63.1 Miles the Easy Way – Part III

We have a plan. Coffee always makes me think better. The sun is down and light is growing dimmer by the minute. Jason has been out running more than 12 hours. It’s his longest run ever by time.

We estimate that by 10:00 PM he will complete this lap. At this 60 mile mark I will join him. We’ll be in for a long dark night. But, I hope he keeps me sane through it all.

60 miles – success! Jason has now run further than he ever has in his  life.

So, Jason how do you feel? “Oh, my feet hurt pretty bad. Otherwise, my stomach aches a bit. I think I might have slipped a bit on nutrition this last lap.” (He actually hadn’t. He actually consumed more of his Perpetuum-water mixture than in the first laps.)

Jason arrives and has remained coherent. Before we begin he is off to the medical tent for foot attention. Both feet get help – lots of help. You’d be amazed what they do with duct tape nowadays.  No really! They duct tape over lanced, drained and betadined wounds.

It was 35 minutes before we hit the trail.  We would take this one step at a time and one aid station at a time. We were not thinking about 40 miles left. After getting warmed up, Jason actually fell into a nice jog-walk pattern. Headlamps were heading out and back passing and being passed by them. At least we had company.

We chatted most of the next leg. He listened to his iPod in one ear. We walked uphills and jogged the rest. We switched to just water for a bit to give his stomach a rest. We stop at the aid station – 63.1 miles.  He has now run 13.1 miles (a half marathon) beyond his longest run ever. And he’s done it at the same pace as his 50 miler.

So,  Jason how do you feel? “I don’t know if I can do it. The pain is just so deep.”

It wasn’t his feet, though they hurt. It wasn’t his worrisome foot injury – that was OK. No, this was that deep torturous pain from 15 hours of running. It hurt all over. No injury.

We discuss the options. Go on – but the next aid station is in no man’s land and would necessitate coming back regardless. Rest longer and see if he can get it together to proceed. Or, drop – call it a day – the longest running day of his life.

I outline his accomplishments for the day and the pros and cons of continuing or DNFing. He asks if he will regret not continuing. I am honest and tell him that any competitive athlete will always have at least some part of him that wonders what if. But, that is different than deep regret. There can be no regrets in his big victories today. He made it through all the training and personal life stresses to the starting line. He just ran further than ever before. And After sitting, drinking and discussing – Jason looks at me and says, “I’m done.”

With that, I turn in his number to the aid station. He finishes his day with two major victories and a lot of lessons learned.

Well done Jason. By the way, you just ran twice as far as I’ve ever run at one time in my 40 years of running and racing! Very well done!


About Dean Hebert

I’m a mental game coach, author and speaker. I work with individual athletes, parents, coaches, and teams on sports performance enhancement. Beyond my academic post-graduate work in sports psychology - the psychology behind athlete performance – I am a certified Mental Games Coaching Professional (MGCP) and certified hypnotherapist. I’ve authored several books and hundreds of articles. “Coach, I didn’t run because…” (2008) is a seriously light-hearted look at making excuses not to workout and how to overcome them. “Focus for Fitness” (2009) and “Screw the Goals Give me the Donut” (2010) are two of my eBooks on mental game approaches for the everyday athlete. I wrote these because I believe that everyone can benefit from the powerful mental techniques that the world’s best athletes use. I have been cited in Runners World, Best Health magazine (CN), SWEAT Magazine, and the Washington Examiner amongst many other publications. I have been a featured mental games coach in Runner’s World and for the internationally acclaimed trail running resource - trailrunningclub.com. I also regularly appear on sports and fitness talk shows such as LTKFitness, Runnersroundtable and for more than three years I have co-hosted a weekly video series with Coach Joe English for Running-Advice.com. I specialize in mental toughness training. My clients include tennis, synchronized swimming, golf, race-kart, soccer, motocross, volleyball, MMA, cycling (road, off-road, time-trialist), running, duathlon and triathlon, basketball, football and baseball athletes. I have coached world-class athletes and athletes internationally. I have a passion for working with youth athletes and helping them apply mental game skills and techniques to all areas of life. Most importantly, my aim is to have people enjoy sports and life to their fullest through peak performances.
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8 Responses to 63.1 Miles the Easy Way – Part III

  1. Shell says:

    Thanks so much for helping my brother through this journey! You have been a wonderful support to him and I’m so grateful he had you there.

