The Road to 100 Miles: Finishing the Race
After peak week, I had a 3-week taper period where gradually decreased training volume. As always during a taper, it felt like I was getting unfit as I wasn’t training as much. But I was able to trust the process and take it easy.
The race started at 8 AM, and while standing at the starting line I was thinking about all the things that need to go my way in order to finish the race. In races like this, it’s not just about the fitness. You need to be able to consume enough calories, having your body “accept it” properly. It’s also a technical course, so it would be super easy to end up with a sprained ankle.
We took off slowly, as there were 200 of us and the trails were narrow. After a while, the runners started splitting up and I found a good group to run with. The pace was a bit slower than I would have liked, but knowing that there was a long way to go, it was a good pace. I know that if I set the pace myself, I would run too fast.
I lost that group at one of the aid stations but found another one instead. They had a better pace. I ran with them until the next aid station, where I lost them as well. After that, I pretty much ran the rest of the race (roughly 110km) by myself.
At the halfway aid station, I changed my shoes and had some warm food. That gave me a boost. I felt good and ran for a good bit. Then things started to go south.
It was around midnight. My legs were hurting, and because of all the roots and stones/rocks, I didn’t want to or couldn’t run too much. It would have required me to use my energy to jump vertically instead of horizontally, in order to get over all the roots and stones. My toes were already blue from failing at that earlier in the race. Choosing to walk meant that I got really cold.
Walking alone in the forest, looking down at the ground to avoid the roots and stones, and being tired, led to crazy hallucinations. I was seeing and hearing things for hours. I felt like just focusing on the ground in front of me also made me more tired, but I had to do it. I was so tired…