31 miles. 5 deer encounters. 4 waves of thunderstorms. 1 incredible trail run! With World’s Toughest Mudder 5 weeks out, I decided to go ahead and complete the longest run of my training cycle one week before I would normally do it, because I have never completed a run beyond 26.2 miles.
I started the training run just as the first storm arrived at Lake Arcadia in Edmond, OK. It was a downpour from the start! Despite the lightning, the conditions could not have been better. The trails were extremely muddy and began to fill with a couple inches of water as time went on. Luckily, l was wearing my Inov-8 running shoes so I would not slip on the trails! The rain and lightning came to an end about 13 or 14 miles in, only to be followed by a much more powerful storm. I stopped and checked the weather and sure enough I was under a tornado watch with a possibility of hail and damaging winds.
At this point, I was at mile 19, and was contemplating whether or not to keep going, but I decided to press on anyway. It only took about 15 minutes until I realized I may have made a mistake! The rain was coming down hard and the winds started to pick up. A tree branch broke and fell 10 feet in front of me as I was running. The thunder was so loud it actually scared me a few times! It was at this point I had to stop again and seek some sort of shelter. I found a canopy about 1 mile ahead and got underneath it. The swirling winds had to be blowing at least 50-60 mph, the rain was coming down so hard I could barely see 20 feet in front of me, and there was bolts of lightning every minute or so that appeared to be very close!
After about 20 minutes, I started running again. At some parts of the trail, water was almost a foot deep! The skies finally cleared up at mile 24. As you could have probably guessed, I was met by the last wave of storms near the end of my run. Lightning was everywhere! I felt as if I was flying down the trail at the last part of run to avoid another downpour or worse! When I reached the 31 mile mark, to my surprise, my legs were not tired at all! I am pretty sure I could have ran at least 20 more miles with no issues!
“If you believe in yourself, have dedication and pride and never quit, you’ll be a winner. The price of victory is high, but so are the rewards.” – Paul Bryant
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