Last Saturday was officially my longest run so far. I kept with the idea of keeping my heart rate down and I ended up going 20 miles. The interesting thing was I did not want to stop! If it wasn’t for time constraints I would have most likely just kept going. After several hours of running errands and meeting up with some friends I figured I would sleep like a log all night. At 2:30 I woke up and couldn’t sleep. After trying to fall back to sleep for an hour I decided I would go back out and run again. I hit another 8.75 and walked about a mile and a half. I finished my week and started my second week strong! I woke up the next day excited to run. This had never happened before, not like this. I have felt the NEED for a run to get some stress out, or for training purposes, but suddenly I just wanted to run!
Throughout the weekend I started having a crazy idea, one that would be bigger than anything I had ever attempted. It would involve over 350 miles of running, and I figured I could do it all in a weeks time! This was no small feat.
Sunday afternoon I went for a hike in some local woods and the idea persisted. I talked about the thoughts I had about it, what I would need for equipment and support, and what I needed for training. My thoughts only swelled that night when I watched the documentary “Running the Sahara”. I had learned about it just a few days prior but it had Charlie Engle in it. I had met Charlie a few times through Spartan Race briefly, and messaged with him a few times on social media. Even though he wasn’t a close friend, the personal connection pushed me to watch this film. After the film was over my mind was filled with all sorts of mental notes and even more questions. I figured I would try to reach out to Charlie and see if he had any tips for me. I did not have any real expectations, but hoped for a little guidance or at least to be pointed in the right direction.
It wasn’t noon yet and I had been working and wondering when and how I would run that afternoon. My desire to run was stronger than it ever had been. I sent a message to Charlie and put it slightly out of mind, not expecting him to message me back right away. Then I saw his response. Things began to move quickly as we texted back and forth. By the time I was done telling him my idea and my limited experience he told me that he wasn’t a “coach” but he would be happy to help coach me! Charlie Engle, the guy that ran across the Sahara, the United States, countless adventure races, dozens of ultra races including the infamous Bad Water was going to help me and coach me. Almost instantly he put me in touch with his friend Chris Roman who had ran the exact trail that I was planning 10 years earlier. Suddenly I was a buzz! This idea was forming fast and becoming more of a plan than just a far fetched idea.
Now I not only wanted to run, but I needed to. I needed to start my training. I asked Charlie about my biggest issue with training. Being a single parent I have very limited time to go out for runs, especially long runs. It is really not cool to leave a 5 year old alone for several hours while I am out running. What could I do? I had a stationary bike and I could run in place, which I had done a few times before for various challenges, but I wasn’t sure about if it really counted as training. Turns out Charlie has done this before and suggested to switch between running in place and the bike to break up the monotony of what both can bring. That night I decided I would run in place while waiting for things like my laundry to finish, cooking dinner, and doing various things around the house. I could have gone outside for a run, but I wouldn’t had been able to get the various choirs around the house. 2 hours later I logged a little over 11 miles of just running in my living room. I was astonished by this accomplishment and again had that feeling that I could do more.
My training cycle is still not entirely complete. I know that I need to take some rest days and I also know that my schedule is not the exact same every week. It is hard to make Sundays my “long run” day every week when my daughter is with me every other Sunday and I also have her half the rest of the week. Through in all of the upcoming holidays and driving that I need to do having a scripted regimen would be tough. This week I decided that I would just push myself and see how far I could go in a week. I ended up crushing my goal of 40 miles and actually hit 52 even just running. Add in hiking and walking and I hit over 62. I was really excited and because I was taking it easy on my runs every time I finished I felt like I could do more!
The lesson I have taken from this week is having a specific goal and something to train for makes a huge difference. Yes, running 50 miles is a great goal and I had a specific time frame to do this, but I wasn’t pushing myself as far as I could with this. Now that I have a much larger goal, one that encompasses the 50 mile run goal, I am pushing myself farther than I ever though imaginable! Training no longer is a struggle but a desire. I have attached my goal to a much larger purpose that will hopefully help a few people and now I do not want to let anyone down. Ever step has a purpose and brings excitement to me to achieve.
I know I have been fairly vague about my goal in this post, but that is primarily due to the fact that I am not going to post the specifics about it until a few things are in place. Once I have these things in place however I will announce it to the world and I hope that many of you will follow along.
If training has become a bore to you, or you find yourself going through the motions a bit, set a specific goal that scares you! Something you are not positive you can do, but you know there is a chance! Then start chasing that goal HARD!
With Thanksgiving this week, training will be difficult a bit, but I know that I will do what I can. I also need to create a 14 day training schedule for myself to make sure I am hitting my running goals as well as strength training, stretching, and rest. Part of my training for this week will be research! It is a good thing I love research. Comment below and let me know what you are doing this week for training and share your goals. I want to try to hit higher numbers with my running this week as well as push the strength training a bit more. Feel free to follow me on Strava, Instagram, and Facebook and have a happy Turkey Day. Get out and run off some of those extra calories!