I Have HOW MANY Miles Left?

Jun
4

Posted by Coach April Corey

I recently had that question pop in my head when I was racing my first 100 mile ultra marathon a few weeks ago: I have HOW MANY miles left??

The Born to Run 100 mile race started at 6pm Friday night and I got in one good 10 mile loop before the sun went down.

starting happy!

 

The next three loops were in the dark with a headlamp and hand-held flashlight guiding my way but I did not feel comfortable running because I didn’t know the course.

By daybreak, a mere 12 hours into the race, I had only gone 40 miles. That was when my brain said “OH MY GOODNESS, I HAVE 60 MILES LEFT TO RUN”. I had never run/walked through the night, let alone stayed up all night or been up and down so many hills (I live in very flat South Mississippi and the race was in very hilly Southern California). The rise of the sun reset my internal happy-meter and I was good for the next few loops. It was hot and I was getting tired but I was logging the miles. This race seemed to be lasting forever and I was going to be running (ahem…walking) through the night again and I still had 40 miles to go.

not so happy!

 

It was time to either be done with the race or change my perspective. I didn’t come clear across the United States to give up, so I had to work on my mind. As tired as I was, I decided to focus on one lap at a time. And within each lap, I focused on one mile at a time. During those one mile treks, I thought about all the really long runs I had completed during training, all the Friday night 25 mile runs that I did after a full day at the office and how much my husband and kids were excited to hear about the race.

got my mind right!

 

When I was thinking that I had 40 miles left, I was overwhelmed, but when I thought of getting one more lap under my belt (or feet), it didn’t seem as difficult. The course was challenging and a good reminder that endurance events are not for the faint of heart. Whether you are running ultra marathons, Ironman races, long cycling events or swimming across the English Channel, you need to get your mind right. If you are negative when the going gets tough, you are going to have a miserable experience.

Yes, it is hard. Yes, it is a test of your abilities. But, you didn’t sign up for the event knowing it would be a walk in the park. Sometimes you will have an equipment malfunction (a flat tire or suddenly only have one gear on your bike) or your stomach has decided to revolt, even though you haven’t tried anything new on race day or you are just having an off day. You have to break the event down into smaller chunks and focus on one chunk at a time. Celebrate the victory of that chunk and then move on to the next one.

finished!

 

Working on your mental game is just as important as working on your physical game. Thinking through the possibilities that may happen during an endurance event and how you will handle it is a great way to get your mind ready and trained for if/when it does happen. You must stay positive and continue putting one foot in front of the other. Put some focus on your mental game for happy racing even when times get tough!

earned this medal!

 

Read Coach April's full race report on Facebook! 


Coach April is a USA Triathlon Level I Certified Coach and has made South Mississippi her home for the past 17 years. With a full time job and two young children, April knows how and what it takes to go from being a couch-potato to an Ironman distance finisher on a time-crunched schedule. In the beginning, her goal was to “just finish” and now she regularly makes the podium at running and triathlon events. April has coached beginner and experienced athletes preparing for Sprint, Olympic and Half-Ironman distance events and has also coached her two children in several youth duathlon, triathlon and running events. She enjoys working with athletes of all levels of experience and helping them mentally and physically complete their races. She brings with her a deep desire and commitment to helping other achieve their personal fitness goals. April is an active member of the Ticking Tri Bombs, a USAT club. Contact her at april@teamMPI.com.

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