Masters Running


150 Miles anyone? (Read 19 times)

MM#209 / JapanJoyful#803

    Actually, it’s not an April Fool’s Day joke but seemed like a good idea at the time as an event with enough time (56 hours) to reach the 100-miles I once thought I could do anyway when I could but which never happened until it's too late now.. 
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    I. SUMMARY - 100 miles in 150 miles.
    After belatedly discovering in 2007 after 30 years of running annual marathons that, by pretty much walking up every hill in sight, even regular fitness runners can meet the cutoff times in ultras up to 50-miles and even 100K, I used to think about 100 miles sometime too.  Unfortunately, circumstances and events never let it happen. Now the aging process is putting even the most generous 32-hour cut-offs for some centuries out of reach.  Nevertheless, though it would be unofficial, the 56-hour cutoff in an upcoming 150-miler might provide a chance for the elusive 100 miles, after all. 
    5/24-26/2013 tetsujin - Pigtails 150-mile Challenge Run (Seattle, Washington) - thongs
    © Queen Ilene (Intrepid Race Schedule)
    Unfortunately, my huge training plans for this year have fizzled with only five 4-mile runs so far this year and, after a marathon on January 12,  I DNS'd a planned 12-hour run, two 50K’s, two marathons and a half mary..  Even being in town for the scheduled Pigtails 100/150/200 Challenge in May is subject to change but, ifnot,  wish me luck, even though I’ll probably have to walk every step of the way.
    For my future reference, below is my justification for doing something that most everyone, even me, might not think is that good of an idea. Doesn't matter though as at least trying is better than not so don't try to talk me out ot it.  
    barefoot jon and Paul Piplani at start of 2008 Light-at-the-end-of-the-Tunnel Marathon.

    Light at End of the Tunnel Marathon Paul Piplani by you.


    Ultra-runner Paul Piplani was somewhat of a modern-day marathon mendicant flying all over the country on a shoestring budget, if that, wearing a threadbare singlet, worn-out shoes lightly touching down, all-night driving, sleeping in the back seat or on a park bench or the floor of someone’s office, subsisting on a diet of bread and beans (even when we went to restaurants), blessing other runners for their efforts,, mentoring newbies (and oldies too), etc.  Yet he often put change in the cups of the needy, usually with the same cheery blessings  for them that ended his e-mails too.
    Paul Piplani helping a collapsing runner finish her first marathon.
    San Diego Rock’n’Roll Marathon (May 31, 2009)
    Unfortunately, it was Paul’s last marathon.

    With his easy-going, non-competitive, weekly and more marathons, wry jokes to unsuspecting spectators (“may I have a puff too?&rdquoWink, to say nothing of never having to train, I knew Paul was my kind of runner right away as our paltry paces joined us up up one of the early grades in the May 2007 Capital City Marathon in Olympia, Washington.


    By then, after entering the Pike’s Peak Marathon on a whim with a friend in 1993 to get away from some hard times in his life on a journey of personal discovery, Paul’d run the 26.2 mile marathon distance he loved some 750 times in official events all over the country. His fastest was a 3:22.  More than a dozen were at the Pikes Peak up-and-back marathon but most came in ultras of multiple 26.2 miles. 

    It didn’t matter that most of the running community would count the two marathon distances (52.4 miles) he might run in a 12 hour time run as a single event.  For Paul, as long as it was in an official event, 26.2 miles was a clear call that could not be denied.  Though religion wasn’t a part of his public persona as much as for some runners, e.g Jim Ryun, Paul said his beliefs made sure he never ran alone even though he was by himself most of the time. 
    With his shoes barely leaving the surface and lightly touching down, his almost shuffling pace seemed like it could go on forever.  He didn’t brag about anything but I could tell it had meant a lot to him when Catherine Ndereba told him that, while his five-and-six hour marathons, double/triple/ quadzilla/etc. weekends might be slow, his persevering the best he could under all the circumstances of the days (and night) he ran was the same full effort for him as she felt she was giving in her two-and-a-half hour marathons.
    Paul was closing in on 1,000 marathon distances when he died in August 2009 from a sudden cancer. By then, the dozen marathons and ultras we’d run together when he’d be up in the Pacific Northwest from his Phoenix base had included my first 12 hour run and a double ultra/mary weekend.  Both were on last minute whims and against all logic for a fitness runner who doesn’t train that much, if any.  However, Paul had assured me that multiple mary’s and super-ultras were mostly mental anyway. He was right.


