I would like to welcome one of our new Endurance Buzz contributors, Melanie Fryar! Melanie enjoys running fast but also keeps it all in perspective with a big focus on the simple love of running and keeping it fun!
Enjoy as Melanie shares her first article with us!
What’s Fun About Running 100 Miles?
During the pre-race briefing for a recent 100 mile race I ran (or 104 miles if miles matter after 99.9 miles), the race director bluntly stated that if we were doing this for fun, we better rethink starting this race. He said we needed a why, and our why needed to stand up to our realization that what had seemed like a good idea six months before starting, would seem like the stupidest idea we ever had somewhere after mile 60.
I’ve now thought about this for a few weeks, and have decided he really is right. Running 100 miles is not fun. By mile 45, I was through running for “fun” and kept running out of determination and wanting to conquer myself. But I also realized looking back at my 104 miles, that I did a lot of things to try and keep it fun anyway.
So, for those of you who want to try to have fun while running the last 40 or so miles of a 100 miler, here are a few things I found fun all race long.
1. Stomp in the Puddles
We put so much effort into keeping our feet dry on a run. Early on in this race, I stopped and carefully picked my way across large mud puddles and small creek crossings. But why? How often do we remove socks and have dry feet on training runs? That’s a NEVER for me. Anyone who trains in Texas is sure to have wet feet well before even two hours of running passes, even if there are no puddles to step in.
So why not just have fun with the mud?
Truly, there is something thrilling about splashing through the puddles on purpose. Try it out the next chance you get and see how your feet and mind do.
2. Catch Raindrops in your Mouth
Instead of fretting over the falling rain (or sleet/snow, as it was), why not just play in it?
I opened my mouth, tilted my head back and ran down the muddy jeep road trying to catch rain in my mouth, and found myself giggling at mile 60 instead of worrying over the weather.
3. Don’t be Afraid to Whoop Out Loud
It’s amazing how good it feels to get excited. If you are looking forward to an approaching aid-station, let it be known!
If you are enjoying the sunset (or rise), try whooping out loud and see if it feels good.
When you whack your toes on a ghost rock (or root) and manage not to face-plant, let yourself be happy about the save.
For me, this is an instant mood booster,especially in later miles.
4. Pack Snacks You Liked as a Kid
Chances are, if you were excited to eat Moon Pies and Twinkies as a kid, your runner-self will be excited to eat them when it’s walking time in a long race.
Of course, tummy’s can turn on you in races. And if that has happened, I don’t necessarily recommend this. But for those of us that normally are able to eat in races, take advantage!
I gave my crew a bag with Moon Pies, Oatmeal Cream Pies, gummy snacks and other favorite child-time foods in it, along with instructions to refill my pack with these foods as the night went on. It was a happy surprise to unzip a pocket, reach in and pull out a Strawberry Moon Pie at mile 80, when I thought I had eaten all of them.
When there is truly no more fun in your run, little things have the potential to cause big swings. Planning little mood boosters to help offset the negative things that, unless you are having the run of your life are sure to happen, will help you conquer the down times sooner. Then you can swing up faster. And 100 miles is long enough without spending any extra time on the down. 🙂
– Melanie Fryar
Share Your Thoughts with the Tribe:
What approaches have you used to bring-the-fun during the later stages of an ultra or 100 mile trail adventure?
[Photos: Courtesy Nicholas Wang (http://flic.kr/p/cgKwF3) and JD Hancock (http://flic.kr/p/6zirBr)]
Posted on 01 Oct 2013
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