UltraMarathon Training Update

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So ultra training is going very well. This Sunday Beach Runners Sandy, Sindy, and I ran the real Palos Verdes Marathon—linking up the Palos Verdes Drives: Palos Verdes Drive East, West, South, and North. I figure this route is a difficult 21 miles and we added in some extra miles to make it a marathon.

I have been running with both of these girls quite a bit this year and am very proud of their running progress. They both ran their first marathon this year in Catalina, which is one of the hardest marathons in the world. They both attend yoga classes, they practice good nutrition, and they run on trails whenever possible. In other words, they follow our warrior training program. So after finishing Catalina, they both followed Steve and my advice and immediately decided to do another race. An ultramarathon.

I love athletes like this. They don’t think in terms of limitations. They think in realms of possibilities. Of taking chances. It’s the beauty of a beginners mind. You don’t know anything other than to trust your body and your coaches.
So Sindy had a bad case of food poisoning from eating Sushi the night before this long run. (There’s a lesson here). Yet still came out and ran for five hours having to turn around at a point on the course. I commended her on this courage. Sometimes we have our best runs when we are not feeling well. That’s when we feel adversity. And from adversity we grow stronger in our characters.

Meanwhile Sandy and I were going to finish no matter what. We ran for hours and hours with views of Catalina, then the South Bay beaches, then the Eucalyptus groves of PV Drive North. Sandy had to walk sections to give some variety to the muscles in her legs (another lesson here). We ate lots of food while running. Then we started PV Drive East. PV Drive East is a four mile uphill. Imagine that after a hard 20 previous miles.

I loved it. I focused on my ChiRunning form and started deep yogic breathing. And I flew up that hill. I loved every step of that hill. I’ve been doing a lot of research on the mental aspects of running lately. I’m finding out some secrets that I applied on that hill to calm my mind and focus on the task at hand. It’s hard to describe but when you can get your mind in the right rhythm with your body, running becomes ecstatic. More on that later.

Needless to say, I pulled ahead of Sandy on these sections. And instead of waiting at the top, I just ran back to make sure she was okay. She was running real smart. Running a little. Walking a little. Listening to her body. But being the tough woman she is, she made it to the top of that hill.

Once we started our downhill something really clicked for me.

All the ChiRunning, all the mental realignment, all the breath work, came together. I began running effortlessly with such emotional joy. Everything I’ve learned from Danny Dreyer and my yoga teachers just came together for a couple of fast downhill miles. At mile 24 of a 26 mile training run!!! Reaching the bottom I ran back up to make sure Sandy was progressing along as she was getting a little fatigued (imagine that). But she kept on going.

So it took us six hours. Longest training run of both our lives. Six hour training run. Neither of us were sore when we finished. Tired but not sore. Thats the beauty of MaraYoga.

To finish off, Sandy and I met Sindy back at the parking lot then went for recovery drinks at the local juice bar.

I’m excited. I felt I could have run for another 20 miles. Sandy emailed me and said she felt great that night, but has more to learn on the mental side of running. Sindy was proud of her courage to keep going despite not feeling well.

We have three weeks of tapering before the Ultramarathon in Big Bear. I’m very confident that Sandy and Sindy will finish. I signed Steve up to do it also. Not sure if he’s training for it, but he is in such amazing shape, he should be able to complete it. I think it will be a good test of his ChiRunning.

Take care,
Gary

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