Many things can be said about this October challenge. Smart may not be one of them.
What I really liked about the challenge was the feeling of intense training. That’s what I love about ultrarunning: the planning, the mental focus it takes to fit in all of the hours of running, and how much better I feel. My body just does really well on high mileage. And I’ve really enjoyed the whole thing. I’ve never done a running streak, so this is about as close as I get. I believe in rest days and I think they are important.
The month was also not easy. I missed four days total, and they were pretty big ones. I missed day 11 and 12 that was following a trail run where I thought I tore my hamstring. Turns out it was just my piriformis. I missed day 30 and 31 because I messed up my Achilles insertion point on my big run on day 29. There was no reason to try to force the run and try to get 61 miles in in two days at the risk of causing a permanent injury. So I was smart and I rested it. And that is the same advice that I would give to any one of my clients or my friends who are trying to do something similar.
It was also a very full month with other things that were not running related. I got to see cousins on my mom’s side for a wedding. It was amazing and wonderful and full of so much love. The following week I got to see my cousins on my dad’s side for a very different reason. My grandmother, the matriarch of the family had passed away while we were at the wedding the previous weekend. We knew it was coming and she was 92 years old, but it doesn’t make it any easier to swallow.
So we attended a funeral still in rural southwest Wisconsin where the pandemic is still very real. But it wasn’t all sad, I got to see my dad who I haven’t seen in over a year, I got to see my brother and my sister who I’ve seen more this year than I have in many years combined. My dog got pneumonia and my cat who was 16 years old passed away.
So now let’s take a look at the challenge:
I would like to acknowledge all of the people who shared miles with me throughout this and encouraged me along the way. Of course I ran with Cody but not as often as he’s back to traveling for work. My friend Emily who I got to share some long miles with who also participated in her first last man standing type event. My client John who participated in the same race as Emily but he did the 24 hour event and I got to share some miles with him while pacing.
My friend Dani who shared some arboretum miles with me and offered many other times to run along. My friend Allison who shared many walking miles and a few running miles but more importantly lots of coffee. And my client Jen who probably shared the most amount of miles with me this month with many of those miles in the early hours. I also can’t forget Kelly who lives just down the road from me. Her and I were able to get in some early morning, after work, and weekend miles together.
I didn’t start splitting my miles up into multiple runs until about day 18. I used every opportunity to run commute. Once I got into the 20’s it was more feasible to find a couple hours at a time rather than 3,4, 5 hours. I did do an overnight a couple times where the miles from one day went right into the next.
There are many supplemental things that I use to keep my body in tip top shape. I have Sonya my sport massage therapist who seriously gives the best full body treatment. Schupp from Schupp Chiropractic & Sport Injury who I saw every week to help keep my body aligned. Victoria who led an early morning yoga class on Mondays to keep my body loose and ready for the weekly miles. Sally McRae and her new app on Playbook helped keep my hips and glutes engaged and firing.
I used mostly Spring Nutrition as my fuel source. Nuun Hydration as my post run hydration. I blew through my Salt Stick stash in the early part of the month when October still thought we were summer. (If you haven’t tried the fastchews yet, they have two new flavors and you can use code TEAMBIRD20 for 20% off your order). I also placed many Athletic Brewing orders, because the non-alcoholic beer is amazing, especially the Dark & Gourdy. My Suunto 9 Peak came on every one of my runs with me and held up to the challenge! I blew threw 3 audiobooks, listened to many podcasts including: Ten Junk Miles, Herself, Pursuing Her Purpose, and Jason Koop. I rotated between shoes. My Adidas Adios Bostons, Adidas Adios Boost, Salomon SLab, Salomon Predict, and Salomon Ultra Glide. As the weather got a little cooler but not cold enough for tights, I busted out my Follow Hollow tall wool socks. The last week especially I used my Chil Wellness CBD recovery and pain lotion on my whole legs. This stuff is amazing and I really do believe has aided in my recovery.
All in all, I couldn’t have done the challenge without so many other people cheering me from afar, and literally running miles with me. I have decided to do it again in February as a partner challenge with my client Jen.