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12 Hour Relay: Relentless Forward Progress

12 Hour Relay: Relentless Forward Progress jillconyers.com #ultrarunning #trailrunning   12 Hour Relay: Relentless Forward Progress jillconyers.com #ultrarunning #trailrunning

My first run 5 days after running the 12-hour relay with Chad. The days following the race I pretty much read (a lot), watched TV and napped. It was like my body didn’t give me a choice. I lounged for 3 days without giving it a second thought. That didn’t last long and the lounging around didn’t come as easily (or comfortably).

Thursday I went for a short 3-mile run. My legs felt wonderful and I even considered 4 or 5 miles. [Insert laughter] My body had a different opinion and it strongly disagreed with my legs. My legs and my energy level were at odds and the energy level won out with only a 3 mile run. I can’t believe I even thought about running on Tuesday.

5 Days Ago

Last year at this time I was training for a 50-miler so this was a training run and I was more prepared for the distance. This year I’ve been training for a PR instead of distance, I haven’t run further than 12 miles since August of last year due to an injury and I haven’t run more than a 5k on trails since November. I went into this race with one and only one goal,

RELENTLESS FORWARD PROGRESS!

Live from the heart. jillconyers.com #quote #oprah #starbucks #motivation #believe

My morning coffee and continuing my obsession with the Oprah-Starbucks sleeves. This is now my favorite and it set the tone for my day.

12 Hour Relay: Relentless Forward Progress jillconyers.com #ultrarunning #trailrunning

I say this every year but it’s true. One of my favorite parts of this race is runners village. Watching the teams of 8, individual runners and the teams of 2 is awe inspiring. From high school cross country teams to 60+ year old solo runners this group never fails to motivate, support and never give up. The photo is from set up the night before. Tents and canopies will fill a field that will be home sweet home for the day.

12 Hour Relay: Relentless Forward Progress jillconyers.com #ultrarunning #trailrunning 12 Hour Relay: Relentless Forward Progress jillconyers.com #ultrarunning #trailrunning

Thoughts from the day:

  • We could not have asked for better weather.
  • It was tough after about 8 hours. I dreaded the hills that made my quads burn and the stretch on the levee with zero shade, but there was never a moments doubt that I would run for 12 hours.
  • Traditionally, Chad makes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It’s the only time I eat PB&J sandwiches and they taste amazing! It’s almost surreal how much I enjoy them.
  • There were a few loops during the heat of the day that I talked to myself basically saying, “you can do this” and “giving up is not an option.”
  • As usual I got to the point of not wanting to eat but I feel like my nutrition was better than years past. I was better able to sustain energy.
  • I rolled my legs with The Stick after every leg.
  • We decided to run single loops from the beginning instead of starting with double loop legs. I’m not sure which I prefer.
  • I’m so much better at noticing early signs that my form is off and being able to adjust.
  • The last half hour of the race is 800m sprints. It is the most amazing feeling to dig deep and see what you have left after 11.5 hours of running, to watch other runners break records, hearing the cheers as each runner tags the next runner and watching each runner run faster than the last.
  • I highly recommend the Vega Recovery Accelerator! Even my husband noticed a difference in recovery.
  • Fearing the sore legs, the morning after I hesitated getting out of bed. After the initial stiffness was walked out I was fine! Seriously! Tired but only a little sore in my quads!

12 Hour Relay: Relentless Forward Progress jillconyers.com #ultrarunning #trailrunning

I still don’t have the words to describe how I felt after this race. I was so proud I thought I was going to burst! My mind and my heart didn’t agree from the beginning about whether or not I should even run it. My heart was right. I think about the amazing experience I would have missed out on if I hadn’t listened to my heart and decided not to run. Continuing the journey I have recently found myself on, this event was just as much about inner peace as it was outer strength.

12 Hour Relay: Relentless Forward Progress jillconyers.com #ultrarunning #trailrunning

We won! The whole event would have still been amazing had we not won but I have to admit the fact that we did totally rocks! A total of 58.8 miles with each of us running 29.4. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about the 63 miles we ran last year but only for the briefest of seconds. I reached my goal and I was injury free. For the win!

Nothing was going to steal the joy of this day from me! Not even myself.

Race Recap Race RecapRace Recap

Last and certainly not least, thank you to everyone for the amazing support and encouragement! It’s what I love best about the running community.

Do you think you would prefer to run single loop or double loop legs? When was the last time your heart and mind were at odds?

Be HEALTHY. Be HAPPY. Be YOU.

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33 Comments

  1. A little late, but congratulations!!!!! Sounds like an amazing experience. I love the camaraderie of the runners. Sounds amazing! I’m so happy for you!!!

  2. Congrats, Jill!! This is amazing! I’ve never thought about pushing my body that hard… it’s inspirational to read this!

  3. It’s great that you were able to run so far after only 12 mile long runs! The finishing sprints sound fun, but pretty hard to do after running for so many hours.

  4. WooHoo – I’ve been waiting for this post!!! I’m so happy for you – I’m glad that you listened to your heart and ran it. And – so happy that you are still injury free!!
    I think I would love the loops – single or double – just the fact that you see other runners more often than in a a race with few runners that is an out and back.

  5. Thats it. Im done. You ran for 8 hours straight.

    Freaking beast!

    *mudders something about being trained by this beast crazy woman ultramarathoner hopefully one day*

  6. Alright so I had no idea you were running for 12 hours straight. I’m not sure I could even stay awake for 12 hours straight. 😉

    You are incredible. Seriously incredible. What an inspiration. Please pat yourself on the back (not the quads in case they’re still sore) and celebrate the moment because you’re awesome.

  7. Great job on the race!!! I have never done a relay before, but I think I would prefer double loops at least early on, and then when I felt like I was dying, single loops would be better perhaps (at least mentally!).

    My heart and mind are at odds right now as I debate on what races to sign up for this year and the next. I would love to run more full marathons, but I’m just not sure if it works for this season of life. My heart loves 26.2, but my mind says I would be biting off more than I can chew 🙂 We’ll see!

  8. Oh man, my heart and mind are at odds during every single race;) Great job Jill!

  9. Congrats Jill! I know the mind-body balance is tough. I’ve been struggling with it so much coming back from my foot injury. It’s been harder than I imagined. I’m in love with Vega. I can’t wait to get my next box of goodies from them!

  10. Congrats! This sounds like an incredible race – trail running is my favorite.

  11. What an achievement! Congratulations! My head and heart are at odds over my marathoning, at least at times. And right now, my heart and head are just in knots about my running–every time I go out, I keep just waiting for something to hurt. But it makes me thankful for each and every run that I can get.
    And one thing that I am not at odds over–wearing flats to work for #flatsfriday and saving my feet for my runs!

  12. Amazing!!!! Way to go!!! My heart and mind are at odds over not racing….but I know it will be good in the end!!

  13. Wow, you are so inspiring, Jill! I’m glad to hear everything went well with fueling. I can’t fathom running that long in a day, so major props to you! Pretty sure after 10 miles my form goes to crap. Good to hear you took some much needed rest afterwards! Have a great weekend!

  14. Just amazing, Jill! What an awesome accomplishment! And a well earned few days of reading and napping. 🙂 So proud of you!

  15. Oh my gosh! Congratulations! So glad everything came together for you when you followed your heart!

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