Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Run Nerds Rock Crazy Pyramid Running Challenge

This is how it started!!  When my facebook page Run Nerds Rock hit 1000 likes not too long ago I agreed to do a running challenge.  The followers on my page would be able to come up with a running challenge for me and the one with the most votes would be the one I would attempt to do.  The one that was decided on was this pyramid running challenge in which I would run a 5k, 10k, half marathon, marathon, half marathon, 10k and 5k in that order in 7 consecutive days.  It was called the Run Nerds Rock Crazy Pyramid Running Challenge.

I was still nursing this nagging foot injury that did not seem to want to go away so I hadn't been putting in the miles I had recently but I still wanted to try this. Anyone could try the challenge and I even created a page for those wanting to do this or their own version of it where you could post your progress and encourage others on how you were doing.  The first person to complete it was my friend Emily at Run Mommy Run.  She did amazing on her pyramid.  She completed the entire challenge.  She had a record week for mileage and she found her love for running again.  Here was a quote she posted from her wall: 

Emily's husband helping her during her marathon day providing a portable aid station.  How awesome and supportive!!
Emily during one of her runs during the challenge

I Love this and what Emily has to say about her experience.  I feel a lot of the same way as her.  I am so glad she found that love for running again.

There were also a few others that completed the full challenge too.  Congrats to Rashad and Jamilla!!  Awesome job you two. Some others that did a modified version of the challenge but still completed 7 days were Tanya and Yvonne!!  Great job to you two as well.

So, on to my experience.  I couldn't had picked a hotter week!  Temps in the mid 90's with terrible humidity all week was going to make for a very difficult challenge.  I have an upcoming 8 hour ultra on August 10th and needed to get back to training.  What better way to log some miles than with this challenge.  First day was a 5k.  Ended up doing 3.1 miles in 27:54(9:00 pace).  The only way to complete this challenge and survive the heat was to take it easy.  After all, this was not a race but about getting in the miles.  Felt good.  Ankle felt a little better.  Day 2 was a 10k.  Temps in the mid 90's and I completed the run in 1:00:21(9:43 pace).  Amazing thing about this run was the ankle felt even better after this run.  Day 3 would be a little bit of a challenge.  Temps were around 95 degrees so I needed to take it slower and stay hydrated.  I did loops by my house consisting of 3 miles to allow me to get plenty to drink.  I have a fridge in the garage and carry a Nathan Handheld water bottle that I take on my longer runs.  It definitely helped.  I finished the half marathon in 2:16:00(10:21 pace).  Very hot but I survived.  On to day 4.  26.2 miles.  The big one.  My wife Melissa had a 20 miler scheduled for that day so I was planning to run 20 of it with her so we could help each other.  I started an hour earlier than her so we could finish together.  It was the hottest day out of all of them.  Around 96 degrees and tons of humidity.  The plan was to run 3 mile loops that would pass by out car where we had a cooler and gatorade so we could continue to stay hydrated.  She got through her 20 miles and I got my 26.2 in.  I finished in 5:30:00(12:35 pace).  I ended up using over 200 oz of gatorade for this run and this run gave me my confidence back that I needed to find again.  I felt strong and it felt awesome!!  Awesome thing was that the ankle was barely hurting now.  Day 5 was another 13.1 miles.  It had rained overnight which cooled it off a bit.  I started off early and woke up to no pain!!  It felt awesome.  Easily completed the run and felt like I could have went for another marathon.  That was how good I felt!  Finished in 2:13:00(10:06 pace).  I was really excited about day 6.  A 10k and I got to run it with my good friend John.  This run felt awesome!!  I told John I was feeling so good so instead of a 10k we ended up doing 8 miles.  Finished in 1:12:00(8:55 pace).  I had so much confidence now.  Can't believe I had done all this running.  My pain in my foot was completely gone and I was feeling great!  Day 7, 5k time.  Loved this because my wife Melissa ran this one with me to help finish off the challenge.  I love running with her and to finish this with her was awesome.  She has always supported me and been there for me in all my running no matter how crazy people may think I am.  She was there with me when I finished my 100 miler and ran the last 16 miles with me after crewing for me all day.  I love her so much.

My ankle feels great now.  During the challenge week I ended up running 73 miles which was my best week since before my 100 mile ultra training.  I ran a 30 mile training just a week after this and I felt amazing.  Followed it up the next day with back to back 4 mile progressive run days in the 6 minute per mile range and today I did a 10 miler and felt stronger than ever.

What has this challenge taught me?
You don't need a medal or an award to have a love for running.  Don't get me wrong it's nice to get these things but it is also nice just to relax and enjoy doing what I love to do and that's run.

A marathon is a marathon.  Same goes for a half marathon or any distance for that matter. You might not see it in the race results but I completed a marathon and no one can take that away from me.  I ran that distance with my own 2 feet and that is all that matters.  That feeling still gets to me every time I complete that distance no matter how many times I do it.  In training or a race.

If you want to run go out and run!!  It is the most amazing feeling ever!!