A Distance Runner’s Challenge
The Dream of 100 Miles
With the wind at my back, and three kids and a golden retriever by my side, I extended my arms to give thanks for the ability to do what I had never done before. I completed a challenge that had once seemed impossible. I had completed a 100-mile week.
Where the Idea Started
Flashback to March 19, Brandi, a running club friend of mine sent me a message that would alter my spring for the better. She said, “You know if there was ever a time for a 100-mile week…” I quickly typed back, “100? No way, do you really think it is possible?” She suggested that it was only a few more miles per day than what an 80-mile week consisted of.
I was really excited about the idea, but a few days later, after I let it spin around in my mind sent her a message saying, “Do you really think I could do this?”
Planning for 100
Brandi assured me that I had what it took to run 100, and that the only limitations are the ones that I place on myself. I kept spinning the idea for a few days and talked to her husband, Marvin, a pretty extreme distance runner. He said that I absolutely could do this, and believed 100 percent it was attainable. But, advised me to wait another week and be smart so that I didn’t wind up injured. I also talked with my husband, an extreme runner as well, pitched my idea, and he said, yeah, you can go for it, but you have to run low mileage next week. No more than a 45-mile week so you are rested.
He also advised me to not wait until midweek to start ramping up the mileage. Monday, he said, needed to include a high number of miles.
It was Go Time
And so on March 30th, 2020, I set out on a quest to start a 100-mile week.
I Enjoyed Having a Teammate
Marvin decided that he was interested in running a pretty high mileage week as well. I didn’t know how far he was interested in running at the start of the week. I was hoping his goal was similar to mine. We talked back and forth throughout the week about how the run was going and how many more times we would hit the street. It was really awesome to have someone going through the same experience with me. Even though we did not run together, I loved the feeling of knowing that we were crossing the same streets and on the same mission. I used to think that being part of a running club was unnecessary since I am a pretty solo runner.
I Don’t Mind the Solitude of Running, but Enjoy Being on A Team
I don’t mind the solitude and crave the opportunity to be by myself on the open road, but there is something about having teammates. The opportunity to connect with like-minded people who are equally as excited about your goals as they are their own is something so amazing, it can hardly be described. This week I felt like a teammate in every sense of the word.
How I Broke the Mileage Up
I made sure to start the week out strong. I also consistently did the math, so that I was doing at least the minimum each day. I did not want to wind up with 20 miles left to run on Sunday.
Monday 3/30 – 10 miles in the morning and 8 miles in the afternoon
Tuesday 3/31- 13.1 miles in the middle of the day, and 3.35 miles in the late afternoon
Wednesday 4/1- 9.07 miles in the morning and 6.54 miles in the afternoon
Thursday 4/2- 14.32 miles middle of the day run
Friday 4/3- 5.13 miles morning run and 7 mile afternoon run
Saturday 4/4- 4.2, 4.04, 4.10 and 4.07 mile loops throughout the day.
(My husband was running the virtual backyard ultra race that consisted of 4.2 mile loops)
Sunday 4/5-6.10 miles on my own and then a final mile with my kids and dog.
Sticking to the Plan
A few times during the week I felt a little exhausted after my second run, but there was something addicting about sticking to the plan and committing to a final outcome no matter what.
On Wednesday evening, I remember thinking to myself, “Do I really want to do this? Does it really matter?”
I Was Overcome with Gratitude
Thursday, I decided to go for a longer run. About 4 miles into the 14-mile run, I could not help but be filled with gratitude. I was incredibly grateful that the legs that had carried me so many miles this week were the same ones that had crossed the finish line of 29 marathons, chased after my kids when they were little, walked up the stairs to a Spanish class in college where I met my husband, triumphantly walked up to the stage to get a diploma, carefully climbed a waterfall in Jamaica, boarded a plane to study in Mexico, walked into a title company to buy our first home, almost collapsed on my way into the hospital as I miscarried, triumphantly crossed the line of my first 5k, walked out of an interview as I received my first job, ran up to see the list of freshman who had made the junior varsity softball team, and staggered through several difficult long runs. Through the good and bad, my legs had been there.
When I was younger, I used to wish they were stronger, thinner, and more of anything else I could think of. Today, I realized that I wouldn’t trade them for anyone else’s. They were mine, they were perfect and I was blessed.
My Teammate Had Finished
Sunday morning, Marvin sent a message that he had finished. As I saw the proof in his screenshot from Strava, my eyes filled with tears. He had done the impossible. He had finished the 100-mile week. And now he was cheering me on, and telling me to get out there and finish mine.
The Final Day
And so, I laced my pink Nike’s up, turned on my music, and tapped the screen of my phone so Strava would record my second to last run of the week. And a few miles in, all I could think about was how grateful I was to be running! I was within a few miles of finishing a 100-mile week.
The Second to Last Run
6.1 miles later, I had completed 99 miles. It is tradition for my middle son Luke, (11 years old and my dog) to run the last mile with me of a lengthy mileage week.
And, to my surprise, when I stopped to get Luke and Prince (my golden retriever), I discovered that my other two kids were interested in joining me in the last mile! We took off.
As we rounded the last corner and had about two-tenths of a mile to go, I put on my oldest son’s favorite song, “We didn’t start the Fire” by Billy Joel and we picked up our pace as the finish line came into view.
The Impossible was in My Reach
The finish-line which consisted of my husband cheering and taking pictures with his iPhone, marked the beginning of a new mindset.
My impossible was within reach. If I could run 100 miles in one week, what couldn’t I do?