Going 50 Miles for 50

Going 50 Miles for 50

If you don't take risks, you'll have a wasted soul.  ~Drew Barrymore


Life is all about taking risks. It is all about the adventure in life. You only live once.  For this post, I interviewed one of my fellow coaches, Patrice Davies, who just took a huge risk in life athletically and it ended up with a very positive result.

Patrice completed the Des Plaines River Trail 50 Mile Ultramarathon on October 20th. Her motivation for signing up for this race was the challenge of turning 50 this year. She wanted to mark the event, which is in December with something a little out of the ordinary.

She came to me for some assistance with setting up a training program back in early August. I just recently put together my own Ultramarathon training program as part of my Master’s degree completion in Sport and Exercise Psychology and she knew about my personal knowledge. I was happy to help her out.

In a typical program for an Ultramarathon, you need at least 20 weeks for a training program – after you build a very solid base. Patrice only had 11 weeks to get the mileage and endurance in. This was a huge challenge especially for someone who has never done one before.  Unfortunately, she had procrastinated in registering for the race. Her other challenge was also mixing her own training in the midst of her coaching duties with Team In Training. She had to really motivate herself to get myself out the door on Sundays to attempt my own long runs.

On the morning of her race, Patrice had the feeling of "What am I thinking?" was the most dominating when her alarm went off at 3:45 a.m. She maintained also a strange feeling of doom and excitement all at the same time that morning.  By the time she reached Vernon Hills where the race took place, her feelings turned around and was convinced she could finish.

During the race, she was blessed that she faced no major challenges on the course. She felt that the toughest part of the race was actually within the first 26 miles of the 50 mile race. She believes that the problems were as result of some warming up issues. Unfortunately, she struggled with some instances of vertigo after mile 38, which caused problems with bending over to tie shoe strings.  As long as she was upright, she was fine. She felt blessed that her legs held up beautifully during the race. They went from being sore to feeling alright.

Patrice had a lot of things that were helping her stay motivated during the race. She stayed in the moment in order to keep going. The Des Plaines River Trail was also absolutely beautiful and she enjoyed the race’s scenery.  She also had a lot of friends who believed she could finish. She wanted to live up to that.  At mile 49, she remembered out loud all those that lost their lives to cancer, which was a great motivator.

Patrice had some good and some bad moments during the race. Her best moment was at mile 45.  She saw that she only 5 more miles to go and knew she would finish the race. During that positive moment, she was laughing and crying all at the same time. Her worst moment was right around mile 38 when the vertigo first appeared. She was adjusting her shoe and got dizzy.  She figured out quickly what it was and not something heart related or worse.

I asked her where she sees herself doing like this in the future. She’s sure that she’ll get the urge to try it again in the future or go out for a longer race. After her first marathon, she kept saying that she would only do this once and that was nine years ago. Now she has 17 marathons in total to date.

I asked Patrice if she has any future challenges that she wants to face in the future. She just wants to be able to run for a very long time and remain injury free. She also wants to become the best run/walk coach she can be and continue to inspire others.

With the article, it shows that age is just a number. You can do anything that you have your heart set upon yourself.

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