Wow...when I told myself that 2013 was going to be a great year, I didn't know it would be this good right from the start. I had some big goals that I kept to myself. 1) To run as many 100 mile weeks as possible. 2) To try and hit 400 miles in a month. 3) To reach 4,000 miles by the end of 2013. Lofty goals? Maybe. But if we don't set the bar high, why even set the bar at all?
Ever since tanking the Hawk Indoor Marathon on December 31st, I made a quiet goal to shoot for 100 miles of running and not let anything get in my way. I took it slow for the first week of January to recover from being fairly sick. I went easy and totaled a modest 56 miles between January 1st through the 6th. The following morning I started with an easy 7 miles. By the time I finished my week that following Sunday, I had logged a total of 141 miles. And for the record, every mile was powered by ENERGYbits 100% spirulina algae tabs.
I do a lot of my training on the C&O Canal Towpath here in Williamsport, Maryland. It's an extremely boring dirt surface that runs 184.5 miles in length. Yes, it's pretty scenery, but once you log thousands of miles on it, it becomes a nightmare. It can mentally break you down within a few miles of running. With that said, it was a perfect place to go all out and test my mental toughness.
After running the easy 7 miles on Monday I felt great. My breathing was better, the cough had subsided to the point I could run fairly easy without feeling like I was going to choke to death on phlegm. That night I informed my wife that I was going to run long the following day...and I did. I took my usual 30 ENERGYbits tabs and headed down to the Canal. 26 miles later I returned feeling great. My legs still felt fresh, my spirits high, and my desire to log more miles the next day was at an all time high. I had enjoyed my time on the towpath all day long and wanted more.
The next morning I decided to try for 27 miles. I felt I could do it because there had been no cramping the night before. My legs were not fatigued at all, which honestly, I was stoked about. I ate my usual amount of ENERGYbits and headed out. One major mistake, it was seriously cold and I had dressed super light. I just couldn't warm up. The snow was still heavy downstream and the air off the river brought the temps down into the 20's. Shorts and a t shirt crippled my flow so I decided to cut my run short and just put in 20 miles for the day. I chose to go downstream and then turn around and run a very hilly road route home. Once returning home, it literally took me a few hours to really warm up. I took it easy the following day and just logged an easy 10 miles. I took the time to enjoy myself and snap some photos and recover from the past few days of long running.
So much for taking it easy and logging 100 miles tops. A friend of mine and I traveled down to Frederick and hit the Catoctin Mountain for 12 miles of very strenuous hiking. We hiked up and down steep inclines that look like an EKG on paper. Normally hiking the "Valley of Despair" would be enough, but I wanted to really test myself and the ENERGYbits, so I had my friend drop me off 20 miles from home. By then the rain had set in to a drenching downpour and made for a miserable run home...at least for the first 10 miles. I can not emphasize how well ENERGYbits work for my body. Within 30 minutes of taking them, I started smiling, feeling great, and actually enjoyed running back-roads at night. What a great run.....
The following day was supposed to be a real rest day. However, I was starting to wonder how many miles I could actually get in before my mind and body said, "I quit." 11 miles later, still no "quit." I had logged 106 miles for the week at this point. Yes, I had some minor aches and pains, but I still felt great overall. Now for the final test to end my week...a planned 30 miler on Sunday.
I wish I could say I wanted to do the 30 miler that day. I stopped several times before the 3 mile mark and hesitated on going any further. I was physically tired at this point and just wanted to go home. But the stupid in me kept pushing along mile after mile. And instead of going 15 miles up, I went 2.5 miles further. I don't know why I ran further than I wanted to. There were many times during the first half of my run where I just sat down in the middle of the tow path and called it quits. But when you are are in the middle of nothing and no car can reach you, well, you have to get up and keep going.
I have been asked why I would push my body so hard. Why I would want to actually run that many miles in one week. The answer is quite simple...to me. 1) I wanted to see how well ENERGYbits really work when pushed to the limit. 2) I wanted to see how far I could go before I mentally snapped. I found out both answers while out there. I can go roughly 110 miles per week before I mentally break down. And ENERGYbits did not let me down the whole week. I am simply amazed at how well they help with rebounding from a "down spot." Even with my body telling me to quit, my mind was keeping me going. I took my last 20 tabs with 12 miles to go and a few miles later I was enjoying my time out there. It had been a long day and even longer week, yet I am happy that I accomplished a major goal for 2013. I am happy that I did not quit and go home. And even at my lowest points during my 35 miler, I felt alive. I was out there doing something most people would never attempt. I want to thank ENERGYbits for allowing me to be an Ambassador for their great company. There is no way I could have achieved that many miles without using ENERGYbits. I know that for a fact. Simply put, I love running....
Thank you all for taking the time to read my rambling recount of the best week of running I have had so far. I couldn't have done it without all of the support of each and everyone of my friends. I am looking forward to what this year has in store for me, both running and personal. I am anxiously awaiting the outcome and look forward to each moment.