being out in the snow for miles and miles. Coyotes, deer & rabbits are usually the only other companions. It's great!

Training:

My running partner and I read other ultra-runner's suggestions and modified them to suit our terrain. We usually did 2 long runs on the weekend of 6-7 hours on Saturday and 4-5 hours on Sunday. The back-to-back program worked well for us. Our longest running weekend was 50 miles. We iced our legs after each run, which felt marvelous on those days when the temperature soared to 34 Celsius (93.2 Fahrenheit for U.S people). The icing of the legs prevented any stiffness so we could run the next day without injury. We averaged 65 miles per week during the 7 months we trained for this race.

The best advice I would share with others is to take walking breaks. We kept up with the 10 and 1 program and walked the hills. In addition I would encourage people to make sure you ice your legs afterward.

Race Day:

The 2007 Lean Horse 100 Miler was better than expected. It was a beautiful morning with a bit of fog at the start. The day before was dark with thunderclouds so we got pretty lucky. The Argyle Road was a new addition to the course and it was very hilly - pretty tough for the first and last 16 miles. We started our walking breaks early and continued with our 10 & 1 program even when we got onto the flat George Mickelson Trail. The scenery throughout was beautiful although, due to early dehydration and feeling really lousy for 35 miles, I did not appreciate it fully. Once I got some salty snacks into me and inhaled a Red Bull that I had put into my drop bag at 64 miles, I felt human again.

The aid stations were great and the volunteers were wonderful! I would run this race again just to eat more of those amazing chocolate chip cookies! Awesome! Running at night was an excellent as we didn't need to use our headlamps for most of the way. I was very glad to be running with my friend through the flats when the coyotes started singing. They seemed awfully loud and close in the dark!

Once we turned off the Mickelson Trail and back onto Argyle Road I knew we could finish this race. We were hoping for a 27 hour finishing time. When I checked my watch on the outskirts of Hot Springs, I realized that if we pushed it, we could finish close to the 24 hour mark. With that, my friend and I took off running. It was amazing to watch my girlfriend sprint to the finish ahead of me after running 99 miles. We both finished in 24:05:00 and were ecstatic about it! Thanks to race director Jerry Dunn for doing such an excellent job organizing this race in such a beautiful community!

Recovery:

My recovery wasn't bad. I slept, drank some water and ate french fries and grilled cheese sandwiches (kid's portions). The tummy was pretty unsettled for several days after this run due to dehydration.

Running Gear Recommendations:

Running Skirt
I switched to wearing running skirts which are THE BEST - NO CHAFING!!! - ladies...you've got to try them.
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Injini Toe Socks
I used to have trouble with sore toenails. Not any more since switching to the toe socks.
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Salomon Trail Shoes
I bought 2 pairs of Salomon X-Terra Pro Trail Shoes at the start of my training and used them for my road running as well. As they were identical twins I named them Maggie and Lucille. Maggie ran the entire 100 miles without a problem.
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Tips/Words of Encouragement:

Don't be afraid to try something different. The feeling of accomplishment to achieve a very difficult goal is unbelievable.

Plans to Run Another:

I'm hooked!!! I'm planning to continue to run ultramarathons.

For my next ultramarathon, I'll take my sodium tablets earlier and eat potato chips like a fiend!

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