Saturday, March 26, 2022

Running man - 3.26 #sol22 Story Challenge

I suppose I'm a runner. I first dabbled in this identity as a member of my high-school's cross country team. (In my estimation, that was the lesser of the sports evils in which I was mandated to participate.) I found I liked time on trails, at my best moving swiftly and gracefully through the woods like just another one of the forest's denizens. Running with others was always fun, and running on my own proved unexpectedly fine as excellent head-clearing time.

That foundation of formative past experience plus present proclivity meant I didn't outright dismiss my brother's invitation when he asked about a year ago if I wanted to run 50 miles with him. We mulled the pros (limited) and cons (abundant), yet still kept staring into what felt like an abyss. With clearance from our families, we signed up last May for the event that had caught my brother's eye, managing to rope in three other friends as well. Birds of a feather, you know, or masochists.

We did cursory research and mapped out training plans, the puzzle of it all proving a source of ongoing fascination for us: how to prepare our bodies to do something they had never done before, what food and drink would provide the needed -- and tolerated -- fuel. From June to early August, I took full advantage of a teacher's schedule, running 5-6 days each week and stacking up progressively longer runs. I noticed that while I wasn't going with notable speed I was able to go and go. My fitness was changing, demonstrably. Running marathon distances became an attainable routine. Best of all, none in our group experienced any breaking down physically or fatiguing mentally as the mileage increased. Runs of five miles or fewer, a friend of my brother's dubbed "snacks." We did the math and concluded the ultra-marathon would amount to 10 snacks. No problem, we bluffed.  In our amateur judgment, we were on track for our goals -- even if I had to start tapering early, once the new school year started.

I'm writing about this today because my brother and I and our friends participated in the event exactly six months ago, on September 26. All five of us finished, feeling better than expected, and surpassing the times we had talked about as our ideals.

10 comments:

  1. Congratulations!!! What an awesome accomplishment. My biggest challenge has been to participate in the Slice of Life each year. Who knows, maybe I'll try this?!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Congratulations! I love your description of your research, and how you broke down each segment of five miles as a "snack," and thus doable. Now I'd like to see how you describe the actual run. Ultramarathons just seem impossible to me.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I used to run and then had to have back surgery. My doctor told me not to run anymore because he wasn't sure what it would do to my new titanium disks. I remember how good I used to feel when I was finished running hills for a couple miles. I can only imagine the sense of accomplished you have. I always hated running, but really, really loved how I felt when I was finished.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Brian, what a spectacular accomplishment! You even added a runner on your slicer logo to share your excitenent. Congratulations. Your snacks turned into an enormous meal!

    ReplyDelete
  5. What an amazing accomplishment. I love that you did it as a team, broke down your training and then made the runs into snacks. You really took a bite out of that challenge.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wow- what an amazing accomplishment! You must feel like you can do anything now. I think it's really awesome that you did it with your brother and those fellow masochists (ha!) I can't even imagine how you felt as you finished. Do you think you would ever do it again?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm never one to say never, but I doubt this feat will be repeated.

      Delete
  7. This is so impressive, Brian! Fifty miles sounds so unattainable, and yet you met that challenge. Did you feel like you could do anything after that? In awe of your writing, and now your running stamina...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definite pride in doing what we set out to do. Thanks for adding your encouragement!

      Delete