The 12-hour Ultramarathon Training Run

On all my previous training runs, car after car go buzzing by within inches taking my life. It is not a fun way to do a training run. So today I drove 30 minutes into New York to a bike path – 20 miles long without traffic. The path is fabulous and I was enjoying it except for one thing. It was too shady. It was over 90  degrees but under the canopy it drops to 85 in the shade. This is not tough enough training for running through Death Valley when temperatures are likely to be 120 plus degrees Fahrenheit or more. Even at night it is over 100 degrees.

I ran the length of the path and then a few miles on the street before I turned around to head back to my SUV. I finished with 45 miles. It took me just over 12 hours and it was dark when finally opened up the trunk door to put the cart in back.

The training run included pushing my 120-pound baby jogger. To make up the weight I put two fifty pound bags of sand on the jogger, plus my water and supplies I will need for the day. As you can imagine I get odd looks from people. After eleven miles a man stops me. “Didn’t I see you in Mahopac?” “Yes, you did. I plan to run 50 miles today.” He laughed, waived his hand at me in a downward motion to say, you’re full of it, and he started to walk away. I said, “Seriously, I am training to run through Death Valley and I will push this cart for 50 miles today. He responded, “Are you running the Badwater Ultramarathon?” Like most everyone else, he thought I was crazy and amazing when I told him what I am training for.

At about mile eighteen I was starting to get a little hot. Now in the mid afternoon heat I was starting to douse myself with water. Was I starting to hallucinate? I started to hear the giggle of children, the splashing of water, and even the whistle of a lifeguard. Was it my childhood memories playing games with me? After less then 20 miles? As I looked over to my left, I could see through the trees a city pool filled with children frolicking in the water and screaming as they went down the corkscrew slide. I grew up in a pool like this and I longed to take a dip, especially after eighteen miles of running. But that wouldn’t be in the plan for today.

I reached the end of the trail and continued 2.5 miles on the shoulder before turning around on the main road. The one intersection I had to cross, someone came shooting around the corner to make a right on red without slowing down for the red light and almost took out my sand filled baby jogger. So much for a totally safe bike path run. But better only one near death experience than a dozen or so I typically experience.

A little over twelve hours later I got back to my car. Since I didn’t have lights and I was out of food, I decided to call it a day at 45 miles instead of my planned 50-mile run. I ran the flats and down hills on most of the first half averaging about a 13 minute pace pushing the cart, but the second half was mostly walking averaging close to a 20 minute pace. In the end, I would finish 45 miles with about a 16-minute pace. I am estimating because my Garmin Forerunner 410 battery died after 35 miles.

In the end, I am happy with my 12-hour training run. The next day I woke up stiff but feeling good. A big breakfast with a Sunwarrior superfood protein shake, then yoga, a nap and lounging in the pool with my kids made me feel like new. Today, when the day second day soreness typically sets in, I feel great. A little stiffness, but nothing a massage won’t take care of. Tomorrow I run again. But only 10 miles and without the cart.

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