BY NIKKI HEIMANN - Sally Van Nuland, manager of Dolphin Cove (traditionally, The Pink Pony), proved once again that she can endure the unimaginable – she ran a total of 50 miles nonstop for 11 hours this past weekend.
The Croom Fools 50 mile run started promptly at 6 a.m. in the city of Brooksville – about an hour north of Tampa. Around 250 people were able to enjoy a beautiful and challenging course that followed three repeat loops on the Croom Hiking Trail through central Florida’s Withlacoochee State Forest. Nature is alive out in this forest – pine trees and scrub oaks cover the hills and runners passed by creek bottoms and cypress ponds. Participants wore headlights and used stamina and encouragement in order to navigate routes, avoids fallen trees, and jump over stumps and roots for so many hours.
Sally has run in many races for the past few years. She’s participated in Tough Mudder obstacle courses and GORUCK challenges – 12 hours and 24 hours in duration. With all of this previous experience,
Sally was prepared physically and mentally to conquer the 50-miler.
She preferred to run with no music; mingling with fellow runners along the way or just hearing the beating of her heart in her ears was enough to pump up her adrenaline. She kept herself focused, interested and attentive while running for practically half a day.
Sally finished the 50-mile run as 15th female and 68th overall in a matter of 11 hours and 15 minutes.
Afterwards she admitted, “Running 50 miles is completely different than the format of GORUCKS, and the Tough Mudders were not very challenging. It was a slow run, and I began to lose sanity around mile 42, but I just kept telling myself that quitting is not an option, always move forward no matter how painful or slow.” She even had a slip up at mile 49 – rolling down a small hill after tripping on a root.
“My back was covered in sand and dirt and I was crying like a little kid because I didn’t think I was going to finish, but I got up and ran as fast as I could to the finish line,” she said.
If you think Sally’s been vigorously training for this run for months in advance, guess again. She did no more than her normal workout routine and jogs around the neighborhood. She didn’t even supplement her body with much more than water, and loaded up on carbs before the race,
“I drank tons of coconut water and regular water,” Sally said. “There were four water stations per lap, and there was one three-mile loop and three 16-mile loops. At every water station my boyfriend John would be there to make sure I had plenty of water and snacks so I could keep moving. I ate M&M’s, Hershey’s bars and Gews, and a couple nights before I had pasta. I didn’t have a real meal until after the race.”
Just to amaze you further, this is some interesting information on what Sally does on her Saturday mornings. She has run a race every single weekend since January 1 (one weekend she ran two), completed one 50K (31.07 miles), two half-marathons, three 8Ks, two four-milers, six 5Ks and now the 50-miler. This is a total of 15 races in 14 weeks.
Sally’s unlocked a powerful part of her mind that is allowing her to mentally and physically endure challenges most people would never think they had the ability to do. Running is her passion and has led to her donating lots of money to various organizations through registration. She is considering doing a 100-mile run in the near future.View More images >>
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