He gave me some advice on not pushing too hard and being careful for the Hell’s Tunnel portion which was a long stretch through stagnant air and mangrove. I pressed on and did it. Key Largo, FL to Key West, FL: Avg Temps f. 87/69: Gain/Loss in ft < 500 ft: Highest Elev. I didn’t stop running until I reached the finish line. 6:15am (staggered start) Surface. I also would take the occasional squirt of water directly to my face to get a jolt of energy–like a smack to the face. 10 days removed from crossing the finish line at the inaugural Badwater: Salton Sea 81-mile race out in the San Diego desert, that's me and my friend/crew member, Kenny Matys, standing at the finish line of the Keys 100. I think it lasted 20-30 minutes but felt like more. He would follow the light of the guide runner. I have run a few races that I class as really long. What was next on the ultra ladder? I was in and out in under 60 seconds and I felt much better. Frustrating but I didn’t let it get me down. I had a light June and July with training and only averaged a few days a week of running. After 5 hours and 20 minutes, including time to eat and adjust equipment, I finished. 20 hours and 28 minutes from the time I started I was at the end. Each country has its own league and you can advance higher in the rankings by completing races and collecting points. However, I did some research prior to starting this goal. She also held the American Record for 100 mile trail from November of 2014-February of 2015 (14:45:26). Without my family, especially my wife, none of this would have ever even been a dream let alone possible. Let the research begin again, I thought. My left big toenail hurt a bit and I was reaching heart rates in the 150+ range. I believe it was at this point near the 80 mile mark that I started talking to myself outloud, signing songs or at least just singing the melody, and just plain yelling nonsense. 32 hours: Sunrise/set. On MLK day in January I set out on the road and ran 50km in and around Luxembourg City in subfreezing temperatures with 3-5 inches of snow on the ground. I embarked across the bridge and started what would become my revised method of run/walk intervals which I dubbed “target practice.”. I even ran another marathon distance in December 2012 just for mental preparation. I didn’t feel like collapsing. That was a huge change from only treadmill running. I changed my mind about 3 times before realizing it really was a post with a sign. I got over the guardrail, had blood dripping down my leg and could barely walk, let alone run. Also based on that run, which was done in harsher conditions than the Keys 100, I had set my goal of finishing the 100 miler in under 20 hours. In the end, that was a blessing in disguise because it helped me iron out a few training issues as well as build my conditioning to a better level. Yet I resisted the urge to push myself yielding to the advice of so many other runners and books I had read. The Keys 100 was the first race of my life. Yet when we reached the uphill portion of the bridge, my faster walking pace put me ahead of them again. This was not my plan coming into the race. I was actually in less pain running than I was walking. Now it was time to cue the pity party music. Over the next few months I slowly upped my weekly distance and increased my long runs. I crossed the German border after 6 hours and 22 minutes of running. When I arrived to Key Largo and attended the pre-race packet pickup/meeting, the butterflies started to hit. My incredible wife even paced me the last 25 kilometers. By the end of the year I was running more but not with a real focus on any goal. I trained for about 2 months but hadn’t committed myself to a date for doing my 100 mile run. I still felt very good but was not running as fast as I wanted. The first target was the elevated portion of the 7 mile bridge. By hour 6 of the run, my quads were starting to tighten up and as I approached hour 7 I could barely maintain any sort of pace. I did a recon mission by bicycle tracing the path I’d run on foot. Registration is open for the 13th Annual race across the islands of the Florida Keys in this Southernmost part of the United States. Yet a funny thing happened when I finished the marathon distance, I felt like I could run farther. It’s only 20km from a 100km so I said what the heck I’m going to do 100km in the summer of 2014. It still frustrated me because even at around 135 I was only running at a 6:30-6:40/km pace (approximate 10:25-10:35/mi). When I got in front of them from that point, I sort of used it as motivation to keep me going. I will give myself a little more leeway on my heart rate in the beginning to account for early race adrenaline. I’m sure that we have all seen a thousand articles on how important rest is to any athlete’s schedule. He said he wouldn’t finish. By 8:30am it was pretty darn steamy. My thought process, as weird as it may be, was that any of my training runs on a given week would be in the 10-40 km range. Without my family, especially my wife, none of this would have ever even been a dream let alone possible. 50 miles…um, okay but that’s 80.5 km I thought. When I moved to a new location for work, I no longer had a gym membership but instead tried my hand at running outdoors. In hot races, I’m going to use ice much earlier rather than wait to nearly overheat. My wife took them to Key West and I wouldn’t see my wife for another 5+ hours. I came to find out that this man had run all over the world and even represented the United States in the Olympics in London. When they saw me for the first time around 2:00am in the morning, they were going crazy with excitement. When the email arrived with dates for the UTMR training camp I was delighted – the same week as the Zermatt Ultramarathon so I’d be…, Written by Kevin O'Rourke - http://ultrakev.blogspot.co.uk All would be in the vehicle for the first 10 miles of the race, then my wife would transport them to Key West, drive back to find me on the course and crew for me the rest of the race. The Keys 100 was the first race of my life. I ended up meeting a very nice guy from Florida named Issie who had run this race before.
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