I’ve been struggling with putting my MS Run the US relay experience into words since I ran 166 miles in 6 days. Then Saturday while teaching one of my strength classes, a member asked me to share one of the highs and one of the lows of the week. I thought this was a great question and way for me to start sharing some of the details.
Let’s start off with the low. Looking back at the week there was only one, something which I am very thankful for! A lot can happen in the course of 166 miles and 6 days! Day 5 I woke up feeling very refreshed. I had gotten a good night sleep, my legs felt great, and I was chipper and ready to tackle the 30 miles on deck for the day. The previous day I had started to notice some pain in my right foot when I would apply weight. As a precaution that morning, I took some ibuprofen, iced it, and applied some topical medicine. We set out to the starting point and before long I was off and running. My mom and daughter we alongside me on their bikes to keep me entertained for the day and the MS crew was all set to meet me every four miles. The first several miles were wonderful. It was a foggy, cool morning – almost the perfect running weather. Great! Then around mile 6 or 7 I started to notice the pain in my foot returning. With each step it was getting slightly worse. At mile 8 I spent some extra time with the crew and tried icing the area again. I rolled on the tennis ball and took some more ibuprofen. The pain was getting pretty intense and there was some visible swelling. At this point I was really questioning whether I would be able to complete the miles this day. Every. Step. Hurt.
There was nothing else my crew or family could do for me at this point. Kendra, the crew member looked at me and said “remember why you are here.” I shook my head in confirmation with tears streaming down my face. I took a deep breath and started moving. I ran the next 4 miles with tears flowing down my cheeks, sobbing, and pain with every single step. No words were exchanged between my mom, daughter and I. We all knew where I needed to focus my energy. The pain never got any better. In fact, it was worse when I tried to walk, so I just pressed on knocking out each mile at whatever pace I could. At the end of the day, I managed to complete the 30 miles I had set out to run that morning.
My foot was swollen and visibly bruised. But as Kendra reminded me earlier, I was there for a reason. I was chosen to do this. I would not let my reasons, my family, my friends, and all the individuals living with MS down. I am proud of myself for the strength and determination I had that day.
With the lows come the highs. The week presented me with so many highs it’s hard to narrow it down, but there are two things that stand out to me today.
The training schedule to prepare for this type of endurance event is quite intense. That coupled with working two jobs and managing family and life, can be overwhelming. The final stage of the training cycle had me feeling pretty drained in fact. The first day of my run I had a hard time getting into my groove and my legs just felt heavy. I wondered if the remaining days would be the same. I stuck to my nutrition plan each day and tried to foam roll and stretch regularly. I found myself waking up every day feeling stronger than the day before and my body was ready to go. What?!? Yes – I pounded out 30 miles a day for 5 straight days and each day my legs felt better and better! Even in the days following my segment, my legs were ready to run some more. My body was ready to run again right away. How does this even happen?? Well, that’s what solid training and eating right will do for you! Preparation and hard work had paid off in big dividends for me!
Runners tend to be a type-a personality, characterized by excessive ambition, competitiveness, drive, and compulsiveness. We are often obsessive about tracking our running data. We can tell you how many miles it is in any direction from our front door, how many miles we ran last month, how many miles on each pair of shoes, the elevation of a neighborhood hill, and our best race times (PRs). We love all of the data almost as much as the act of running itself. So it should not surprise you that one of my highlights of the week was the moment I hit the 100 mile mark in the 166 mile journey. As my daughter, mom and I looked around at the scenery of my 100 mile point, we found the best sign to include in my documentary pictures – a historical marker sign!
I hit a few new PRs in distances recently including:
- Highest weekly mileage ever – 125 miles (tracked from Sunday to Saturday)
- Highest mileage run in consecutive days – 166 miles in 6 days
- Highest monthly mileage – 293 miles in May
There were several other highlights from the week and I’ll be sharing more about them soon in upcoming posts!
**Please note that I do not necessarily advocate running through pain as I did for this event. This was an extreme circumstance.