After I finished the Boston Marathon, I was looking for something to do. I knew another marathon would not be a smart idea, and I ended up finding the 10×10 challenge on Facebook. Hmmm, I can run ten miles a day for ten days, right? Sure! The timing was never right since we had some weekend plans, and I didn’t want to HAVE to run on the holidays, on vacation, blah blah. Fast forward to July and I had one week where I could get the challenge in. I decided to combine the challenge with my cousin’s fundraiser for Huntington’s Disease, and asked my friends and family to donate to the Huntington’s Disease Society if I completed the challenge. I got some pledges and donations and on July 6th, I started running. I had a lot of time to think, to talk, and to learn a little about myself and running; 16 hours and 22 minutes over 10 days, to be exact. But I finished the challenge and raised about $500 for Huntington’s along the way. Thank you so much to those of you who pledged and donated! It means so much to me to have your support and you made my cousin cry with happiness! By the way, the initial numbers are in, and with her big event last weekend, she has raised upwards of $32,000 for Huntington’s Disease research AND she just announced she is also going to have a big fundraiser in the Phoenix area where she lives!!! Boom.
Since I like to make lists, here’s the newest list of the ten things I learned from running ten miles a day for ten days, in no particular order.
To learn how I met Ptheven and the pthory behind it, or even if you just want to laugh, please read this post HERE when I was having one of those days when everything made me laugh.
1) Endurolytes are the magical pill that I’ve been waiting to discover, I just don’t know what took so long. It never crossed my mind to take them for marathons, summer training, or anything shorter than a half iron. Big mistake. Once I started taking them during this challenge, my recovery time dramatically decreased, and I felt so much better than I normally do when running in swampy conditions. Lesson learned, and they will be part of my regiment from now on. Run out of electrolytes during a marathon again? Not this girl.
2) Ten miles is the perfect distance. It’s enough to force you to work hard, and to plan, but it doesn’t deplete your energy the way longer runs do. I had relatively no intensity in any of my ten milers either, but I didn’t feel like I HAD to walk. I certainly wanted to in the last few days, but I didn’t. The day after the challenge was done, my legs feel pretty good. Do I want to go out and run? Hells no, but I could if I needed to. If I did, someone may want to put one of those white coats on me because that’s just KRA-ZY.
3) The 10×10 Challenge ain’t no joke! It becomes more of a mental challenge than a physical one. Ten miles is a great distance, but it becomes about something other than the actual running. Getting up early day after day, planning the fueling, the hydrating, getting through those long workouts day after day after day. At least 2 hours a day is spent on this – preparing, running, then recovery. It gets tiring. It was super hot and humid for me here, and if I wasn’t so freaking stubborn, I would not have completed this. Seven days would have been too easy of a challenge, but eleven days, well, that would have sucked big time.
4) I’m stronger, both physically and mentally, than I gave myself credit for. My legs are tough. Running 100 miles in ten days isn’t anything to sneeze at. I’ve NEVER run 70 miles in one week, only 64 when in peak marathon training several years ago. It’s a ton of miles, and I really had to push myself, physically but mostly mentally. I continually second guess whether I can actually do things, to which my awesome husband tells me that I can pretty much do anything, and maybe, just maybe, I need to listen to him. Because it’s true.
5) Sunrises make me happy. I normally see many sunrises as I train turning the summer, but seeing them day after day during this challenge was a reminder of how beautiful life is. It made me feel even happier to be alive and have the ability to even think about doing this challenge.
6) Running buddies ROCK. I have amazing friends. Out of the ten days of running, I had company for four of them. It really made a difference in getting through those days when I didn’t want to spend 100 minutes by myself doing the same thing I had been doing for several days before. It kept my mind off the actual act of running, and it was good to catch up with each one of them during our workouts.
7) I’m extremely fussy about accurate running times/distances. When I started the MapMyRun workouts for those ten days, I had to put my phone in it’s little Roo pouch and then start running. I had to stop for water, to stretch, traffic, and walk with my buddies. I never paused my workout, even when I was stopped for several minutes. It bugged the shit out of me. The times recorded showed the time I spent standing, so they weren’t exactly accurate for per mile splits. Why do I care? I have no idea. When my workouts were done, it sometimes took me a while to get the thing to stop the workout because my phone was covered in sweat and my hands were dripping. Boy, that pissed me off. “I finished that damn workout TEN SECONDS AGO!!!”. I don’t get why it matters to me, but it does. It doesn’t to anyone else, but me. Hello, my name is Kelli, and I’m an accurate time addict.
8) Vaseline can fix wonky toes. That’s pretty much all you need to know – I’ll be using this more as I ramp up my miles again this fall.
9) Running challenges are good for you! Sometimes you need to do get out there and do something different. I wrote a little about this earlier in the challenge, but I got a sense of post-race euphoria somewhere half way through. It waned a little near the end when I JUST WANTED IT TO BE OVER and I was tired of sweating out half my body weight, but really, it sort of came back again today. I feel like I can do pretty much anything today. It gave me a boost of confidence to NOT be afraid to try things and that if I set my mind to something, I can do it. So challenges are good. Very good, and I’m thankful that I took this one on.
10) I can and I will.
Somewhere along this journey, I realized that I really did, truly want to complete an iron distance. (I had LOTS of time to think as I ran!) I already figured out that going to an actual Ironman event would be too expensive for my family, so I am going to do the one here in town, the Beach 2 Battleship. I’m doing the half this October, but I’m going to plan to do the full in another year or two or three. It all depends on how my marathons go. I continuously questioned whether I had what it took to do the training involved, and probably mid-way through this challenge, I realized that if I set my mind to it, I can do anything I want to do. Sure, it takes physical ability and all that, but being mentally strong and having the ability to push yourself to not give up is almost more important than the physical part of it. As a marathoner, I know how to push, how to persevere, how to get up every day and train. And I know that I can do more. This challenge taught me to not be afraid, to have no fear in going for my goals. I know that I have what it takes to work towards and achieve my goals.
I can and I will.
Now this weekend I’m off to the mountains for a new challenge, running a half marathon called The Scream, you know, because it’s a screamin’ good time down 2100 ft of elevation. I’m looking forward to getting out of town, spending time with my family in the woods, being unplugged (there’s NO cell service in our cabin – SCORE!), and seeing some of my friends.
Once I get back, it’s totally tri training time. This girl’s gotta get serious!