ON May 5, 2012, I completed my first 100km run in San Fransisco on the famous Miwok trail with 12,000 feet of climbing.
The trail started just south of San Fran at Stinson Beach up into the hills behind Stinson back down and over to Muir Woods, up again into Golden Gate national Park and then back to Muir Woods and finally back to Stinson Beach. After completing 8 Ironman Triathlons this was the toughest thing both mentally and physically that I had ever done. The day was amazing, beautiful blue skies, breathtaking views, great people and volunteers, and of course more hills and climbing than anyone would imagine doing in one day.
When ever we decide to test our own perceived boundaries of what we think is possible for us to do we always have hurdles to over come. I am fortunate as a coach and personal trainer to watch so many of my clients do this daily which is what inspires me to push past my own limits. I also have a very supportive husband who always brings me back to reality when I start to create panic in my world. I was very doubtful of my ability to complete this, as I had never run that far before and did not get in the training that I needed to arrive with more confidence. My husband was the one who said do your best, appreciate that you can be one of the people who can even consider attempting this. At the start line I took the time to be thankful of what my body was about to do and with that thought in my mid the day began at 5am under a full moon.
As with any endurance race, even though there are people around you most of the day you are really only out there with your own thoughts. You review your life, ask questions and answer them, have epiphanies, go through times of doubt and euphoria. I think that is one of things I like about events like this is that it is not all physical when you are out there but you need to be mentally tough in order to push past the low moments.
I was doing pretty good for the first part of the run. I stopped to tape a sore ankle at 26 miles and kept on going. I enjoyed some of the white bread peanut butter and jelly sandwiches until the second to last aid station when they had been out in the sun all day and were very crusty. The last two legs of the run were the toughest with a lot of big hills to climb and descend. I managed to make it to the last aid station knowing I had another 7 miles to go. I had estimated a time of 13:30-14 hours to complete this but at 14 hours with some distance still to go I starting hoping just to make the cutoff of 16:30hours. As I crested the last climb before we descended down into Stinson Beach the sun had set and I entered the trail with no head lamp. A couple of guys caught up to me and ran by with head lamps and I tried to keep up my legs were not firing fully and they blew by me. I continued my trek down the trail and caught up to a lady who also had a lamp but she was going too slow for me and I just wanted to finish. I continued on until we got to the stairs and I am not sure what happened but I started running down them in the dark very proficiently. My legs just flowed underneath me it was amazing. In the distance I could see someone waving a flashlight, a volunteer who told me I had 400m to go. It was that point where I knew I had done it and tears welled up in my eyes. I ran down the street to the beach parking lot where I saw the finish tent. I ran under the banner and threw my arms up in the air jumping up and down. For 20 seconds I was in my own world of euphoria not aware of anyone around me. After my little celebration i saw my husband waiting for me and also realized how tired I was.
Any time we set our goals a little higher than before we challenge our self to reach a new level. This comes with fear, doubt and possibilities! If we never try we will never know what is possible. If we try and fail at least we tried and challenged ourself instead of staying in our safe comfort zone.