Another week of solid Running Base Training completed with a little twist at the end, and my final Support Your Local Box workout. I was able to split up my runs this week between road and trail miles again, which was a lot of fun. Most of the mornings were nice and cool, even though the afternoons are starting to get HOT. This week I decided to entertain myself with a 24 miles in 24 hours running challenge, where I ran one mile every hour on the hour for 24 hours. Quarantine has us doing some interesting things here in the Brambila house.
Outside of the running and CrossFitting, we haven’t had too much going on. I feel like I’m settling into my new role at work, and I’m enjoying learning more about the executive side of my company. Friday, I started getting things prepped for my 24 hour challenge, which mostly entailed washing all of the running clothes and making all of the food. I felt really fortunate that I was able to get things like laundry started during the work day.
The obvious highlight of this week was the 24 miles in 24 hours challenge, so I won’t waste any time in getting into the details.
24 Miles in 24 Hours Running Challenge
What It Is
So what I decided to do isn’t connected or tied to anything official. I know there’s a lot of virtual endurance challenges happening right now, but this doesn’t happen to be one of them. I saw that some people are doing 5 minutes of running every hour for 12 hours, or the Yeti Endurance challenge, and I just decided that 1 mile every hour sounded like an interesting way to break up a day. I’m aware that I may not be in my right mind at this point. So my 24 hours of fun is not fundraising or benefitting anything or anyone; probably not even myself, haha.
Why I Did It
I decided to do this for a couple of reasons, which I shared briefly through my social media. The main reason is that it just seemed like an interesting way to get a lot of miles in over one weekend, and break up a day. Quarantine is fairly boring, and I guess we’ve hit the point where running once a hour seems like a fun time. I had a lot of fun with the virtual marathon that I ran about a month ago, and I’ve seen other endurance athletes doing creative “events” in place of cancelled races. So that is kind of what got me thinking about doing this.
Once the idea sparked, I thought about how it might be a way for me to mentally prepare for the 50 mile race that I have my eye on. When I ran my 50k race a couple of years ago, that sucker took me 8 freaking hours to complete. Because the course was really rocky and technical. And honestly, I was not prepared for that kind of time commitment. Especially since my marathon time is right around 4 hours.
This 50 miler will have a very similar course profile, so with an extra 20 miles, I’m anticipating that I’ll be running for quite a long time. I’ve never run through the night, and I’ve never run a race where I’ve stopped for any extended period of time during it. So I thought it would be an interesting experiment to see what it is like to run on tired legs, in a somewhat sleep deprived state towards the end, and see if I can figure what kind of recovery methods work well for me. It also gave me a good opportunity to see what kinds of real food work well with my stomach.
I don’t mind liquid calories and gels and chews for marathon distances, but I’m not overly enthusiastic about embracing a liquid diet for my anticipated 12+ hour run. So it’s something I’d like to start figuring out. Because as a type-a runner, I obviously need to start preparing 5 months in advance. Logical, right? Finally, doing hard things is fun. It hurts, it’s frustrating, it’s probably not fun the entire time, but the overall experience is always net positive. And with the coronavirus still going somewhat strong, I don’t think it hurts to keep reminding myself that I can do hard things and choose to have a good time doing them.
How I Prepared
Most of my prep work happened on Friday. I did a little thinking about what kinds of food I might want to have on hand. I knew that with only about a 50 minute window in between runs, I wouldn’t be eating any big meals. Which is a little terrifying for me when I considered that I would be doing this for a full day. I decided that I wanted to have a decent variety of sweet and salty, and stick with easy to digest carbs. I didn’t want to create a detailed fueling plan, I just wanted to see how I felt during the day and make decisions based on that. Which meant that I didn’t want to get to 1am and decide that I needed something I didn’t have on hand.
So I did what most Americans did a few weeks ago, and I took an inventory of my pantry and stocked up. I also baked up some chocolate chip banana bread muffins (because they’re my favorite) and some oatballs (because they’re small and calorie dense). I ended up having some chips, fruit, pretzels, annie’s cheddar bunnies, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, kodiak cake muffins, pickles, Oreo’s, peanut M&M’s, Reese’s and a collection of left over Easter candy. If I decided on having real food (IE, not random snack food), I went with options to make black beans and rice, a quesadilla, PB&J, or a potato, pickle, and mustard taco (it sounds weird, but they’re amazing). These are all things I’ve seen and heard are on aid station tables, so I figured they were somewhat safe bets. I also planned on sending my amazing husband to grab me a fresh bagel from Einsteins.
