It has been a busy few weeks when it comes to the Pain in the Canal. New partnership with the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, working with Syracuse University on figuring out my needs for training and for the run, and even a few interviews! This has been crazy, but also a distraction from training (a good distraction if I am being honest). If that wasn't enough, my training took a massive hit!
As I mentioned in my last post I had to take a few rest days 2 weeks ago and I was well behind my 50 mile/week pace. I knew that I would not be able to hit that mark but I wanted to do something big. So on Sunday of last week I decided I would do my first "Half Day Pain" simulation by running a marathon. It is only half because this summer the plan is to do 2 of these per day.
I planned it out even simulating some of my breaks (although pushed through quicker than I plan to in August) and trudged along on my treadmill. I absolutely hate this treadmill, but it serves it purpose. I kept thinking about how I can't wait for the weather to break so I could run outside in the warm air of spring again, but knew that if I could push through a marathon distance of 26.2 miles on a treadmill I would have no issues outdoors.
Finally after just over 4 hours I hit 25.91 miles and I felt like sprinting to the end. I crank up the speed on the treadmill and then it happens. My treadmill comes to a complete stop! I frantically tried to revive it turning ever switch on an off, unplugging and replugging it in, desperate to get the last quarter mile done, but it was no use. In less than 3 months I had burned out the motor of this poor machine and it had died at 25.98 miles of my planned 26.2 mile run!
If anything it was decent timing. The weather finally tried to warm up here in Central New York last week and I was able to get outside briefly for a few short runs on Tuesday and Wednesday (7 miles) but it was still too cold for me to go out really early in the morning or late at night. I had a new treadmill on the way but had no real idea when it would arrive. March 10th was the date I was told which meant I would have a week and a half without the ability to use the machine I have come to rely upon despite my hatred of it.
During those few runs on Tuesday and Wednesday though I learned a few important things. First, I love running outside! It is so invigorating. I missed hills or changing up the tempo of my run based on how I felt rather than staying at a steady pace the whole time. Yes, learning to stay at a steady pace will be important for this summer, but at times takes the fun out of the run. I bombed down some hills and ran through some trails thinking about some of the adventures I have had the past year running solo or with friends. It brought back a lot of wonderful memories of pushing myself and others and how running has really become a solid part of my life.
The other and most important thing I learned was that I need to re-learn how to run outside. For me when I run (road or trail) I typically land with the balls of my feet first and then spring forward a bit as my heel hits the ground. On the treadmill however to help minimize the noise when my daughter is sleeping I land with my heel first. My gait was so awkward outside that I realized that I would have to spend a few weeks reteaching myself the lessons I had learned about trail running, hills, and what generally has felt comfortable with my stride and has prevented injury.
By the time I made it home on Thursday I had a surprise at my door, my replacement treadmill had arrived a week early! Now it was time to see if I could burn out a treadmill in 3 days rather than 3 weeks.
I woke up Friday with only 7 miles or so of training. I knew the weekend would need to involve a lot of running so I cleared most of my schedule for a fun challenge that was put out by David Goggins. The challenge was to run 4 miles every 4 hours for 48 hours to raise money for a charity of your choice. It started at 8 pm on Friday night.
After clearing everything with all the necessary people I committed to run the challenge and get in 48 miles in 48 hours, easily hitting my mark of 50 plus miles of running for the week. What I had not realized was that Friday morning and Friday evening were the same day!
Taking the day off on Friday to participate in a few interviews regarding the Pain in the Canal Challenge I knew my morning would be clear. A participant of our challenge lost her grandmother to colorectal cancer just days earlier and I committed to run 7.8 miles in her honor (she was 78 years old). I got up and ran it without issue and continued on with my day.
Later in the morning while I was recording the DizRuns podcast I had made mention to host Denny that I was going to try and do the 4x4x48 challenge this weekend. Then it hit me. Just 12 hours before the start of an event that would take me farther on foot than I had ever gone before in 2 days I had put in a 7.8 mile run! This is when I started to get nervous and was unsure if I would have the endurance to last.
The runs at 8pm, 12am, 4am, and 8am on the first day were fine. I had virtually no problem with them, but then came dance class! Every Saturday my daughter has dance and I take her and hang out in my car. The insatiable hunger that I felt this week however while being surrounded by junk food brought me to a desperation I am not use to. I was willing to eat just about ANYTHING that would have provided me the amount of energy I needed just to drive us home.
The ride was only 20 minutes home from dance but it felt like an hour. I was groggy and not even the Red Bull I downed was enough to shock me awake. Yes we made it home safe (always first priority) but when I got home I realized I only had about 30 minutes until my next run.
The rest of the day Saturday was a bit of a blur, but I was able to accomplish all the runs. 4am was extremely difficult for me though. My legs did not want to run at all. I ended up walking the entire distance.
When all was said and done I had accomplished 12 runs of 4 miles in 48 hours (1 was a walk) and I felt physically good. I was nowhere near as stiff or sore as I feared, just tired from the erratic sleep schedule. This also taught me a valuable lesson, I could go farther!
Throughout the training for this extremely long run I plan to push my self imposed limits often. Knowing now that I can easily cover almost 60 miles in 3 days has provided me with a boost of confidence! I am a little over 5 months out from the actual run, and still have a lot more to go but this has proven to be a stark turn around in mentality over the past few weeks. I guess the solution to my problems, my self-doubt, and all things that discourage me about this endeavor can be solved simply by running!