    For example, two months after Paul’s passing, I was able to do the morning marathon in Tokyo we had discussed and then, after flying back across the International Date Line, add another 26.2 mile distance within a completely Paul-like 12-hour run in Seattle on the same day.
    Unfortunately, when Paul died, his promise to pace me to my own century distance sometime died too.


    Last October, I was wistfully drifting back to those days with Paul while looping around-and-around the hilly 1.93 mile park perimeter of the Carkeek 12-hour Fun Run. 
    It was hard not to reminisce. Two months after Paul died in 2009, Carkeek had not only been the U.S. part of our planned two-continent daily double but it had served as the required event for my virtual entry in the Paul Piplani Memorial Marathon being held in California that weekend (and simultaneously in virtual by Paul’s friend’s all over the country in other events).
    However, what a difference three years of Father Time can make at this stage. I barely reached 50K (31.1mi) in Carkeek’s allotted 12 hours this time and had a new PB PW of 10hr/15mi to the marathon mark.  Even if that pace could be sustained for 100 miles (NOT), one hundred miles would take almost 40 hours. 
    Then, all-of-a-sudden, out of the Carkeek drizzle and rain emerged a lively masters newbie (1yr/2mo into her running career) easily lapping me three or four times like a cheery energizer bunny. It’s not like me at all but I may have inadvertently puffed up my 37 years of running marathons somewhat as Bunny all-of-a-sudden, and quite seriously, asked if I was running a new 100-miler coming up around nearby Lake Youngs in May. To my utter surprise, my macho-motor-mouth responded with what my heart must have still been wishing all these years: “oh yeah, see you there, Bunny.” 
    D.  WHOOPS.
    As she slipped out-of-sight, it dawned on me that Lake Youngs was the very venue of last May’s  inaugural Pigtails 100/150/200 Mile Challenge Runs that had me shaking my head in disbelief when the always effervescent Italiano dea francesca was regaling me about the two-day, 150 mile option being so enjoyable that she might try the three-day 200 miler this year.
    Whoops again.  Having run several mini-ultras there at Lake Youngs (from 28.8mi - 50K), including with Paul on our double ultra/mary weekend in June 2008 (that I had thought had had the usually rational Dove slipping over to the dark side when she posted in ilene’s intrepid about doing both), I quickly realized that the ten-plus laps needed for 100 miles would include close to 10,000 feet of weary, wearing, if not nearly impossible, ascents (and pounding descents too). 
    Triple whoops.  More sobering was the reality that, by then, I’d be in a new AG so old (70-74) I never thought I’d live to be in let alone run in. My brain was reeling over fessing up to something I knew I couldn’t do or accepting the inevitable DNF.
    Then, all at once, I recalled a glorious idea discussed with Paul in those days: find a two-day, 48-hour event to have ample time for 100 miles even at a leisurely Sunday walk-in-the-park pace. 
    Not quite the same as a fixed-time 48-hour event run but maybe I could enter the otherwise impossible 150 mile option and use its generous 56 hour cutoff at least to try for 100 miles.  Unfortunately, unlike a purely timed run in which any distance is a legitimate finish, only one hundred miles in the 150-mile option would be an automatic DQ. 
    It wouldn’t be on the same terms of success that Paul had guaranteed me in an official century run with him.  However, it’d still be 100 miles to me, .. . or, better yet, 104.8 miles for four of his unique marathon distances. I’d like that.  Actually, in light of all my missed running so far this year, even it it only turns out to be 26.2 miles, I'd like that too.
    Maybe Paul’s still dispensing his blessings after all.

    Henry the Great: "I'm going to keep running as long as I can."  Me too, I hope.

    T. Igarashi (summiting Mt. Fuji at age 100): "Enjoy yourself. Your younger days never come again."


      Ohhh, I remember meeting Paul at the Let's Climb the Mt. relay where the three of us took a picture with my huge butterfly wings (I need to search for those fotos). I also ran with Paul the Chelan marathon, which led me to be a Marathon Maniac when i ran Portland two weeks later.


      I think you can do it! We will cheer you on (but please don't talk my son into doing it with you wearing his Chacos Big grin)

      "Champions are everywhereall you need is to train them properly..." ~Arthur Lydiard

        Maybe it is in the details somewhere, but can you state, WHEN and WHERE, and I will try to be there for your 100th mile.

        It is all mental, and some blisters.

        "During a marathon, I run about two-thirds of the time. That's plenty." - Margaret Davis, 85 Ed Whitlock regarding his 2:54:48 marathon at age 73, "That was a good day. It was never a struggle."