Yesterday, I ran my last long training run in getting ready for the Oil Creek 100 Ultra Marathon. It was not a pretty day…rain in the morning and winds gusting from 35-50 mph. Luckily the rain ended early and the winds stayed near the low end. I also got a late start from not feeling well in the morning so I missed most of the rain.
I wanted to run 65 which is recommended for ultra training but I didn’t get started until 11:00 a.m. So, instead of distance, I settled for a time goal. I guessed sunset was coming around 7:30 p.m. so I figured I had a 8 good hours of running time. I wanted at least 50 miles so I got busy as soon as I got to the park. I used the 5.5 mile loop at Oak Openings since the Scout trail was probably muddy from the previous night’s rain. It was going to get a little boring but I figured that was better than sloshing through the mud. I might have to run in the mud at Oil Creek but I thought a time run would be better overall for training purposes.
(On a side note, to see myself writing, “I wanted at least 50 miles…” is not something I would have ever imagined myself doing, let alone actually running that far!…this has been an incredible journey!)
I wasn’t sure I could do 50 in 8 hours, my best was 9 hours, but I figured I didn’t have anything to lose. Oil Creek is getting close, just 11 days, I needed one more long run so this was it. I hit the first few laps like clock work, about an 8-9 minute pace, and feeling pretty good. The end of the fourth lap, mile 22, felt solid but I started to feel my quads burning. I knew the day was going to be a long one. I stopped for water every lap and a food break every two.
The next two laps, now up to mile 33, started to wear on me. I was getting a little bored running the same loops and was starting to tire, quads still burning and calves starting to speak up too! I thought about quitting again…not sure what it is about mile 33 but I had the same problem on the last 50 miler a couple of weeks ago.
So, I called in the cavalry! I texted a bunch of my Team in Training running buddies and asked them to send me some positive vibes. They came through immediately with “You can do this!” “You’re my hero!!!” “I KNOW you can do it…remember your Honorees…they are all there with you..” That last one really woke me up. I felt like crying as I thought about the list…about Judy and Nataleigh and my mom and so many others. It got hard to breathe for a few minutes but I kept it together.
You would think after all this training and being part of this cause for so long, I would have that in my mind no matter what. These long runs though, they take a lot out of you and you forget why you are there running your butt off. Your brain starts to turn to jello after so many miles! My friends gave me a positive wake up call though. It was an awesome response and just what I needed!
I got energized and headed back to the trail with a renewed quickness in my stride. The energy they sent lasted me quite a while…all the way to mile 47! It was huge!! The last few miles got really tough though. I was pushing it to make sure I made my time goal but realized that the pace I felt I was running…8 min per mile…was really 11 min per mile. With just 24 minutes left, I was losing time. Physically, I was whipped and really feeling the hurt. Mentally, I knew I could do it. My friends were with me and our Honorees were with me but I wasn’t going to make it like this.
I knew I had to push harderso I mentally reviewed the texts everyone sent me, and my Honoree list again, said one more prayer for strength, and all of that gave me some oomph in those last three miles. Mind over body!! I started to pick it up…my quads were really burning now! I was breathing harder than I had all day. Somehow, I got back to pace…pushed a little more and kicked it in at the finish. I ended up hitting 50 miles right at 7 hours and 59 minutes! I had made it!! Woohoo!! It felt so good to be done, I was exhausted but still felt great!
Thanks to David, Rachel, Dayna, Kimberly, Jim and Shannon for sending such positive vibes! You guys are awesome!!
I think I am ready for Oil Creek! Hill training in these last few days while winding down on the miles to rest up for October 10th, race day…time to get my game face on!
Thanks so much for supporting the cause, LLS, our team, and me in this effort. If you haven’t already, please consider a donation to support the fight against cancer and honor a loved one. You can donate on-line at: http://pages.teamintraining.org/noh/RoadRun09/ernestlewis
For those that prefer to donate off-line, please make your check payable to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and mail it to: 3936 Elmhurst Road, Toledo, OH 43613.
All my best! – Ernie
One last update until Oil Creek!
Fundraising is now at 112% of goal at $5,623, and our Honoree list is at 103 names. Woohoo!! Thanks so much for all your help and support for LLS!
This past Saturday, the Akron Marathon went great! I ran with many of our TNT teammates and had the honor of running with Rachel the whole way. The weather was perfect for running and every one of our teammates crossed the finish line in style. Rachel finished her first marathon in 5:16 one minute off her goal time, Kimberly finished her first marathon in 5:18, Don finished his first marathon in 4:27 beating his 4:30 goal time, Dayna ran her first half-marathon in 2:33, Gbenga finished his 3rd marathon in 5:52 nice and easy. It was a great day! All together, we’ve raised nearly $21,000 for LLS and the fight against cancer! Our team pic just before the race is attached: Me, Rachel, Don, Kimberly, Dayna, Gbenga and Coach Jenny (and our last team member Monica will be running the San Francisco race in a few weeks)….a wonderful team!