My biggest motivation to stay in training for the marathon comes from my colleague Jim here at Eastbay. Jim has run over 80 marathons in his lifetime, including about a dozen 50 mile ultra-marathons, and five 100 mile races. 100 miles. I can’t even imagine running that far.
For a 100 mile race, Jim says that the runners start early in the morning when it’s still dark, run all day, through the night, and into the next morning. The participants need to finish within about 30 hours. Obviously, it is necessary to have power bars, energy drinks, and/or GU with you when doing one of these races; still, running for 30 hours without sleep sounds almost impossible. I’m interested to find out how fast the effects of the GU kick in when doing longer runs further along in my training.
Jim only finished one of the 100 mile races, but he says that crossing the finish line of that race was his greatest accomplishment. Whenever I’m feeling tired and don’t want to work out, the thought of Jim running 100 miles always gets me up and running.
Jim began running when he was in his 20’s and kept it up for many years. He said that when he began training for his first marathon he only planned on finishing the one, but he loved the feeling so much that he kept it up. Jim and his friends who he ran with formed exclusive club of elite runners called “Bucky’s Pride” for the Wisconsin state mascot Bucky. Part of the joy of running marathons is the companionship you develop with fellow runners, which is why I’m so excited to be running the marathon with friends.
Jim has run races all over the country, including the Boston Marathon twice and the Chicago Marathon that I plan to run! I hope that my training prepares me well for the Chicago Marathon so that I have a great experience that will inspire me to continue running marathons.
Below is a picture of Jim running the Leadville Trail 100 mile race in Colorado. The starting point is way in the background of the picture, back down the mountain. At this point of the race he is at the 40-mile point at the top of Hope Pass, about 12,600 feet above sea level. Obviously, running at this elevation makes breathing more difficult, and this specific climb in the trail must be completed twice on the out-and back course. Check out Jim’s Eastbay T-shirt!