How do you run 64 miles?

My stride is short. I do 2400 per mile compared to the average 2000 per mile. I have to work. Running is the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I love it because of that.

It was the L.O.S.T. weekend, Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail run weekend. We biked it two weeks ago, and I ran 22 + at Whispering Pines on Day???, then got up Saturday at 3:15 AM, with cooler and backpack packed, ready to relay the 118 miles around the lake.  So, here’s where I need to clarify something: there is construction going on on the south side of the lake. Two years ago, we almost got put in jail because it’s a felony to enter a construction site without permission even if you’re just running through. So, until they are finished, we run back and forth rather than around.

That’s good and bad. The rocks teach you something. Without construction, you only have 28 miles of rocky trail. With it, you have double it. Grrrrr. Your legs have to work hard, really hard. Trip, fall. Trip and trip again. In daylight, it is not so bad, but after nightfall you not only have rocks but snakes and critters to embrace.

It’s a very good run. Everyone I run with is seasoned, meaning they have done hundreds of long runs. I’m a newbie; this is my first 64 miles and I love it. We started at 7 AM, Saturday and finished by 11:20 AM, Sunday. Some people ran it alone, like Bob from NY. I had it easy. I ran it as a relay with friends in teams of two.

It’s beautiful on the levy. The big, blue sky; the sounds of day and night; the gossamer moon, and the sun and clouds; our bodies react to the environment as much as the run.

I’ve biked it three years in a row now, and ran 46 unexpected miles last year as a companion, not a registered runner; I’ve got experience. But still, the doubts crept in. How did I do so well last year? Can I do it again, or even better? My goal for this year was 60 miles. And I did it and more.

Coming into transition area 60, Jerry, on the other relay team, announced his partner was done. As in “had her flip flops on” done. By rule, two needed to cross the finish line together, and it was either going to be Jim or me finishing with him. Well, I know Jim had a hip that was really bothering him, (not to mention my feet looked like hamburger) so in less than a second I said I’d do it. If I didn’t commit that quickly, I’d be in the truck with my shoes off. So, off I go to do the last four miles and I’m so glad I did. Those four miles I’m the most proud of; I did them after I was done.

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