Apologies to the Game of Thrones writer who had the character Tyrion Lannister say it first when he said: “That’s what I do. I drink, and I know things.” I feel a bit like him only “I run far and I know things” – Coach Stacy.
Not everyone has the ability or life circumstances to do a marathon much less an ultra during Covid-19. Those who do so are lucky in many ways. I wanted to share the story of Ambassador Amanda’s first ultra as I gave her some advice shortly after her race and thought we could all use it. Plus she is the reason I joined that event too.
“I get there is nothing worse than old timers always telling ya what you should do. But “I run far and I know things!” You just blew the doors off any preconceived limitations you once had about your running. You are on a high plus you just did something really special during a difficult time in our history. You took control back for at least a day. But this is important. For the next 7-10 days you should walk as much as you want but try not to run. You have earned drinks and treats but get really clean food in there too. You will now want to do this again soon (I know as I ran my treadmill marathon last week then this ultra so I get it but I took the advice I am giving you). You may crash once this high is over and be a little lost. Post race blues will be amplified. But listen to me: You do NOT need to double down and do more or do faster. Sit with this HUGE accomplishment for a bit. Do not negate it or let it be anything other than the coolest thing you’ve done. An 80K+ is something only a handful of folks have done. It is impressive. Welcome to the club!” – Coach Stacy
Over the weekend I participated in my second virtual event. The first was on April 22nd when I ran a treadmill marathon. I needed desperately to take back control of some aspect of my life. I was incredibly sad for the victims and families from the recent mass shootings in my province and generally pretty down about all the folks suffering during Covid-19. I run lots of marathons (66 so far) and regardless of how they go. I always feel proud of them and like I’ve accomplished something that day. So while it was a bit odd to run a marathon in my basement on a treadmill (we’ve been told to “Stay the Blazes Home!”). I still got my usual runners high. I felt really good about doing the distance despite being really sad for my friends, neighbors and community. I wore my 2020 Sole Sisters Women’s Race bib and gave myself the unicorn medal everyone is getting later this month. The thing about a virtual event is you can do it anytime and any distance so my 5K turned into a Sole Sisters Virtual Marathon.
I controlled one little aspect of my life and it felt great. And you know how when you have a good race you want more? I knew our Sole Sisters Ambassador Amanda had been training for her first marathon and when it got cancelled she threw her energy into training for this event called “Ella’s Frontyard Ultra” which was a fundraiser for Feed Nova Scotia and put on by the folks behind Nova Scotia’s first 100 mile race (Capes 100). You run a set distance (in this case it was 6.67K) and you must complete your distance in one hour. Each laps starts on the top of the hour and you win it by being the last person running. I had no interest in this event initially because when I race, I believe in forward progress. I don’t care if I am walking or running, but I have to be moving towards the finish line. I don’t want to take a 20 minute break. But, with a significant runners high from the recent treadmill marathon I decided to do the race Amanda was doing. I even talked two other ladies into joining me in this virtual event. It wouldn’t be a race for me as I didn’t want to be the last one running but I did want to run farther than my treadmill marathon. And I wanted to do something with 100+ other folks doing it also. I believe in 2020 the only races happening will be virtual so if you find one, register for it. Ten days after my first treadmill marathon I completed my first 50K treadmill ultra just so I could add the ultra to my list of bizarre quarantine events. But what I I did was not as impressive as what Amanda did. So for this blog I wanted you to be able to hear about Amanda’s race through her words.
I took her facebook post and I am including it here. She is an incredible and impressive runHER. She managed to do her first marathon and first ultra in the same event. And she went BIG. This is Amanda’s race recap of her 80.9K on Saturday! And we found a picture of her from last year!
“I didn’t sleep the best last night but I will call that nerves, I was up bright and early morning, I got up had a bite to eat (peanut butter toast and an energy gel) I geared up and headed out the door for lap 1 of Ella’s Frontyard Run. My first route was a double loop for a total of 6.82km in 36:56 pace of 5:25.
Just got back from lap 2 it is getting warm and so humid! I am changing to a t-shirt and shorter capris for the next lap or two. My route was an out and back through the industrial park with long low grade hills 6,72km in 36:32 pace of 5:26. My legs are awake and ready for the next round.
Lap 3 down, over 20km in so far, this lap was a bigger neighborhood loop with a good down hill and 2k of low grade uphill in a head wind. distance of 6.78km in 37:13 pace of 5:29. Legs are still feeling good even with dogging puddles, washouts and bad pavement.
Lap 4 down, out and back to the reserve with some “rolling hills”. distance 6.77km in 36.52 pace of 5:27. My legs are good still, I can feel the distance but no where near tired yet. I have now officially made it past the half way mark for two of my goal. Another shirt change and its on to loop 5.
Lap 5 down, it was the double a little more difficult this time, but still feeling good. My fiance Vince Boucher ran the first loop with me and my step son Isaac biked both loops with me. distance 6.71km in 37:54 a pace of 5.39. I have now run further today then any other day!
Lap 6 down, it was raining and high winds yuk! redid lap 2 through the industrial park distance 6.78km in 36:57 pace of 5:27. I am holding steady and still feeling good, Had dill pickle, energy gel and Gatorade when I got back. Another shirt change and I will be back out the door.
Lap 7 down, I hit the full marathon distance at 1.63km in 8:54. Redid lap 4 out the reserve with the rolling hills. The head winds are getting stronger which is making the return trip more difficult and my legs are definately feeling it. But I am going to keep pushing on, I still have not taken any walk breaks so thats a good sign. Distance this lap was 6.76km in 38:19 a pace of 5:40.
Lap 8 down for those that are keeping track of my mileage I am now at 54.03km in total I am now an ultra marathoner. Try and avoid the head winds as much as possible I have now shortened my neighborhood loop to 2.3km per loop. it was much less windy but my legs are really starting to feel the distance. This last lap was 6.7km in 37:52 pace of 5:40. Putting my feet up for 15mins then heading back out.
Lap 9 down, it was hard not gonna lie. I was hoping to do all of my laps outside but the wind is just to much so I am moving on to the treadmill. This last lap was 6.7km in 38:50 a pace of 5:48. My legs are really feeling it but I am not ready to give up. I am eating a fudge oat bar, drinking some Gatorade and hitting the treadmill.
Lap 10 down, the treadmills not so bad except it is super hot in my basement even with the fan blowing on full. I had to walk twice just so I could take a drink. Distance was 6.7 in 39:25 a pace of 5:53. But my legs feel much better then they did outside. I am really starting to think that I will make it to 12hrs (my secret goal to hit 50 miles). Now for a little snack and electrolytes.
Lap 11 done, 6.7k in 43:07 a pace of 6:26 it was slower by far but I took my friend Kent Beattie advice and dialed it back to make sure I get that last lap in. I wont lie this one was painful, my lower back is getting sore and my feet are sore. But I know I have another 6.7km in me.
Lap 12 was slow and painful distance of 6.78km in 44:41 a pace of 6:41 i set my treadmill to 9.3km/hr and walked 4 times for 30sec each time. I am so done lol. I achieved my secret goal with a total distance of 80.9km. Thanks for sticking in there with me I appreciated all of the online support 🙂
I want to thank my fiance Vince Boucher for his support all day, coach Stacy Juckett Chesnutt for all of her advice and for believing in me, Kent Beattie for give me great tips and encouragement those last 2 loops , the Truro Run Tribe for sticking with me all day and of course Nova Scotia Trail Running for putting on such and amazing event.”
PS: Just saw Amanda made a post today about some virtual 100 mile event she might do. Remember how I said don’t double down?! Well, I tried.