‘Enjoy your run’ became 100-miler’s mantra

Photo courtesy of Nicholas Budzyn

Photo courtesy of Nicholas Budzyn

Nicholas Budzyn of Wyandotte poses for a photo in his homemade Woodstock-themed shirt before running his first 100-mile marathon, the Hallucination 100-Mile Run at Run Woodstock last weekend in Pinckney. He took second place overall with a time of 23 hours 8 minutes.

‘I was crying and laughing while running. It was the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.’
— Nicholas Budzyn

Sunday Times Newspapers

WYANDOTTE – Nicholas Budzyn is not your “typical” runner – if there is one.
He never ran track in school, and he ran his first marathon – the 2007 Detroit Marathon – on a whim.

On Sept. 26 and last Sunday he ran his first 100-mile marathon, the Hallucination 100 at Run Woodstock in Pinckney. He took second place overall with a time of 23 hours and 8 minutes.

“Looking back, it doesn’t seem real,” said Budzyn, 24. “It’s hard to wrap your head around such a distance, but I had an amazing time. At one point in particular I had a 40-minute euphoric fit that was almost a religious experience.

“I was crying and laughing while running my fastest split to the first aid station I had all day. It was the happiest I’ve ever been in my life, thinking about my family, life in general and how blessed I am.”

The 2007 Detroit Free Press/Flagstar Marathon was his first race.

“I did it on a whim with hardly any training, just to see if I could finish,” Budzyn said. “After that I took a lot of time off of any running.”

In the spring and summer of 2008 he did a few races for fun, and began to make a lot of friends in the Michigan running scene. As the summer of 2008 progressed he began running fairly consistently.

“I actually began training for the 2008 Detroit Free Press/Flagstar Marathon in hopes of qualifying for the ’09 Boston Marathon,” Budzyn said. “I made some novice mistakes … and missed qualifying for Boston by 12 minutes after falling off the pace in mile 21. I had dehydrated myself to the point where my body began rejecting fluids after the race. I ended up in the med tent … needing an IV.”

Budzyn was surprised later in the day when his legs felt great. “Now knowing that my legs could take such a run,” he said. “I began pushing my pace and distance in my training. I ran the Marathon of the Palm Beaches in December 2008 in 2:57 and got my Boston (Marathon) qualification.”

Budzyn went to the 113th annual Boston Marathon in April with some of his running friends and ran a 3:01.

“Ultra running has always intrigued me, and I have always been inspired by the runners and their stories,” Budzyn said. “Running for me is meditative, and I’ve always enjoyed it. This summer I’ve had a big change in my running philosophy.

“As I was doing some test runs to see where my fitness was before deciding to try an ultra, one of my friends sarcastically told me to ‘enjoy my run’ – this was when I ran 31 miles, went straight into work, got four hours of sleep then ran 30 miles the next day in a torrential downpour, before going in to work again.”

“Enjoy your run” became Budzyn’s mantra. “That’s what I tried to do on all my runs, listening to my body and not pushing things too hard. I focused less on pace and mileage and just went out to have a good time on my runs.

“In doing so I was able to put in much more time on my feet, jumping right into a 150-mile week with no problems. I found I was recovering faster and running much more consistently. This has translated into my success in running.”

On Sept. 19 Budzyn ran the North Country Trail Run in Manistee as a training run for the 100-miler and ended up winning in a tie of 3:04.

“It was a beautiful yet hilly course, and it was the first time I ever negative split a marathon, running the second half faster than the first.”

Budzyn plans to run in the Brooksie Way Half Marathon Oct. 4 in Oakland County, and the Detroit Free Press /Flagstar Marathon Oct. 18.

To celebrate his birthday this year — Nov. 8 — he and two of his best running friends are running back-to-back trail marathons on Nov. 7 and 8, the Rockhead Trail Marathon and the Bobcat Trail Marathon.

Budzyn hopes to convince the Downriver YMCA to let him do a treadmill marathon, with donors making mileage pledges.

All proceeds would go to its Strong Kids program and the Southeastern Michigan Chapter of Autism Speaks.

Now that his 100-miler is finished, Budzyn needs a new goal on which to focus.