Last month I was chatting with some family members who had mentioned the Burning River Endurance Run was going on that day. Our conversation was like this...

Me: "How long is that?"

Someone else: "A hundred miles, I think."

Me: "Oh, it's a bike race?"

Someone else: "No, I think they actually run."

Me: "Oh, like, they run awhile, camp for the night, get up and run some more? Like all week?"

Someone else: "I'm not sure but I think they're supposed to do it in one day."

Me: "Oh, like a team relay?"

Someone else: "Not sure, but I really think each person has to run the hundred miles by themselves."

Me: "I really don't understand what you're saying."

I don't think I actually fully accepted the idea of one person running 100 miles nonstop until last week when I was chatting with Akron Marathon Race Director Brian Polen. He ran in that race. Covered 100 miles in 17:39:30. That's a 10:22 pace.


And, among 197 men, he placed third. THIRD!

I guess I shouldn't be surprised. On the day I met with him, he'd just run a complete marathon to start his work day. Yup, some 26 miles just so he could review the Akron Marathon race course from the perspective of a runner so he could answer runners' questions, or tweak the course (he did decide to move a fluid station), or alert the city if some undiscovered pothole needed a fix.

It was the third time he ran the whole course this summer as an information-gathering exercise. But now that I know he can knock out 100 miles in less than 18 hours, well, clearly this is a guy who eats marathons for breakfast.

I asked him how long it took to recover from that endurance run and he quipped that he was still recovering. But then he said another thing that blew me away. The day after spending nearly 18 hours running, the first thing he did the next day was get up and run. He said he did it to help eliminate some of the lactate acid that had built up in his legs. Sounds like a blog topic to me, so as soon as he's got a spare minute, I'm going to ask him to share with us what lactate acid is so we recognize it and know how to deal with it - especially for our runners who are tackling that half marathon.

Brian chatted about his run on Facebook: "My race day was amazing and without much drama. No real crashes, no big wipeouts to brag about (actually never went down), no epic duels in the woods down the stretch (I don't know if I was ever really passed once the race was into the thick of it), and honestly my day was just an amazing foot tour of our great part of the state covering a handful of beautiful parks. I ran 90% of the time, and walked only on the big uphills. Like I said, no drama. I guess that's the beauty of not having your best stuff, as long as you are honest with yourself and acknowledge it at the right moment, you can slow down, conserve your energy, and enjoy the ride."

So a belated congratulations to Brian for his placement in the endurance run! I hope your achievement will inspire the Blue Line Beginners as the half marathon hopefuls tackle their first-ever 11-mile training run this Saturday - which I'm pretty sure is going to feel like 100 miles.

-- Paula