When I finished my first 50 mile race at the Dam Yeti 50 Miler in Damascus Virginia I knew that was where I wanted to run my first 100 mile race. The experience there was second to none and I felt like family there. However before I took the plunge I knew I needed a few 50 milers under my belt. I decided to tackle the Tunnel Hill 50 Miler and I signed up for another run at the Dam Yeti 50 Miler.
I knew in between those that the Yeti 100 Mile Endurance Run lottery would open and I decided I’d bite the bullet and throw my name in the hat. Luckily enough I got selected in the lottery which I was beyond excited and I was officially signed up to run my first 100 miler. At that point I really had no idea what I was committing to from a training standpoint.
I completed the Dam Yeti 50 Miler in June and officially had three 50 mile finishes under my belt and felt like I was more than ready to tackle this 100 mile race and the training to get ready for it. I settled for a pretty aggressive plan that averages over 50 miles a week for almost the entire plan.
I took a week off to go on vacation to Disney which was good because I needed it. It’s a twenty week plan and I had sixteen weeks to my race so I started at week five. Week one I set a goal of 60 miles which is more than I usually run by almost twenty miles. I started off and things went well throughout the week.
The weekend came and this plan calls for pretty hefty back to back long runs. Saturday went off without a hitch and then Sunday came and my body just wasn’t having it so I pulled the plugged early and came up a few miles short of my goal. From that point on I vowed to be smart and learn how to manage my body better so this wouldn’t happen again.
I quickly learned that this training is just as hard on you mentally as it is physically. Every week since I started I have running been running 5–6 days a week and have a found that I’m typically running 8 miles a day throughout the week and putting in 30-37 miles on the weekend. All the non-stop running in what seems day after day takes a toll on you mentally. I have some great friends who’ve helped with advice like reminding me to eat while I run and gone with me on training runs which help a lot.
The biggest take away I’ve gotten from the mental challenge of it is that I’ll have to be just as mentally tough to finish 100 miles and this is just a warm up for the big dance. Being able to go for that long and keep your mind going as well your body is no easy feat. So far training has gone great and I’ve averaged 62 miles a week since training has begun. I know there is much training left. I remind myself every time I hit a mental or physical roadblock that this is part of the journey and it’s important I pick myself up and keep going. I’m beyond excited to line up race day at Whitetop to begin the toughest physical challenge of my life.