I must begin by saying that I finally did another sand run! It certainly took me long enough. I'll be the first to admit that I've been avoiding it like a term paper. Anyway, I clocked 6 miles in the sand, running from Beach 1 to Beach 7 and back. 3 miles out, 3 miles in.

 They (Experts? Trainers? Runners?  Congress?) say whatever distance you run you can actually double it (sorry that sounds vague and confusing and unfounded but I've heard this from multiple people) so I think that means that if I could run six I should be able to run 12… I'm not sure how that makes any sense but I'm telling myself that to stay mentally positive.

 Six miles on the sand took me about and hour and fifteen minutes, with a couple of water stops thrown in there. I know I was taking it pretty slow, especially at the end, but remember that the goal is to survive, to get through it, and I did.

 I think it will be immensely easier on race day when I'm surrounded by other competitors and cheering spectators. The adrenaline rush will undoubtedly give all Beast- beaters a boost.

 So, on to this week's training session. If you're looking for a good place to practice your sand running/ climbing/ crawling/ sliding, I've got the spot for you!

 Beach 9 on Presque Isle has three levels of ridges/ hills to climb up and careen down. Some sections of the beach only have one hill, but at some points it elevates from the water up a small hill, then flat sand then another ridge, then more flat sand and then the largest hill, which is also covered in a long grass- like plant that poses and extra challenge to weave around (or just plow through).

 You can really spend a good amount of time on these things doing a variety of different exercises to get you ready for race day.

 Lisa had me start by just running up and down the largest hill, making my way along the length of the hill ever so slowly. Up and down up and down up and down until I got the end.

 For another segment of the workout, I ran sideways along the length of the hill. It was really hard to keep my balance and keep up the pace as I ran on the extreme unevenness. This was an exaggerated version of the uneven sand I will face on the September 7th.

 As I ran down and back, the inside leg burned like crazy. It felt like I was doing a leg press with every step. On the plus side, I think it was good for the outer thighs.

 You can also run up the hill and back down backwards, and do that along the entire length. The most fun activity was when I ran from the water's edge up all three hills and back down, ten times. Whew that was a lung burner, but I felt great after.

 No matter how hard the sessions get, I always feel accomplished after. It makes it worth every second of pain and breathlessness to feel like I'm progressing and staying strong. This beast continues to be a huge push for me, and although sometimes I want to stop in the middle of a set or a run, I've developed a reinvigorated mental strength as well. This will all serve me long after the Beast is beat (well, hopefully beat. I'm staying optimistic).

 Leave comments about your own training, or email me at ewelsh@wicu12.com.