Today I went out and completed the ThunderMeat Endurance Yes Man Mile. This challenge was a lot tougher than I expected. The run was 32 miles total and I've covered this distance numerous times. I've even run it on a quarter mile track twice so I felt prepared going into this virtual race. This race was a combination of the classic fixed time + last man standing ultra events where I had to run one mile, every 15 minutes on the dot for 8 hours totaling 32 miles. My original hope was to get down to Georgia on August 22nd for the actual race, but the pandemic sidelined those plans.
I can't thank the guys at ThunderMeat enough for creating a virtual option for this race. It definitely lessened my sense of FOMO when August 22nd rolls around and I see a bunch of guys getting after it in the Georgia heat.
I started the run promptly at 7 o'clock which if everything went alright, my last mile would be at 2:45. I started by myself and I felt really good. It was an awesome morning weather wise and the track was fairly busy so the laps definitely became less monotonous. My father showed up for 45 minutes to get a quick workout in and that allowed me to get a couple miles in with him before he had to leave.
I then went on to run miles 8 through 15 by myself and I felt good, but I knew that I underestimated this challenge. The moment of toughness was creeping in a lot quicker than I expected, but that's ultra running. You truly never know what is going to happen to your body and mind. The one thing I had going for me was that I knew I could cover the distance so I wasn't going to quit and I was going toe the line every 15 minutes ready to attack each mile.
At mile 15, my friend Helen showed up to run with me and that was a HUGE help. She ran miles 15 through 19 with me which delayed my demise because having a running buddy definitely gave me a boost of energy. We cruised for 5 miles and this was a good and bad thing. The good thing was we clicked off miles, but the bad thing was that we would have 5 minutes to chill between mile intervals which didn't allow us to really get into a rhythm. I was battling this issue all day because I couldn't ride the mental highs longer than a mile like in a regular race. I'd have to regroup and this was a different beast for me. As the day went on I intentionally slowed down to have less rest and this minimized my legs locking up.
I took a rough fall when we were running together and surprisingly this happens even on a track. I started shuffling my feet, my mind began to fade off, and I definitely paid for it. I split my left big toe open so I had to deal with this pain and a bloody shoe for the final 13 miles. When I began to get up towards mile 30, it was tough to push off my left toe, but that's what makes this stuff so fun. There's always going to be an unexpected challenge thrown in that you must conquer in order to be successful.
After Helen left, my mother showed up to walk 4 miles. I didn't run with her, but her presence on the track was a benefit and she also was rocking some Elite Mindset merch so that reminded me of everything I had gone through to be grinding on the track today. She definitely helped get me through the miles when the temperature began to rise. I focused in on my nutrition and forced myself to eat even though I was not hungry for 7 and a half of the 8 hours. Thank god for Honey Stinger waffles and potato chips or today would've gotten A LOT uglier.
With 8 miles left to go I was all alone. This was the part of the day when I was hurting, but the end was in sight so I started dialing in. I was going to find a way to power through and I did which makes me proud to say as I sit here writing this blog. That's the reason I love ultra running. Challenges and difficulties are inevitable, but you need to face them head on to have any chance of getting to the finish line. My mother came back to see me finish and I took some pictures to commemorate adding another ultra to the resume.
Overall, I couldn't have asked for a better day on the track. The in person support and support throughout social media was unbelievable so I can't thank everyone enough in the TK Army for reaching out. Also, I'm so thankful for my dudes at ThunderMeat for making it possible for me to participate thousands of miles away from Georgia. You guys are the real MVP's.
With all that said, I'm going to bed because I'm in some serious pain right now. 32 miles in 90+ degree heat definitely wears you out so hopefully I sleep well tonight...I guess we will see!
If you'd like to run the virtual Yes Man Mile sign up here: https://ultrasignup.com/register.aspx?did=78614
They have 3 hour, 5 hour, and 8 hour divisions.