Prior to this race I had trained hard for 16 weeks for the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. I decided in my training for the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon I would decrease my mileage some, take out the usual 30 mile long run I was used to doing and focus on more quality workouts/runs rather than just running lots of miles. I went from about 80-100 miles per week to about 50 miles per week with my long run being 24 miles leading up the the marathon which I ran a 3:09:48 and got my Boston Qualifying time for 2016 by a little over 5 minutes. Once that race was over I had only 8 weeks to train for my next 100 mile race. I knew it was crazy going into it but I had never really done anything the conventional way anyway but I knew the risks of upping my mileage like that and I was willing to take the risk. Things all workout for a reason and I feel the same way about this. The week after the Monumental marathon I took an easier week running around 30 miles. Since I was used to running a marathon every weekend or so(I've run 79 marathons/ultras as either races or training runs) I really didn't look for it to take me long to recover. That race was hard on me. I had a goal going into it to try to run under 3 hours and I was on pace through about 18 miles or so then I felt a twinge in my shin and struggled to finish but pushed through and still got a Boston qualifying time although not the time I wanted or a PR, I was happy with it considering the circumstances. Taking the first week easy after Monumental helped but I still had what felt like shin splints throughout training but continued to run between 80-100 miles a week. Some weeks it hurt to where I had to cut my mileage to 20-30 miles just to be able to run another big week. As the weeks went on leading up to the race the pain went away so I never thought much of it. I've always had some sort of ache or pain here or there but never really thought of it and it usually just went away.
The day before the Pistol 100 I felt like I was getting sick and had a fever. Just what I needed but other than that the body was feeling good and really had no pain. In fact it was the best I had felt in quite a while. The only thing I was a little leery about was this 100 miles was on pavement and I knew how hard it would be on me. The 2 100 milers I had done previously had been on trails. Training for this race I did the majority of my running on pavement as well to get used to the pounding the body would be taking. I had a goal going into this race was to one, finish, two, finish in under 24 hours and if I was really feeling good finish in under 20 hours. My PR for 100 miles is 25 hours and 38 minutes so I had some work to do but felt I was in pretty good shape. What always gets to me in a race of this distance is my nutrition. I can never get it right and struggle once I get to 70 miles or so. This time I was going to try an electrolyte drink they were serving on the course. I was first introduced to this product by my good friend Ashtyn from the Facebook page Fit Life with Ashtyn. She swears by this product and talks about it all the time. So many people swear by this product. I said to myself, why not give it a try. They were serving it at a race and I had done a lot of research on the product but I had never used the product. I will say I wouldn't recommend using something in a race that you have never trained with but like I said earlier since when do I do things the conventional way anyway and what did I have to lose? I had always suffered with nutrition in a race of this distance so it couldn't get any worse.
Start of the race I was running really strong and feeling great. The course consisted of a little over 11 miles and I would have to do it 9 times to get to 100 miles. I was actually wearing shorts in January as temps were unseasonably warm for this time of year. The race is on a paved path with several rolling hills along the course. I guess that's what they call flat in Tennessee but it was a very nice course. The first 50 miles I ran in 9 hours 25 minutes and at the 70 mile mark was at 14 hours 58 minutes still feeling good. My nutrition throughout the race to this point consisted of only Tailwind Nutrition and a couple pieces of peanut butter sandwich here and there. The Tailwind was working amazingly!! Nutrition wise I am feeling great, strong, no nausea or anything at this point. Feeling like I am going to power through and no doubt get through this in under 24 hours. The middle of the night however was so hard mentally on me as it started to pour down rain and the rain never let up. . For almost 12 hours in the dark we got pounded with rain which flooded the course. Some sections had cold water that was up to your waist at several sections. Around mile 75 I feel hot spots on my feet and knew it was going to be painful to finish. Once I got to the medic I had them heavily tape my feet, I got a dry pair of shoes and socks and continued on but with the tape on my feet it made it tight on my feet and painful to continue. Around mile 85 I felt this agonizing pain in my left shin which made it impossible to run. I was walking between a 30-40 minute mile at this point. At mile 87 I sat down and rolled up my pants when I noticed this huge bruise to my shin area with the bone sore to touch. At mile 91 I sat down because the pain was so intense and called my wife Melissa telling her I was thinking about dropping out but she would hear none of that nonsense by telling me you have come this far. You are finishing. She was supposed to run the 50k in this race but she was recovering from and injury and was unable to do it however she did voluenter at one of the aid stations. She met me at mile 93 and gave me her calf sleeve she was wearing and taped it around my leg with almost like a makeshift cast to put pressure on my shin to help with the pain but every step I felt an agonizing pain. She walked the last 7 miles with me and I was able to manage 20 minute miles walking on it from that point and was able to finish the race. I couldn't of done it without her. I completed the race with a time of 27 hours 15 minutes and 30 seconds. Although not the time I was hoping for my 1st goal was finishing which I did. I will say that although my leg prevented me from getting time I wanted that the electrolyte drink I used kept me feeling good throughout and it is the only thing I will ever use the next time I run an ultra. It is that good and does what it says. It's like magic in your bottle!! This was an excellent race, well organized, great aid stations and support. I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to try their first ultra as they have distances of 50k, 100k and 100 mile however it is 100% on pavement just so you know. I plan on sticking to trails for ultra's from now on.
As for the runstreak. This race was runstreak day's 1138 and 1139. We drove about 8 hours home right after this race. I went and ran the next day in pain to get to runstreak day 1140. I called and made and appointment to see a Doctor the next day. I got the diagnosis from the doctor, a stress fracture which I had already pretty much diagnosed myself so no running for 6-8 weeks. I can do any non impact workouts which I will do. I did try to run 1 more mile after getting home from the doctor to end the streak but just couldn't do it and only managed 3/10ths of a mile before going home. I realized at that point that getting healthy was my main concern and trying to run on it would lead to more injuries and longer recovery time. I could have taken a DNF during the pistol 100 miler this past weekend but made the decision to push through it and run/walk through it. I've never had a DNF and if the streak was ending I was going to go out with a BANG while finishing my 3rd 100 miler. Do I regret not stopping? Absolutely not. Bones heal. I've had a good run during this streak. 28 marathons with 12 being ultras including 3-100 milers and 2 Boston Qualifiers with over 8000 miles logged. During my 3/10 of a mile walk tonight I thought to myself my main focus will be cross training my A$$ off, hoping to make my comeback race at The Boston It might not be the time I'm hoping for but trust me I will finish that race. I will continue to coach and enjoy the joys of the runners I coach as well as continue to have fun on this page and with this blog.
Before I got injured I already knew I was risking injury by upping my mileage too quickly training for a race which I would never recommend you do. I knew the risk but I took the chance anyway and paid for it. Still finished the 100 mile race which is something I'm proud of and don't regret doing. This injury was just Gods way of telling me its ok to take a break, take a step back and try other things and I am thankful for that. I think it will make me a stronger, more well rounded runner and coach because of it. I've really enjoyed this journey this past 3+ years and trust me, you haven't seen nothing yet. I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for supporting me and I will continue to support you all. You might ask if I will ever run another 100 mile race? My answer is, "Well, I still haven't hit that sub 24 hour goal yet. I have unfinished business with that distance. I will see you again one day!!" Thank you. Coach Mike.