During the day, I washed all my running clothes, because I had no clue how many times I’d want to change. When it came to figuring out my sleep situation, I knew I would need to take at least 1-2 short naps, and I did not want to get into my bed for them. From past experiences of having a newborn baby, I know that I am not a fan of getting out of bed after a short snooze. I also know I am not a fan of sweaty people (myself included) lounging on fabric couches. So I decided to borrow my sons sleeping bag, and set it up over my couch. This gave me a space to take some semi-comfortable naps.
I didn’t carb-load the day before, because I honestly figured I could get through one mile at a time without needing too much in my system. Plus, I had a house full of carbs waiting for me. I plugged in all of my running stuff, made sure my running clothes were situated with easy access, and got to bed at about 9pm. Not too much earlier than usual, but I also planned on waking up at 4:40am, which also isn’t too unusual. All that being said, I didn’t have the best night of sleep Friday evening, but overall I felt pretty freaking prepared for whatever the day was going to bring me.
How It Went
My alarm went off promptly at 4:40am, and I got dressed, brushed my teeth, and headed out the door without much thought. I honestly almost didn’t make it down the stairs in time; I was just fumbling slowly. I’m not great before coffee. Right before I walked out, I got the coffee maker going so I had something to look forward to when I returned. I briefly forgot to start my watch for the first few steps. Like I said, I’m not great before coffee. Running without coffee sucks. Even for just a mile. I would not recommend attempting any running challenge without coffee.
My first two miles were in the dark, and then the sun was up until just after my 8pm mile. The temperature started out in the 60’s and felt amazing until about 11am, and then got up to the mid 80’s. The 1-4pm miles were pretty damn toasty, but just having a mile to do made things pretty tolerable. I was kind of wishing I’d gotten some popsicles in my prep at this point, and it’s something I don’t think I’ll forget when I get ready for future adventures in the late spring in Texas.
After the 9am lap, I got into the routine of eating a small snack every other hour, and that seemed to keep my stomach pretty happy. The two biggest “meals” I had were a potato, pickle, and mustard taco (don’t knock it until you try it, it’s delicious) after my 4pm mile, and a cheese quesadilla after the 1am mile. For the rest of the night, I snacked mostly on oatmeal energy balls, trail mix, and banana bread muffins.
All of the miles were run in my neighborhood, up and down the same streets. With the exception of the 2 and 3pm miles, when we decided to take my son to the Leon Creek Greenway so he could ride a couple of hours with me. In between miles, my son skated around on his skateboard while I hung out in the back of the jeep, eating the worlds best PB&J sandwich. Not a bad way to kill some time.
My routine was fairly consistent. I ran at about an 8:30 pace for the majority of my miles, came inside and relaxed or ate until about 15 minutes before the hour. Then I’d get my phone, my Flipbelt, and my Aftershokz, get my shoes back on, make a bathroom trip, and then head down about 5 minutes before the hour. I had around 35 min of time in between my runs, and I was really amazed at how quickly the hours clicked by. I went back and forth between Pandora and podcasts, and had a couple of miles without anything.
I took small amounts of caffeine in the form of coffee and Nuun a few times throughout the day, mostly right before and after my short naps. I got in little sleeps after my 11am, 6pm, and 12am miles. I tried to stretch once in the morning, in the late afternoon, and in the evening to keep things feeling comfortable. I noticed that I didn’t start to really get stiff until I got up for the 2am mile, and I wasn’t feeling sore ever. But man, did I get cranky after about 10pm. My mood was a little better after my midnight nap, but I quickly remembered how much of a raging brat I was when I had a new born. I am not a fun person to be around when I am hungry or tired.
I was so ready to be done and go the hell to sleep for the last 3-4 hours. I’m so appreciative that my sweet husband hung out with me and made me food and put up with me being an absolute nightmare. It’s best not to talk to me too much after 11pm. I’m like a grimlin. But definitely feed me.
When it was finally all said and done, I got back inside at about 4:10am. I had a nice Shiner with my husband, ate an incredible steak fajita quesadilla and a few Reese’s, took a shower and fell into bed. Now, the unfortunate thing about me is that I’m not great when I don’t sleep, and I’m also not very good at sleeping once the sun comes up. Don’t sign me up to be a night nurse if you want people to survive. I woke up at about 9am, had some breakfast, laid around, took a quick nap, and then by about 11am felt more normal. Still cranky, but not kicking puppies level.
