When you are sitting home doing nothing but work and more work, your “last” marathon (Boston) cancelled and nothing else in the horizon including your motivation, and you are “on a break” with running, dumb decisions are made. Like taking on the Yeti 24 hour challenge.
3 weeks ago, the Boston Marathon week actually, my crazy friend Joy (truly on a very high crazy scale as she is an ultra runner who runs a gazillion miles a day at all times of the hour for fun) was running a 24hour challenge in lieu of a few of her cancelled races. Running 5 miles every 4 hours for 24 hours, total 30 miles. I LMAO at her, literally. Like why would she ever want do that without any glory at the end. 2 weeks ago, someone posted about it in one of my FB groups and a huge number of people signed up. I tut-tutted at that crazy enthusiasm. Again, why would they want to do that; maybe it was a group thing; crazy triathletes and all.
Then last week, Sam posted about how she was just catching up on the group’s post and she was going to take this on in the coming week. This time I didn’t laugh or tut-tut, … I signed up along with a few others … AND I posted it on other groups I’m part of to get in more people. Did I mention that I’m on a break with running?
Well, once signed up, it was like a sense of adventure.
I knew I wasn’t trained enough to be able to run it all but the thrill at the start to seek the finish was back! A support group was created, tips were asked and given, a start time of 7pm on Friday was decided, zoom calls were scheduled before and after each run. There was very little actual planning or worrying to do, aside from the most important decision of choosing my running clothes! Those who know me know how much thought I put into picking my clothes for each of my races.
Tips if you want to take on the Yeti 24 hour challenge
Decide on your start time based on when you want to end. I wish I had started at 3pm on Friday so I was done after 2 runs on Saturday vs. running almost all of Saturday (that’s what it felt like too!)
Keep it simple.
I had planned to drive to different places for variety, but ended up with 5/6 runs from home so I could roll out of bed, change and get out and in reverse without spending time traveling. This was especially helpful for a slow runner like me.
Seriously, try to atleast nap. I sometimes had only 1hr between shower and wakeup time, but even that 60min of shuteye made a difference
Get a group of friends
I would have never finished it if not for other crazy people doing it. The fact that they were all going to log in onto a zoom call made it accountable. I didn’t want to be the only one not showing up and once I was up, I might as well put the miles on.
So now … my adventure for anyone interested!
Run 1/6 – 7pm Friday
After a good luck and an enthusiastic zoom call, we were off on our first leg. I took it very easy and did 40 sec run – 20 sec walk intervals. Still the freshness must’ve made a difference as I finished it very easily AND added in a 0.5 mile cooldown walk after the 5 miles. Kelly had mentioned that she added on 1 mile to the end of her last leg to get to 31.x miles as an official 50km, and I had it in my mind to add in tiny bits throughout so I wasn’t going to be adding things at the end in fatigue.
We had takeout pizza for dinner and I ate a slice immediately after the run and went to bed after a shower.
Run 2/6 – 11pm Friday
I had actually slept for a bit before waking up at 10:30pm and that gave it a bit of thrill. Only crazies get up in the night to run and I was part of that! I was thinking of doing tiny up and downs my street, but one look outside and I gave up that idea and I went to the treadmill instead. It was another uneventful run with the same run-walk intervals as before.
I ate half a slice of the pizza leftover and went to bed after a shower.
Run 3/6 – 3am Saturday
The alarm went off at 2:30am and I groaned. Seriously? Who’s idea was this? What possessed me? Let me shut eye for just a second? I finally dragged myself out of bed at 2:50am and changed sleepily, it was cold and I threw on an old sweatshirt and dialed into the zoom. All the others looked like they were ready to hit the road, people had even gotten together to run at the local track (if I had actually met someone at that time, I would’ve been unable to have any conversation and just grunted), and then … wait for it … George and Kelly had woken up to join the call EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE NOT RUNNING !!!! What sorcery were they channelling???
I barely stumbled on to the treadmill and started my run which was more walk-run than run-walk and extremely slow. Never had I been so happy to get it done and stumble into bed. Because I had walked mostly, I wasn’t sweaty enough to shower. Thank God!
Run 4/6 – 7am Saturday
I was up at 6:20am before the alarm went off, panicking that the run was actually at 6am and I was late!! I’m glad I woke up early because I took a long time getting ready for that leg! I was still extremely sleepy and barely registered who was on the zoom call. It didn’t “feel” like I was running any slower, but I could see my sleep deprivation influencing the fatigue.
Carmen was running the 7am run “with” me and sent me encouraging messages.
I believe I finished in a sleepy haze and after a quick zoom checkin, I changed and went to bed. Showers are overrated. Way overrated. A lot of people had talked about staying up after the morning leg and talked about the importance of showers in waking up. But sleep needed, shower not needed for me.
Run 5/6 – 11am Saturday
Best. nap. ever! I woke up refreshed and ready to take on the run. Also the realization that we were more than half way through and only 2 more runs pepped me up. I ran very happy and really well for the first half of the run, but then fizzled out in fatigue and heat.
Run 6/6 – 3pm Sunday
My 14yo came out with me to run for this leg; more to support and encourage me to finish as the heat had risen to 80F (the 1st actual hottest day of the year). We drove out to a local flat road so I could thank her with Starbucks after the run. Again, we ran steady for the first half and then the heat! Oh the heat! Everything hurt and sucked and I just wanted to sit on the side of the road. She encouraged me to run tiny bits when we were in the shade and kept the flow of conversation going – which, by teenager standards of “I don’t feel like talking to anyone”, is a HUGE HUGE deal!!
Kayre was running the 3pm heat “with” me and we touched base texting at every mile.
31.16 Miles aka 50km
By the last step I took, everything hurt and everything sucked. But I did it!
I woke up at weird times.
I completed the 5 mile distance each time, even if I didn’t run all of it.
I kept going.
I loved the support of people virtually and I must say that I leaned on them every run.
My body was so fatigued from miles and sleep deprivation that my mind forgot to worry about things I cannot control.
I . loved. every. minute. of. the. thrill. of. completion! And I relished every minute of having to no longer run!
Until the next crazy adventure, because I know I need something big to get me off the couch again ….