Adrienne here. At the Little Rock Retreat, Coach Christine Hinton mentioned that she was training to run 101 miles over 48 hours in May. “That sounds awful,” I said, because tact is my strongest trait. I also had to admit that it sounded really interesting.Why would anyone run 101 miles?
Each runner has her own reasons, of course. Coach Christine’s sprung from the recent implosion of her marriage. “I am so trashed emotionally,” she said before the run. “I’m trying hard to rise above the hurt and anger. I’m hoping I’ll have some sort of awakening, like Eat, Pray, Love. Except more Run, Run, Run.”
Coach Christine was kind enough to record her thoughts while she took on 101 this past weekend at Three Days at the Fair. I was honored that she decided to share them with me – and you all.
For the first 25 miles, I ran really slow for 25 minutes, then walked for 5 minutes. For the last loop, I just walked fast and ate my lunch, which was a grilled cheese and some potatoes with salt.
Just like in the marathon or the half, there are a lot of body types and ability and ages here. Some are just strictly walking. Some are doing a marathon every day as fast as they can for three days. Then we’ve got the beer guy, who’s drinking a beer after every mile.
It’s hot and really sunny. Everyone was saying that people in the past have pushed too hard during the first half and haven’t been able to take advantage of the evening coolness. So I’ve gone now to power walking.
Otherwise, I think I’m OK. As far as the spiritual and emotion awakening I am trying to have, I found myself trying to force myself to figure out what the universe wants me to do. I’ve not found any answers. So I’m not going to force myself to think about it anymore.
It took me a little less than 12 hours to run 50 miles. It’s making me rethink my 24-hour goal for 101. I’m going for 101 no matter how long it takes but I wanted to do it as close to 24-hours as possible.
Everything is hurting -- my feet, my calves, my Achilles, my IT bands, my back, my shoulders. My butt crack is chafing. Luckily, I brought some Desitin and I just put some on. I’m definitely developing blisters on my feet. I’ve already popped one.
I had two grilled cheeses for dinner. I’m feeling a little nauseous. I’ve never had that happen before. I’m hoping eating and chilling out a little bit will help. I’m sitting on my zero-gravity chair after using an Action Wipe, which, I tell you what, I’m being honest, they rock. I’m getting filthy. Every lap is disgusting.
There’s a wedding here, which I think is kind of ironic given the reasons I wanted to run this. I can hear it right now in the background -- the love songs and the announcing and the “Mr and Mrs.” I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean, not that everything has to have meaning.
This past year, everyone has been telling me, “You’re strong. You can handle this.” I don’t always feel strong. Doing these things makes me remember that I am strong. Hopefully, I’ll find some strength for the final 50.
It’s 1:08 a.m. and the wheels are falling off a little bit. Still feeling nauseous and I don’t know why. I’ve tried Pepto; I’ve tried rice and broth, ginger ale, Coke. My legs are also feeling pretty shot and I’ve got blisters on my feet. I’m definitely having some doubts on being able to run 101. Or 100, or 99, 98, or even 80. On top of that, it’s raining right now. I’m going to nap for 30 minutes to see if I can shake this nauseous feeling. And then keep going. The furthest I’ve run is 100K so I’m definitely going to do a couple more laps, if nothing else.
It is 3:08 a.m. I am fucking tired. My feet are screwed up. I’ve had two blisters that formed, then popped. I did see a Luna moth. It’s these little things that get exciting when you’re out here.
I’m taking a quick break to take some Advil. You anticipate your legs hurting but weird things hurt now, like up in my shoulders. Now I can see the benefit of having crew on these things. The Icy Hot was really hard to get on my own back. So maybe next time… let me get through this time first.
It is 6:32 a.m. I just took a nap for an hour. I’d planned to take a nap at 75 but I was dying I don’t know what the heck’s going on with my feet. I’ve got some kind of rash going on with them. I’m going to lube them up, put on my socks, and head back out.
I’m very tired and my feet are killing me. I’m getting ready to stick them in my cooler, which is full of melted ice. The most frustrating thing right now is that I haven’t been able to run a lap without having to stop for something, and that’s getting frustrating. Other than that, things are good.
The race director has informed me that I am in first place for the 48-hour run and is encouraging me to continue on past 101 miles but I am pretty damn sure I am not. I might maybe do an extra mile or something but I’m sure as hell not going to be running all through tonight.
No big epiphany has occurred. But I am feeling badass, that I am a strong person, and can do things that are difficult. And if I can do it, anybody can do it.
Other observations I’ve made: Ultra runners like tattoos. And at this point, I’ve done all kinds of stuff on the toilet. I’ve eaten on the toilet. I’ve almost fallen asleep on the toilet. Also: any bodily function sounds are totally fine out here as well. I’ve heard farting, saw someone puke. And air hankies, of course. It’s kind of gross.
Mile 101 (and after)
I finished in about 30 hours. I had planned that during my 101st lap, I’d get my phone and take some pictures. By the time I was there, I just wanted to be done.
The race slowly became very ultra-ish in the sense that I ran to, like, a marker on a pole. There were little markers everywhere around the course. Santa Claus was mine. I’d always run the one turn down to Santa Claus, then walk.
By the time I had one mile left I found this new determination. So I ran. Everyone’s like “wow you look really good!” I’m like “that’s because I’m going to be done!” I didn’t finish in a death march, which was nice.
After the race, I got it in my head that I really wanted to be in my bed. So I got in my car and drove. It was an interesting drive. I had involuntary muscle contractions while I was driving and my feet were getting more swollen because I was sitting with them down. So I stopped a few times and put my feet up. About four and a half hours later I was home. I was glad that I’d made that effort.
I went in to the race looking for some kind of enlightenment about my life, my strength, and, almost, about humanity. I was hoping for some kind of epiphany but I knew the chances were slim that the skies were going to part and God was going to say something to me.
I ended up being enveloped in a really cool community of other ultra runners. Despite me wanting this to be my lone survivor moment, I ended up being welcomed into a wonderfully supportive environment with people I hadn’t ever met before. They were the ones that helped me find my inner strength when I thought I wasn’t going to be able to. That’s really cool. I can go somewhere by myself and be stripped down physically and have a community of people who don’t know me lift me up. It’s making realize that I am strong.
Oddly enough, what I’ve discovered is: I need people. I need the relationships. I need the camaraderie of knowing that there are other souls schlepping along right with me. Our challenges and our distances and our goals are all different but we all need each other to get there.
In an ultra environment, there are hundreds of people in this one-mile loop so it was easy to give and accept support. In life we’re a little bit more dispersed. I’m going to find where the support is and give it more. We don’t do anything alone. I was thinking this was all me – but it wasn’t. It never was. It’s always a group effort.