Lessons Learned on the Road to the Arkansas Traveller

I haven’t posted much here lately. Life, training for the Arkansas Traveller 100 and volunteer commitments seem to get in the way constantly. As of right now, I have just started my taper, so I will probably have the taper jitters and over post things here.

They say that the person who stands at the starting line of their first 100 miler is not the same person who crosses the finish line. Really, you could take that a step further, the person who signs up is not the same one who stands at the starting line. Here are some of the things I have learned so far.

  1. For me, I have learned to manage my time better, to organize more. I knew going in that I would have to learn to roll with the punches more because things can and will go wrong. Did I forget some equipment? Oh well, learn to run without it. Adjust on the fly and roll with the punches. Something is bound to go wrong, just call it a challenge, face up to it, adapt and overcome.
  2. Speaking of adjusting, don’t be set in your ways when it comes to nutrition. I only allow myself to drink sodas during long runs and then it usually is an occasional treat at an aid station. Back in the day when I did drink it regularly, I would only have Coke or Mt Dew. I hated Sprite. At a race recently, the only option at a particular aid station was Sprite. So I decided it was better than nothing. To my surprise it went down pretty good.
  3.  Trust your training! As most of us do, I am second guessing what I did and what could have been done different. I hear many opinions on how to train for a 100 miler, and I am sure that they all work, but I have chosen one plan and I stuck to it. Some swear by back to back long runs, some never run more than 25-30 miles at a time. I know that these plans have worked, but I know that mine will work too. My advice to the person looking at their first ultra is to ask around, find a plan that fits into your overall fitness and lifestyle, and then don’t second guess it (I say this knowing you will second guess it like I have). They say opinions are like belly buttons, we all have one. When you start training you will get many (opinions that is, not belly buttons). Weed through them and find what works. Some ideas may help you. Listen to everyone and discern.

The most important lesson I have learned wasn’t about myself, rather it was about others. As I headed down this road, I was a little concerned as to who would be willing to assist me. This is a big endeavor, one that is nearly impossible to do by yourself. When word got out that I was in, many offered to help.  I was overwhelmed at the offers. The lesson I gleaned from this is that people want to be apart of something bigger than themselves, especially when it involves helping those around them achieve their very best.

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