My first 100-mile week

August 19, 2008

August 11th through 17th was the first week in which I’ve ever run a full 100 miles.

There’s no great significance to this “milestone”; the numbers just happened to add up that way. And if anyone else out there is planning their first 100-mile week, I don’t especially recommend my approach, which was as follows:

Monday: Ran home from work via Capitol Hill, including the usual time-trial segment (10th & Roanoke to 14th & 15th) in 21:02, then the neighborhood loop with Lucy. 7.6 miles.

Tuesday: Ran home from work, then the neighborhood loop with Lucy. 6.7 miles.

Wednesday: Ran to work. 5.8 miles.

Thursday: Ran to work. Later, ran home, then the neighborhood loop with Lucy. 12.9 miles.

Friday: Ran home from work, then the neighborhood loop with Lucy. 6.6 miles.

Saturday: Slow, self-supported run around Lake Washington (starting and ending at home). 55 miles.

Sunday: Out and back on the Chief Sealth Trail with Phil in the baby jogger. 5.4 miles.

Or, to put it more succinctly: easy, easy, easy, easy, easy, hard, easy.

I did the Lake Washington loop (using a route recommended by TWBC.org) as a sort of feasibility study. I wanted to assess whether I might do well in a 24-hour race like Ultracentric. If I ran slowly enough, with regular walk breaks and copious food and fluids, could I finish the loop with the sense that I could do it again if necessary?

The answer on this particular Saturday was a resounding NO. Of course, it didn’t help that the temperature hit 90 degrees that day, but the long and the short of it is that I had a moment of clarity about eight hours into the run. I thought: “Not only has running — one of my all-time favorite activities — ceased to be pleasurable over the last couple of hours, but eating — one of my other all-time favorite activities — has ceased to be pleasurable as well. What exactly am I doing out here?”

I did finish the loop, but, three days later, I’m still hobbling around, a minute per mile slower than usual. This week’s mileage will probably be about 50.


  1. Your experience on Saturday reminds me of your posts on the subject of when running ceases to be a sport and becomes an absurd test of who is willing to endure the most discomfort for the longest time. I think it's healthy (in more ways than one) that your personal "absurdity threshold" is somewhere short of a 24-hour race.

  2. Reminds me its important to do things for fun and have fun doing them. Why I don't think I'll do a marathon. I know I can do it, I've hiked more miles than 26 in a day (and enjoyed them) and I've run 22 miles, but by the end it wasn't fun and so why bother? 🙂

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