We told our guys to hold on for 30 minutes of agony for 12 months of glory.
Coach John McDonnell, after Arkansas won the 1993 Ncaa Cross Country title
Since the completion of the Boston and Derby Marathon I have been asked by multiple people, “How did you keep going? How did you not walk? How did you maintain pace?” The answer is simple now that I am removed from the agonizing pain of running back to back marathons. I never give myself a choice or option to quit. The moment I question what I am doing doubt sets in. If I never allow myself to have the option to quit or walk I will only have the option to continue on. There are no choices during a race or training for me. I know I must run from point A to point B, it’s that simple. When the pain sets in I ignore it, when I feel I am pacing too fast I slow down, when I doubt my ability I tell myself it’s almost over, when I think about stopping I picture my daughter, and when I want to meet a goal I push as hard as I can to obtain it (no matter what). I ran 2 marathons in hopes I could finish both (no time goal initially). If I could finish 2 within 2 weeks I could focus on an Ultra in the fall. I finished better than I expected (in a lot more pain than expected too, post Derby). The crowd support helps as well, but for the most part running is a solo sport. No one can take away the pain or motivate to continue moving forward, only the runner. I find running to be extremely emotional (especially a first marathon). Distance running takes dedication and drive. Not everyone can tell their self to keep going when the going gets tough. I have learned if I want to run like Dean, Marshall and all those other crazy ultra marathon men I must never give in. I will fight tooth and nail all the way to the finish line. This is how I run without stopping, walking and allow my body to maintain pace. I do not willing quit.
I am amazed at the amount of people who find what I did challenging (and some have even used the word amazing, of course I am flattered). There are Ultra marathoners who run 100+ miles without sleep and most recently a man ran a crossed America in 75 days (the same man also ran 50 marathons in 50 consecutive days). I ran 2 marathons 10 days apart (giving me a little time to recover). Compared to the men who have come before me, I did not do much. I have found most people are intrigued by my finishing times rather than the time in between the races, I ran both races at the same pace (3:32). I made 2 stops which lasted a minute and a half (roughly) during the Derby marathon (I would have beat my Boston time on fatigued legs had I not stopped). I am very pleased I ran both because I now know I am capable of so much more on fresh legs. I held back in Boston because of the hills and I can’t help but wonder what if…….
I have always been a fighter when it comes to things important to me (my family, friends, sports, work and so on). I have never been one to give up or throw in the towel. Over the years I have grown eager to break my PR each time out. As I age I am aware of my capabilities as a distance runner. After reading many books regarding running great distances I know the human body can handle more than we give it credit for. Although I began my running journey almost 6 years ago I feel as if I am just beginning. At first the goal was finishing then improving and now it’s about the distance I am capable of enduring.
If you just ran your first 5K, 10K, half or full keep pushing forward. Have fun with it, welcome new relationships, and set small goals as you go. Running can take you everywhere! Remember when the going gets tough keep picking your feet up and placing one foot in front of the other. Never give in to the temptation to quit (it is not an option). Happy Running!
Dynamic Stretching 5 minute warm-up
2 mile warm-up at recovery pace
2X30 second hill repeats at a relaxed sprint speed
2 mile cool-down at recovery pace