I learned that I’m still not a fan of running in the dark. I can’t shake the feeling that if I’m going to get murdered, it’s going to happen while I’m running in the dark. I hope over time I might get more comfortable, but even running only half a mile into my neighborhood and back, I just did not enjoy once the sun went down. I reminded myself that I’m not a joy to be around past 11pm. And just how amazing cheese quesadilla’s taste when you’re feeling desperately exhausted.
I also reminded myself that my mental determination is much stronger than willingness to give up. And the fact that I am stubborn as hell is firmly intact. Thank you to everyone who followed along, and cheered me on. My brain is still recovering from this interesting experience, so maybe don’t ask me any hard questions over the next couple of days. And send french fries.
Related Post: Staying Healthy & Sane During Social Distancing.
This Weeks Workouts
Total Miles: 63
Total Workouts: 5
How the Runs Felt
I am still keeping all of my runs at an easy pace, and I am not at all itching to get back to speed work any time soon. On Sunday, my son joined me for 4 of my 8 miles, and we went back to the Leon Creek Greenway. It’s great to watch him spend time outside, being active. I’ve looked forward to being able to do this with him since he outgrew our jogging stroller.
Sunday, my kiddo and I stuck to tradition and ran a few miles together (him on his bike). Monday’s run felt amazing; I started out slow and unintentionally ran completely negative splits and caught a beautiful sunrise. Wednesday I was able to break up my run and do my first 3 miles on the roads, with the last 5 on the technical trails at Freidrich Park. I’m still exploring some of the shorter trails, and I had meant to run 7.5 but got in a bonus half mile, haha.
Thursday and Friday were fairly uneventful runs in the morning hours before work, and then Saturday I started my 24 miles in 24 hours running challenge promptly at 5am. I covered that pretty extensively already, so I won’t repeat 🙂
I am still really loving the opportunity to work more of my miles onto the trails, and I’m looking forward to working in other running challenges leading up to my 50 miler. At this point I have the 4x4x48 Ultra challenge and a 100 mile week on my radar. The Yeti challenge is similar to what I tackled this weekend. However instead of one mile every hour, you run 4 miles every 4 hours. Which covers 48 total miles after the full 48 hours. It sounds terrifying and exciting, and I think it’ll be a great opportunity to learn how to recover and run on dead legs. I’m still concerned about the sleep part of that business, though.
What I’ve Been Listening To
I’m still loving the Run Hard, Mom Hard podcast, and I’m really excited to say that the episode I did with the ladies should be going live this Friday, 5/1/20! I’ve also been loving some of the most recent episodes UltraRunner Podcast and And That’s Why We Drink. I’m definitely in need of some new true crime, so if you’ve got any interesting recommendations, please shoot them my way.
How the WODs felt
I completed the final Support Your Local Box WOD this week on Sunday, and I have to say it wasn’t as terrible as I thought it would be when I looked at the rep scheme. Tuesday’s WOD was a little insane. I’m not sure why I thought 3 rounds of DT was a good idea, but it was a really hard workout. I used 25# dumbbells, and as much as I miss barbells, I was pretty happy to have some light weights on hand.
The rest of my workouts this week were equal parts tough and interesting. My kid and I continued to head out to his school for most of my workouts this week. Friday’s workout was fairly challenging, but if I hadn’t been preparing to run the 24 hour challenge I think it would have been a fun one to try 4 or 5 rounds. The kettlebell and I have been getting closer every week it seems like.
What Went Well
This week felt really great overall. My runs and paces clicked without any issues. I was able to get in core workouts on Sunday, Tuesday, and in between two of my runs on Saturday. Working from home without traveling has been a great opportunity for me to train consistently, spend more time with my guys, and make sure I am eating well. It’s been a little mentally draining playing the Ground Hogs Day game, but I’m happy to say that we’ve stayed healthy and active, which is a win for sure.
What Went Shitty
I don’t think I spent quite as much time stretching as I have during recent weeks. All of the dumbbell and kettlebell work has meant that my body has been sore in places that I’m not usually sore, and I could probably use a little more attention to stretching. I will say that I got in some good mobility work in between runs on Saturday.
Plans to Improve Next Week
Next week I plan to keep focusing on the running consistency I’ve been building. It will definitely be a cut back week in terms of mileage, and I’m sure my body will be very appreciative.