Chasing 42

Life, the Universe, & Running

Going the Distance: A Whirlwind Weekend

Most runners will tell you that prior to a long run, you should adequately prepare- proper amounts of nutrition and rest. In most cases, I would agree with these folks, and I have indeed typically adhered to that policy. However, this was not your typical weekend! The beautiful epicurean and I were on vacation in New England this past week (future travel post coming soon!), and were scheduled to arrive back in Iowa on Friday night, just in time for a 5-hour training run, in preparation for the Free States Trail Run 40-miler, on Saturday. On paper, our travel plans worked out perfectly. However, as I should have known, trusting the airline industry to stick to a schedule makes about as much sense as running a marathon without nutrition. Needless to say, our schedule led to what would become a rather exhausting, but accomplished weekend.

Friday, March 16th

8:00AM- wake up in Boston, MA and obtain breakfast (somehow coffee and chocolate cake seemed like a great idea at the time!)

9:30AM- depart Boston for Providence, RI to catch a flight home.

12:15PM- arrive in Providence, return our rental car, and head to the United Airlines desk to pick up our boarding passes.

12:20PM- ticket kiosk takes issue with our request for boarding passes and requests our presence at the ticketing counter.

12:25PM- Learn from ticketing agent that our boarding pass to Cleveland can be printed, but our second pass from Cleveland to Minneapolis doesn’t seem to be accessible. We head through security and arrive at our gate.

12:30PM- We speak with the ticketing agent at the gate and are informed that the Cleveland to Minneapolis flight was over-sold, and we have been rebooked on a flight to Washington, D.C. We make our way down to our new gate. Luckily, PVD is a relatively small airport.

2:15PM- Our flight from Providence to Washington, D.C. departs, relatively on time.

3:30PM- We arrive in Washington, D.C. and head to our new gate for our flight to Minneapolis. Now, bear in mind that our original flight from Cleveland to Minneapolis was scheduled to depart almost an hour earlier, so we are already behind schedule.

4:15PM- While waiting at the gate, we are informed that our flight crew is running late. Original departure time- 5:10PM/ New departure time- 6:10PM.

6:30PM- We depart from Washington, D.C.

8:10PM- We land in Minneapolis, a full 3 hours later than we had originally been scheduled to land.

9:00PM- We head out for the drive down to Ames.

12:20AM- We arrive in Ames, tired and exhausted, having not eaten very well and probably not hydrated properly.

By the time I fell asleep, it was 1:30AM and I was seriously considering the sanity of waking up at 5:30AM for the second longest run in my life. None-the-less, I woke up, met up with some early-rising friends, and hit the ground running by 6:00AM. Thanks to several groups of great friends, I was never alone. Prior to this run, I had run one other ultra-marathon, and numerous marathons. However, never did I think I would be heading out on a training run longer than a marathon.

The benefits of running with a group?

However, after 5 hours, I had run 28 miles. My legs were sore, my core was tight, my head ached, and I was very hungry, but I was done! I spent the rest of the day relaxing, stretching, and trying to regain the immense amount of calories I had left along the route. I no doubt failed, but I certainly gave it my best 🙂 This run made heading to bed very easy indeed.

Now, normally this would be the end of my story. However, training for this ultra has tested me in ways I never thought possible. Not only is it a different degree of physical stamina, but the shear mental endurance required has certainly put me to the test. With that in mind, I woke up this morning with the knowledge that I had another long run ahead of me. This time, however, it wasn’t just sleep deprivation and poor nutrition eating away at me, but also the fact that my legs already had 28 miles on them.

In addition, this run was a solo endeavor. I love running with friends. It’s what keeps me motivated and accountable. However, the additional miles these past few months have meant more time to myself. I’ve definitely learned to embrace the solitude of the road, with only my thoughts to keep me company. As I left today, it was 70 degrees and the sun was shining brightly. It was a perfect day (heck, maybe even a bit warm- didn’t see that coming in March!). I knocked out another 17 miles, and enjoyed it thoroughly. In addition, the chocolate milk never tasted so good when I got home!

So, to recap: 4 states, 5 hours of driving, 2 flights, and 8 hours of running.

It was a whirlwind of a weekend, but I wouldn’t trade the time, travel, friends, family, and running for anything!

Some day the rest will come :)

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