Some days I think I'm crazy for thinking I can actually run
(and walk) for 2,175 miles across a range of mountains for three or four months.
I need to "keep the faith" in my abilities - not just my
physical abilities, but my mental strengths as well. Three main things have
occurred in the last couple weeks that have strengthened
my faith in my ability to reach this goal.
And although the scales don't show that I've lost any
weight recently, I can tell a difference in how my pants fit and I
can see more definition in my leg muscles. This is good!
My longest run so far has been the 27-miler I wrote about
in my last entry. Except for two trail dives, it felt great. I did it faster
than I'll do on the Appalachian Trail (13 minutes per mile average pace,
including walking) because
the terrain was easier.
It was a confidence-booster since I haven't run that far
since last May. In the interim,
I've had a major foot injury, surgery, recovery time, and rebuilding my base
I feel like I'm finally back on track (er, trail).
This weekend I plan to do double long runs, then a 30-miler
about ten days later.
I could do the nearby Promise Land 50K on April 23 with
Jim, but I decided I'd just lose training time (tapering and recovering) very
close to the start of the trek. (We plan to start a few days after that race.)
So I'll do a short training run on the AT during the race, and help Horton at
the finish line when the runners start coming in.
Last week I
ran 70 miles, and I'm on track for about the same this week. That's major
weekly mileage for this gal. The last time I ran that much in training was three years ago,
during training for a 100-miler (that I dnf'd at 77 miles three weeks
later). I have to go back in my training logs to the year 2000 for another training week
of 70 miles or more.
I projected 225 miles for March, and I ended up running
227.5 miles, another three-year high.
I felt really good at the end of the 70-mile week on
Sunday, but my butt's been draggin' a bit this week! I want to string together
two high-mileage weeks, then I'll take it easier next week. To compensate for
the fatigue I'm feeling, I'm walking up the hills I ran last week.
May as well. I'll be doing a lot more walking during the adventure run than I
have been in training.
I used to believe that only elite athletes were able to
score sponsorships. The closest I've ever come was getting free race entries,
transportation, lodging, meals, and coaching when I was a member of the Atlanta
Track Club's women's race team from 1986 to the mid-90s.
I've never, ever requested a discount or any type of
sponsorship from a running-related company before. However, a few days ago I
decided since I've been using Hammer Nutrition's and Montrail's products for so
long, maybe they'd give me a discount to help defray some of the expenses for
this adventure run.
I figured, even if I'm just an average athlete, what I'm
attempting is pretty extraordinary. Wouldn't it be great publicity for them if a
56-year-old woman successfully runs/walks 2,175 miles on the Appalachian Trail
using their products?
I sent off two e-mails, gave them our web address so they
could see exactly what I plan to do, crossed my fingers, and waited to hear back
I'm happy to report that today I learned both companies
have enough faith in me to offer substantial discounts on the nutrition products
and shoes I want to use during the trek (the same products Jim and I have been
using for several years, and some new ones). Jim benefits, too.
My promise to readers of this journal is that I will be as
objective as I can possibly be when I mention how those products are working. I
wouldn't be using them now if they hadn't worked for me previously in training
But using them day after day after day for three or four
months should be a good test. Even though we are all "experiments of one," I
hope my experiences will be helpful for other ultra runners and long-trail
I'll also let you know how all the other gear and supplies
I use work for me. Most of them are listed in
Preps 9 and
3. SUPPORT FROM THE ULTRA "COMMUNITY"
Finally, the positive feedback I'm getting from friends and
relatives who have been reading this journal has been very
gratifying. That also helps give me strength and determination to reach my goal.
Thank you for the encouraging words! Now it's time to notify larger groups in
which we're involved, such as the internet ultra list and local organizations.
Our closest ultra running friends in Roanoke are planning a
"going away" party before we leave for Georgia, and I hope they'll share some
miles with me on the Trail when I get up into Virginia (although they are all
faster than me). These folks are a big reason we moved to the Roanoke area in
the first place. They made us feel right at home before we even decided to move
My old running buddies in the Atlanta area haven't
forgotten me, either. At least one plans to run one or more days with me from
Springer Mountain, and possibly some others will join us since we've decided to
start on a weekend.
The projected starting date is April 29 or 30 - a scant
three weeks, considering the 36 years I've been waiting for this!
Keep the encouragement coming from now until I've finished
my little run in the mountains, OK? Thanks!