This is a report of my weekend of running. I don't share this in any way to brag about myself. I'm only sharing it so it can be proof that Eric knows what he's doing, and that it might encourage someone else to do something more than they ever thought was possible.

Last year, I was just a person who had only been running for a year after smoking for 17 years. I finished a marathon and felt like I wanted more. I then found out there's people out there called ultrarunners. An ultrarunner is someone who runs more than 26.2 miles and they have 50, 100, and beyond mile races. Hearing this, I began to do research and try and fint people that did this sort of stuff.

I can remember the first person I read about. He was a local runner from a local Austin runner's group and he had completed many 100 milers. His email address was given to me so I could contact him. Among all the advice and information he emailed me back with, the biggest thing that stuck in my head was he could actually go out for a 50 - 55 mile training run, in one day, then run the next, and keep on training. This was crazy to me. It's one thing to do 50 miles, but then you're supposed to take a couple months off from running so you can recover, aren't you? Apparently all the advice that marathoners had passed off to me about taking time off after a 26.2 mile race, didn't seem to apply to these men, and ladies of steel. I also had lunch with a guy who actually did a 10 mile run the next day after completing a 100 mile race in 19 hours. How is this possible???

I began to dable into this world without any real training. I lucked through a 100k, barely, and figured if I can do 62, then what's another 38 miles. So I tried a 100 miler in February, but my body shut down and I couldn't move 1 inch after mile 76. I was on crutches for a week and I missed work because I couldn't get in my truck and drive. I figured if I really want to do this, I need to get smart and find someone with the right knowledge to get me there.

I came across Eric Orton, and got his 100 mile plan. After emailing him a few times back and forth, I was pretty confident that he was the right person for me. I remembered looking through the training plan and seeing that 50 miler to be done in one day, then have a 1:30 run the next day, then only have 1 day off, then go right back into a week of training. I looked at this and thought, wow, would I be able to make it that far and survive that weekend!!!

With great news, I can say that I made it through it. Because this was such a big run, my wife was going to crew me. I had prepared ice chests of everything they have at a 100 mile aid station, and she would drive and wait at every 5 mile point. Knowing that she was going to be there and help me through it made the day less scary.

I began my run at 4:00am, and told her that I would be fine until 8:30am. She was going to come meet me at 8:30am and we'd be off. At 8:30am, she wasn't there so I borrowed a phone from someone and called her. My daughter was very sick and my wife wasn't feeling well either. Panic came over me and I realized that I wouldn't get crewed and I was going to have to finish this by myself. I almost wanted to quit and give up, but I took a deep breath and said, I'll be fine. I can do this. I'll be home around 2:00pm. I saw this as just something out of my control and I could either give up, or I could keep moving forward. I've come this far, and I'm not a quitter. This was just an obstacle that I'd have to overcome. In these long distance races, there's so much stuff that comes up, that you didn't plan for, and you need to be ready to adjust and get the job done.

I lef where I was at to complete 30 miles. The actual run was uneventful. I used convenient stores to get ice and water from, and for that 30 miles, I carried 2 PBJ, 8 ounces of Hammer gel, and 1 Red Bull. I also stopped along the way and got a Starbucks coffee. I was under nutritioned for this, but I still made it. My body held up, and there was no aches or pains. I was getting sore and tired at about mile 42, but I'm sure this is to be expected, especially since I wasn't eating right. My marathon coach actually found me at mile 48, he didn't know the route I was running, and he had been out looking for me for over an hour. He ran me in the last 2 miles, which was great and needed.

I felt great afterwards. I went home, showered, then went to a surprise party and amazingly felt great. I even woke up this morning, a little sore, but felt fine after a little stretching, and ran for an hour and a half. This morning's run was difficult, mentally for me, because I was feeling really tired, but I made it through it. I then realized that after all of this, I can still walk, I even went grocery shopping today for my wife since she's still sick, and while I'm ready for a recovery day tomorrow, I'm physically in shape to do another week of training.

I'm now just like that guy I received an email from last year. Me being able to do this, to me, speaks volumes about Eric's training plan, and his philosophies. Besides his training, I was also able to do this because I have a great group of friends and runners that support me and keep me encouraged. I also believe that my running is a gift given to me from God.

By the way, did I mention that it was on this day, two years ago in 2007, when I went out for my very first run and did 1.5 miles.

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Comment by Thomas Orf on September 20, 2009 at 12:06pm
Sorry I haven't been communicating lately. I haven't been getting on the computer the past couple weeks due to being busy with work and home life.

Thanks you Eric and everyone else for your nice words. You all are a great group of people.
Comment by David Szymanski on September 9, 2009 at 7:55am
Thomas - I'm really glad you shared this. Your experiences, including all the details, are so helpful for the rest of us. Thanks, man! David
Comment by Eric Orton on September 7, 2009 at 11:47pm
Hey Thomas - Thanks for sharing this and inspiring us ALL. Sounds like you had a great day "digging dirt'!? But that would not have been possible if you had not been digging dirt day after day...awesome job. I tell my athletes, the hardest part about running a 100 mile race is getting to the START line (I think you know what I mean)! You are ready! Days like this will be what you reflect on during the big day AND during the rest of your life when you look back on this time. Sometimes it is days like this we remember most, even more than the race. Be sure to always thank those who are supporting you and do not under estimate how involved they feel towards what you are doing. Remember this race day...they lived YOUR training also.

I also appreciate your kind words regarding my training, but always remember that a training program is only as good as the dedication that went into it. Keep us posted as to how your Peak phase is going and let me know if you have questions leading up to the race...when you are feeling like you are doing NOTHING and losing all your fitness - recovery my friend, you are now ready - E
Comment by J-F lemay on September 7, 2009 at 10:34am
That is exactly the kind of storie I needed to hear about!!! Your are my friend another living-proof that IT IS DOABLE ! thank's for sharing
Comment by eric p mccarty on September 7, 2009 at 8:48am
This is awesome Thomas and very inspirational!
Thanks for sharing.
Comment by Shawna Kennedy on September 6, 2009 at 7:49pm
Thanks for sharing this Thomas. I started running in June with a goal of eventually being able to run for hours just for the enjoyment of it, and used Eric's Beginner course to get me going. Stories like this are very encouraging.

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