  2. Seoirse says:

    Hey Dean, Can I ask something… What are the biggest problems when facing a run of 100miles+ ? I can understand blisters and what not, but what about nutrition? I hear that you should consume gels and what not and then after 3 hours consume proteins in shake form but not with extra Glutamine because it takes 2 hours to scavenge ammonia with glutamine, but that BCAA and Whey are good options in hunting down ammonia from your system. I see one company has a product out that “attacks” ammonia to delay fatigue. What’s your stance on supplements in general. What can I expect from running 24/48/72 hours.
    Thanks in advanced,

  3. Dean Hebert says:

    Very good questions. Nutrition/hydration are tops on the list for worries. Those two things can stop you dead in your tracks regardless of what condition you are in. On supplements: there is virtually no independent controlled research that supports the use of supplements (there are some exceptions like creatine, caffeine) and even those that MIGHT have merit there are high potentials for side effects (i.e. diarrhea, nausea, bloating) all bad for performances. Only the supplements industry promote all kinds of claims. They are not regulated here in the states like prescription drugs so they get away with all kinds of claims. Not they necessarily lie… but there is little support

    It is HIGHLY subjective and INDIVIDUAL as to what works for someone. In fact that is a critical training component – to learn what does and doesn’t work for you. Protein is not your primary worry at all…it’s carbs. You need readily digestible readily assimilated calories for energy. Some runners can take in solid food, others cannot. One drink is palatable, digestible for one and not for another.

    There is no single solution. There is no magic diet plan. There is no magic supplement. Just watch the aid stations for an ultra and it is vividly demonstrated.

  4. Seoirse says:

    Thanks Dean for the fast responce, maybe I didn’t really explain myself correct.
    I ment, when you are running what should you consume while running? I mean, its only logic to think if im running for 10hours im going to be hungry and my muscles craving cals/carbs/protein/etc so what should I take while running? I cant keep running for over 15 hours by just taken in Carbs… can I? Im only asking as im in training now (starting today) for something very exciting next year. I don’t want to say anything yet but I will tell you closer to the date.

    • Dean Hebert says:

      Well, again really, not to be obtuse but it is very individual. You will burn 600 – 700 or more calories per hour (lots of variability). You need to take in as much as your digestive system can handle and do it mostly in the form of fluids (i.e. high energy replenishment drinks) which in fact are mostly carbohydrates (simple and complex) for an energy source.

      The purpose of out basic building blocks carbs, proteins, fats have distinct jobs. Fat is simply not a factor in this… you have plenty on your body as it is (unless you are like below 5% body fat!!!) besides it breaks down so slowly it simply won’t help you out. Protein is for tissue rebuilding and only minimally for energy – why?… because it takes too long to break down. Carbs (simple and complex) are the energy source which breaks down and can be used by your body readily.

      Other things to experiment with are:

      energy gels (a million on the market) – find the ones you like for flavor and consistency; don’t take them in conjunction with a replenishment drink because it’s too concentrated in your stomach and delays emptying into your intestines where it’s all absorbed.

      fruit – great for carbs and electrolytes (i.e. bananas).

      energy bars – with water (see reason above) – tons to consider

      Other foods – from cookies to salty items; your stomach eventually wants something solid instead of just concentrated fluids.

      Electrolyte supplementation – everyone is different… critical to assess

      Fluid comment: drink as much as you can without getting saturated and stomach sloshing; rule of thumb – if you have to pee every 30 minutes or so you are OVER hydrated. Need to monitor the color of your urine.

      Truly, this is so individual that in fact this is indeed a critical experimentation done during all the training. It is far more complex than just doing a marathon.

  5. Seoirse says:

    Thanks for the advice.

  6. Kim says:

    Wow…I am sooo proud of him! He is my hero and my inspiration! The most I have done at my current almost 300 lbs is a 10 K and am planning for a half marathon in APril in Nashville. I know I can do it, if I stick with training properly, because of what Jason has done!

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