Going (really, really) long with Coach Christine


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. 

Car tent + cooler + comfy chair = base camp
Car tent + cooler + comfy chair = base camp

Mile 26

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.

Mile 31

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.

Mile 51

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.

Just over 24 hours of running makes for a tired Coach, as you'd expect
Just over 24 hours of running makes for a tired Coach, as you'd expect

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.

Mile 62

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.

Mile 66ish

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.

Mile 70

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.

72 miles

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.

Like the Beach Boys said ...
Like the Beach Boys said ...

Mile 95

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.

Why is Santa making an obscene gesture?
Why is Santa making an obscene gesture?

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.

No caption needed, really.
No caption needed, really.

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.

28 responses to “Going (really, really) long with Coach Christine

  1. I haven’t had a chance, till now, to review the kind responses to Adrienne’s post.
    It’s funny, bc i didn’t expect the words I recorded to be the actual report, but it was the perfect idea, thanks to Adrienne. Had I known though, I may not have thrown out the F bomb!! 🙂 Actually, yeah, I would have.

  2. I loved this post. Just over 2 years ago, I came home with my two boys (then age 1 and 3) on a Monday after work to find my husband had moved out. I didn’t know how to cope in my new role as single parent and soon-to-be divorcee, but I ran on every lunch break I could. And to quote a BRF, I worked hard to “fake it til I make it”. I was no 101 miler, but eventually I felt like I was strong enough and capable enough to lead my family on our new normal. Thank you for sharing your experience. It’s so inspiring.

  3. This is awesome. I’m doing my first 100 miler at JJ…shhhhh, it’s a secret. But the way you describe your miles and loops is almost the way I picture it going down for me. I’m the master of the run/walk method… I’m hoping to do more running than walking. I’m also hoping to finish around 24 hours. Running 15 min miles doesn’t seem like a hard task does it? =) Congrats on the finish!

  4. I am so glad you shared your story – I am fascinated and inspired and awestruck by your journey to 101 miles. Congratulations on your enormous accomplishment. I hope both now and going forward that belt buckle reminds you of your strength and fortitude to do hard things.

  5. Christine – WOW. You are AMAZING. Thank you for sharing – I am also running my way through a divorce, although in a far less bada$$ fashion than you. And like you, I have found that even though I want to do everything on my own, to prove how strong and independent and capable I am – I need camaraderie and relationships now more than ever. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  6. Great report! BIg CONGRATS!! What an accomplishment! I plan to do my first ultra (on a loop as well) this September; you give me hope! I also had a marriage implode. I also looked for some type of awakening. It does happen, but it may take a while. The good thing to know is, life does move forward — it feels like the implosion will kill you, but it doesn’t. As I am sure you have figured out already, you are stronger than you think 🙂 Thanks again for the report!

  7. You are amazing. Having your heart broken is like having a broken bone. It sucks hard. And then, slowly, it gets better. Like your HUGE 101 Miles, you put in the time, and it will be over. And you will feel great, and happy, and content and awesome again. And what hasn’t killed you has made you stronger. I am totally in awe of your effort but your realization is the best part. Be around people that make you feel like your favorite version of yourself.
    AND, by the way, your training plans ROCK. So thank-you, thank-you thank-you and congratulations on kicking butt in a super hard extra long endurance event.

  8. You are right. So many times we feel we have to be strong and stand on our own, figure things out, or fake like we know what we are doing. But in reality, it is rarely the case. I think we could all benefit from getting out of our own way (read:head), and accept the support that is all around us if we just open up and be vulnerable.

  9. The answers or epiphanies you are looking for will come when you don’t expect it or when it’s time for them to come….maybe it’s not time yet. Congrats on the ultra….I just finally read Dean’s Confessions of an All Night Runner….this post reminds me of that!

  10. Christine, I’ve finished 4 Midwest ultras (+1 DNF) and I couldn’t image running 101 ON ASPHALT! You are badass!!! Great write up on what pushed you to keep going. The ultra community is caring and fun. Very humble people toeing the line because no one ever know how a race is going to turn out. Show off the buckle – well earned!

  11. Kristi:
    That is my new quote to live by, “You are not the sum of this one unhappy marriage”. Thank you for that.

    MCM Mama:
    Let’s do it next year!

    You all make my heart swell! xoxoxo

  12. Jill! Ultras are so awesome, aren’t they.
    Good luck with the 100 training.
    And, just to be clear, I did not win my division. Ended up in 4th. Some other badass ladies kept chugging along for the full 48 and racked up more miles.

  13. WOW! You are a rock star! Loops kill me. I would constantly want to loop back to my car and drive away. Congrats on staying the course, finishing and winning. I have been waiting for your ultra BAMR training plan to appear in print. I am sure it may not be a big seller, but times are changing and 50 is becoming a big new goal to many. I feel like I have discovered something about myself with each ultra, even though I have only done three, but not a 100 miler yet. My first 100 will be this September, and I think I will see God, although it won’t be heavenly.

  14. Congrats!!! I know words are just that but you are amazing! And just a tip, try lubing up your feet prior to start with Bag Balm. The antiseptic properties help me think (I don’t really know) I am less likely to get an infected blister or some such thing.

  15. Congrats Christine! I was also at Three Days. I ran the 24 hour but started on Thursday with the 72-hr starters so we missed each other–maybe next year we can meet & go around for a few laps! I had an amazing time at the race. The others runners, volunteers & RD’s were fabulous. Hope you are recovering well.

  16. You are strong and you will come out on the other side, but being in it feels like a never ending slog! It is the relationships that help you remember you are not the sum of this one unhappy marriage.

  17. This is pretty freakin’ awesome. I absolutely love the discovery at the end because it’s so unexpected. You are one amazing woman!

  18. Thank you for being honest about what goes through a BAMRs head while ultra-ing! I never thoight a marathon would appeal to me and yet MCM is calling my name and I am reading all I can find! Brutally honest mamas help us know that we can do it too! Congratulations mama!!!

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