Run, Recover, Repeat- Ryan O'Shea's Journey to 100 Miles

Run, Recover, Repeat- Ryan O'Shea's Journey to 100 Miles

July 06, 2018

Around 7.5 hours into Wascally Wabbit, I finally found that dark moment in my mind. I had been battling nausea for the past 30 minutes or so (my watch had died by this time) and I remember shouting up to Nathaniel “Why the %$@# would anyone do 100 miles?”. I think he just kind of chuckled and kept going.

My journey to attempt a 100 miles actually began after the Maritime Race Weekend in September. It had been one of my best marathons, but at the same time I felt that I had really plateaued. I knew it was time to try a new challenge. I spoke with Nathaniel, and he recommended Vermont 100. After almost missing the registration, I did make it on to the wait list, and eventually got into the race. Now it was time to train.

Over the winter, I focused on building my speed on the treadmill, and I was feeling really fit all winter. Unfortunately, a sliding mishap resulted in a rib cartilage injury which interrupted my training cycle. As soon as I was diagnosed, I went straight to Dan Pike at The Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy and he hooked me up with an anti-inflammatory cream. Almost immediately it began to take effect, and it definitely shortened my recovery time. While I couldn’t get as fit as I wanted for the Fredericton Marathon, I was able to start raining serious again in preparation for the Vermont 100 mile race.

The Fredericton Marathon turned out to be just the beginning of my training preparation. It began my run, recover, repeat process to get my legs ready for 100 miles. My weekend runs in successive weeks have been: 2:48 marathon, 31km of hill repeats on Carriage Hill, 4 ascents of Mount Champlain, an easy 36km up a 12km hill, a 82.5km trail run at Wascally Wabbit, followed by a 60km run in 5 hours up, around, and through Odell Park. Add in a 36-48 minute hilly tempo and some speed work each week, and needless to say my legs have been tested. This is where Liv9 Nutrition has come in. Their products I had been using for marathon training had been perfect, but the longer workouts and increased mileage were putting new strains on my body. After a lackluster tempo run, I went straight to Dan again. He gave me a new custom formula, and it kicked in right away. The next tempo run the lactic acid was gone and my energy levels were back up.

Back to Wascally Wabbit…

Prior to my dark moment, I really had no idea what I was getting into with my first Ultra race. I was lucky to room with Ultra vets Nathaniel, Josh Dick, and Bernie Doucet, and they gave me great advice for the race. The race started at a very gentle pace, and Nath had warned me that the pace will feel too easy the first lap, just right the second lap, and really tough the final lap. Of course he was right. The first and second laps Nath and I ran together though the second lap was much quieter. We ran really well and we were under course record pace. I was still feeling ok starting the third lap, but Nath was overheating a bit. I slowed to wait for him for a while but then he told me to keep going. Fifteen minutes after I stranded him in the woods, nausea hit, and Nath quickly caught up to me. This time it was him slowing for me. My legs were feeling good, but my stomach was in knots (I have now worked on this nutrition piece). It was around this time that I questioned the sanity of running 100 miles. Nath gave me a Tums, and I told him to keep going, that I would be able to make it. Sure enough, 10 minutes after he took off, my stomach recovered and I was able to keep going. In fact, I was able to run quite strong the last hour of the race.

After the race, I took a double dose of the recovery blend, and it definitely worked. The next night my legs were in great shape (I could even jump) and they were good enough to coach my daughter’s U4 soccer team. While life restricted my running that week, I had tons of energy and was ready to roll for the next long run.

With a couple weeks to go before the 100 miler, my legs are definitely tired, but they are good to go. I had my best tempo session of the cycle this past Tuesday, and I am looking forward to one more big week of training before the taper.

Run, recover, repeat.