September 3rd, 2011 was such a crazy day, I almost don't even know where to begin. I guess it all started as a challenge. Not a personal challenge. Not a dare. Just "a challenge". While logging my miles on DailyMile one day, I was cruising through some of my "friends" entries and there it was. Staring at me. The Do Epic Shit 24 Hour Non Jog challenge, posted my fellow DM'er, the Una Runner (aka, Logan). I was intrigued. A friendly challenge set up to see how many miles one could log in a 24 hour period. Set up because he was missing out on an actual 24 hour trail race, this was more of challenge for Logan, and a way to inspire others along the way (at least that's my interpretation, cause that's what eventually happened with me, but I'm getting to that). "This guy is nuts"I thought, although this wasn't surprising in the least because Logan has been doing some pretty insane/epic things since I started following his training. I continued to log my miles and that was the end of that. Or not.
The next day, there it was again. Another post promoting his "Do Epic Shit 24 Hour Non Jog" challenge. This time I clicked the link and read the description. Why I did it, I'm still not sure. Maybe I just finished a good run and was feeling daring. Maybe my sub-conscience was looking for excuses to do the extraordinary, but I clicked join. What the hell, right? I had no goals of winning the thing (and not the point of the challenge), and in the least I could see what I was made of. Besides, I could stop at any time.
The weeks went by and the day of the challenge arrived. I had it all previously worked out to run multiple shorter runs with brief to extended breaks throughout the day, with a goal of 50 miles in mind. Unlike Logan, I would not be running for long periods of time. He was training for an upcoming ultra; I was not running an ultra until next year. I decided I would run between midnight and midnight. At least that was the plan. I finally hit the road for the first of my runs at 1:30 am. Five miles later, I was back in bed and getting some sleep before my son woke. I was voluntarily losing a large chunk of my day. I wasn't taking this too seriously, remember (lay on the heavy foreshadowing here)?
The first half of the day is really a boring story. I woke up early, snuck in a treadmill run, then got my son ready and brought him to his grandma's. Then I ran. Then I ran again. And again. Five miles here, 10 miles there, and so on. By 4:00 pm, I was 16 hours in to my day and had 40 miles behind me. Up until this point, I was feeling good and actually having a good time! But somewhere out there, something happened. Somewhere in those runs, I decided that I actually wanted to do this thing!
The plan for the whole day was to keep the runs short in hopes that, although it would make getting in the miles more difficult, it would make the miles I did run a little easier. But now I had new goals creeping in my head. 60 was not out of the realm of possibility, and should I dare even think of the idea of more? Blinded by these elusions of grandeur, I decided mid run to make a 10 miler into a 15 miler (ended up at 13). If I was going to do this, I needed to get moving. These are the moments when I need to tell myself that I am an idiot. A week of mental preparation and planning thrown out the window mid run? Yep. I am an idiot. I survived the run, but by the time I got back, it was over. Hell, the run put me at 53 on the day. A number I could have been proud of. Shit, it even surpassed my goal. I had four hours left on my day and my body was ready to call it a success. Unfortunately, my body is connected to my brain, and after 53 miles, it wasn't working too properly!
I went home and regrouped. A couple hours on the couch, a few slices of pizza, and the best Newcastle I have ever had in my life later, and I was feeling refreshed (as refreshed as someone who just ran 53 miles can be anyway). Although motivated for one final push, I had no willpower to head back in to the darkness to finish this right, so I sally'd up (apologies to any Sally's out there) and hit the treadmill for one final push. I kept it slow, I cranked the tunes, and I hit the start button. With every mile closer to 60, I could feel myself getting stronger, more excited. Every mile closer I was hitting the speed button and speeding up just a bit (I also just wanted it to be over). 60 came and went and I ended the day running the same pace I started with a grand total of 61 (it just seemed cooler than 60)!
The story could, and for all purposes, does end here. But this day, these runs, could not have been possible without the support of those enduring (and following) the pain along with me. To all my fellow DM'ers who cheered myself and others on as we attempted the "Epic", I thank you. My motivation lies with you (and a little internal competition). I am truly grateful.