How I Surged My Way to the Finish Line First at the Great Florida Traverse 128 Miler
Updated: Nov 15, 2020
It's Monday June 15 and the start of week 3 of the Tip to Tip Great Florida Traverse 128 miler and 901miler.
I was registered to run the TGNY 100K on Saturday June 20. This ultra was also cancelled due to corona but I wanted to run it virtually and make it part of my 128 miles.
I decided to taper and take it easy this week.
I logged 2.25 miles on another hot and humid day. I posted on the Tip to Tip FB page:
Hope you’re all enjoying your miles no matter the distance. Took it super easy today. Started week 3 day 11 with 2.25 miles. 58.72 miles to go! Almost finished blogging about week #2. Stay tuned! ICYMI week #1 blog, here’s the link: bit.ly/2zcuoTr
I think I was in 3rd place in the standings.
I took it easy again the next day and went to my favorite trail in the town next door. It's been swarming with hikers and walkers free of masks and physical distancing so Jon and I have stayed away.
But I decided to go out for a mid-morning run from our house about a mile from this trail in Blueberry Hill Conservation Area and Polk Park, home to beautiful and breathtaking flower and vegetable gardens created and maintained by volunteer gardening enthusiasts.
This area is also home to a massive sand quarry Jon and I refer to as Little Grand Canyon. This is a great place to train for a desert ultra.
I ran from my home and through part of the trail 2.5 miles and then ran back home.
I posted my miles and time on Runsignup. I had fallen to 5th place.
The forecast called for rain and thunderstorms on Wednesday and through the weekend. It rained Wednesday so I Wednesday off.
Thursday morning, June 17, I woke up early, like always. It's 6:30 am. The weather forecast called for more rain today with some periods of sun, and rain and thunderstorms on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Not what I wanted to hear. I wanted to run my TGNY100K miles Saturday into Sunday but I didn't want to run in the rain. I'd rather run in scorching heat and humidity.
I don't know what came over me but in an instant I realized there was no time like the present to focus on logging my remaining 53.71 miles between periods of rain and sun.
My plan was to go out, run 20 miles, take a break, and then decide how many more miles to run and when for as long as it would take me.
It was cloudy and humid when I left the house at about 9:15 am. Within a mile, the drops starting coming down.
Then more rain at 3.1 miles.
And more rain for the next 3 miles.
The rain altered my plans just a bit. Instead of running 20 miles, I ran 10.07 miles in 2:16:52.
I threw my Asics in the dryer, refueled, and changed my clothes. The rain stopped. I headed out at 1:30 pm.
It was sunny and warm on the trail.
I ran into this beautiful leaping deer. By the time I got home, I had logged 13.1 miles. It was about 5 pm.
I took another 2 hour break, changed my clothes, and had dinner: a bacon, egg, chicken, and avocado wrap.
Jon joined me on his Elliptigo. We went out the door at 7 pm and headed to the trail. It was sunny and hot.
Then it got dark, and darker on the trail about 9 pm. I strapped on my headlamp.
Jon carried his flashlight.
Along the way, we saw a toad on the path.
I logged 12.4 miles and got home a little after 10 am.
I had another wrap, this time made with beef. I had Ritz cracker ice cream sandwiches (a spoonful of ice cream between two Ritz crackers; delish!). I drank Pepsi. I had my hydration bottle filled with Nuun.
I changed my shirt and went out around 11:20 pm to log miles on a one mile loop in my neighborhood. Spotify kept me company. I told Jon I should be done by 4 am.
Jon went to bed. He had to get up at 5 am to go to work. I kept moving.
I had a little over 18 miles to conquer. The streets were quiet and well lit. I power walked. I just wanted to finish and complete 128 miles.
By midnight, Friday morning June 19, I had a little over 15 miles to go.
The great thing about running many miles in your neighborhood is the bathroom and refrigerator in your home.
I wasn't tired but a blister was brewing on the outside of my left heel. With 3 miles to go, I went back to the house and slipped on my Oofos. Relieved of discomfort, I began moving a tad faster.
And then I was done...
Or so I thought...I logged my miles for Thursday, June 18 and Friday, June 19 on Runsignup.com and my total was 127.89. What? Are you kidding me? Was I hallucinating?
In their sleep-deprived state, my feet miscalculated. It took me 4:26:31 and it was 4:27am. But I was short by .11 miles.
So, I slipped on my Oofos and walked to my neighbor's house and back. I clocked .16 miles. That cost me another 3 min. and 31 sec. But I had more than enough to complete 128 miles.
Between Thursday 9:15 am and Friday 4:46 am, with about a collective 6.5 hour break
in between, I was happy to have logged 53.81 miles, and happy to surge through and be the first runner to log 128 miles in 32: 12:10 at a 15:06 pace.
Of course, that will change, and I'll drop, if a fellow runner comes in at a faster pace.
Taking it easy at the start of week 3, as though I was tapering for TGNY100K, paid off. I logged 2.25 miles on Monday; 5.01 miles on Tuesday; and took Wednesday off.
The weather forecast calling for rain and thunderstorms through Sunday was the impetus for logging my remaining 53.71 miles sooner than later. I adapted and it worked.
Taking long breaks kept me going strong.
I thought I was done for good.
And then Bill Schultz planted an idea in my head. Why not go All the Way? I'd have to average "about" 4.5 miles a day, he texted me.
I came to my senses and on Monday, June 22 I begun logging more miles in pursuit of 901.
But not before spending Sunday on the beach with Jon, and plotting my strategy.
Since Monday, June 22, I have logged 9.4 miles. Only 763.9 miles to go by December 31.
Slow and steady is the way to go All the Way!
I continue to run miles for cancer caregivers and for my GoFundMe campaign - Ultra Care for Cancer Caregivers.
Donations week 3: 5 donors donated $250
Donations to date since May 9, 2020: $3,058 toward the $10,000 goal
Please consider making a donation. Thank you.
"We cannot all do great things. But we can do small things with great love."
~ St. Teresa of Calcutta