Today’s guest is a lady that I’ve had the pleasure of coaching and recently also got to pace her for her first 100-mile race!
When she sets her mind to something she gets it done which is why she chose to do 100 miles as her first-ever race of any distance.
I am looking forward to going a few easy miles with Ana Robbins and finding out what kind of person signs up to run a hundred miler less than a year after she started running.
Forming A New Habit
Ana Robbins’ one-year anniversary with running was on August 31, 2021.
A mere one year earlier she was unable to run half a mile.
When just starting out, Ana followed the Couch to 5k program.
She began to enjoy running so much that she skipped ahead in the program and began increasing her mileage.
When Ana commits to things she has a personality that tends to go all in.
Running was no different and that is how she “accidentally” ran her first marathon.
The “Accidental” Marathon
Ana is not much of a planner and that is how she accidentally ran her first marathon.
In early 2021 during her workday, Ana found that she had some time for a 7-mile run.
When her schedule unexpectedly opened up, she decided to continue her run.
Without proper nutrition or water, she completed her first marathon while fasted.
The experience went so well that it got her wondering about how much further she was capable of running.
Ana recognized how little she knew about the sport and enlisted Denny Krahe to be her coach.
Pick One Thing And Focus On That
When Ana chooses to focus on something she does a deep dive into all the information she can find about the topic.
Ana had no lack of running resources to research what her next goal would be.
It quickly became apparent that 100 miles was the only distance she would consider doing to celebrate her one-year runniversary.
She found one of the few 100-mile races that was taking place in August.
As luck would have it the race was conveniently located near a cabin that she and her husband had recently purchased.
A little over a month out from the race, Ana decided to do a trial hike on a portion of the race course.
The difficulty of the trail convinced Ana that she needed to spend all of her remaining runs on the course if she had any hopes of finishing.
Getting Comfortable Being Uncomfortable
Ana had one priority going into the race and that was finishing.
She spent the last few weeks leading up to the race on the trails both day and night.
Her last long run, which was also her first overnight run, was less than ideal.
Her headlamp battery died, she got lost and ran out of food and water.
The experience may have shaken the nerves of other athletes, but not Ana.
Ana gained confidence that if she could make it through that experience, she could handle anything thrown her way.
Zero To 100
Ana went into race day with all the confidence needed to complete 100 miles.
Pacers weren’t allowed to be picked up until the runner had completed 40 miles.
Ana was used to running her long runs self-supported, so the addition of aid stations during the race were a bonus.
Her first 40 miles went as well as she could have hoped for.
Denny was able to join her as a pacer at that point and they continued on.
With any ultra, there are often highs and lows during the race and Ana was no exception.
She experienced her lowest point of the run around 60 miles in just as the weather was beginning to take a turn for the worst.
Earning That Buckle
Rain fell hard from the sky as they battled deteriorating trail conditions along with the darkness.
Ana hiked when she had to and ran when she could.
Her strategy paid off and she was able to make every cutoff in the race.
At mile 90, she was wet, tired, and cold, but knew the finish line was within her grasp.
Ana crossed the finish of her first 100-mile race and earned that coveted buckle.
In the days following the race, Ana realized that she hadn’t done any research into recovery after an ultra.
Dramatic swelling of her feet came as a surprise, but she was able to quickly acquire knowledge with the help of the local running store.
The Possibilities Are Endless
As of this moment, Ana is still unsure as to what her next big goal will be.
She is hoping to ride the momentum from this moment and keep building on all of the endurance she has worked so hard to gain.
Another ultra isn’t out of the question or she may pivot entirely and focus on an IronMan.
Ana set out to run 100 miles as a way to do something that takes a dedicated effort for a prolonged period of time.
The 100 club is small and now Ana will forever be a part of it.
In the past year since becoming a runner, Ana is a happier and more disciplined person.
Mentioned In This Episode:
- Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones; Book by James Clear
- Baby Dragon Ultra
Stay connected with Ana Robbins by following her on Strava.
Ana Robbins shunned conventional wisdom when she signed up to run a 100 mile race as her first race on her one year anniversary of running. She survived to tell the tale and why she would do it all over again. Click To Tweet
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