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Female Athlete Friday - Tammy Hellings

2nd Overall Finisher Of The Country Mile I recently finished 2nd overall at The Country Mile 48 Hour with 151.9 miles. This was my second 48hr having run The Endless Mile in 2019 with 137.8 miles.

My goal for this race was to reach a new personal record distance while hopefully reaching 150 miles.  I have written plans but always know that adjustments will be made. The planning process gives me the data to prove that it is possible to reach my race goal. It also makes it easier to do ultra math when I am exhausted. A few of the changes I made to my original plan were a few extra 15 minute naps and moving up my larger 4 hour sleep time.

My main focus between my prior 48 and this latest one to work on a different sleeping strategy.  In 2019, I slept for 3 one hour stints.  While I felt fine, I ran out of energy very quickly after each nap.  Going into the race this year, I was planning to get a nice solid 4 hours after running 32 hours and then be able to stay up and continue the final 12 hours filled with vigor.  Of course it didn't happen that way! 

The Country Mile starts late in the day, 6pm on Friday.  So going into the race, you already had a full day (even if it was lazy).  During the night hours that first night, I had to take 2 15-minute naps because I was getting a "drunk walk" and weaving across the trail.  I was able to fall asleep very easily and woke up some what refreshed each time.  As soon as the sun rose, I was a different runner.  I was filled with energy and picked up any lost time during the night. 

For the second night of the race, I was supposed to have a 4 hour nap starting around midnight, after completing approximately 115 miles.  I ended up having the "drunk walk" again much earlier than my anticipated nap time.  I decided to take my 4 hour nap early and also care for my feet.  Despite the 4 hour nap, fatigue hit again after only 6 miles.   I really wanted to wait for the sun to come knowing that would fuel me more than any nap.  My tiredness won and I took one final 15 minute nap.  After that nap, the sun was shortly due and fueled me for the final 11 hours and completing over 150 miles.

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