I set my sight on doing it on the first Saturday of lockdown I am an eager beaver. I marked the route and sorted the aid station made some custom race banners for my start/finish and aid station. I looked at the weather the night before and the chance of rain was 80% in the morning and 100% later in the day, but you know trail runners, they go out and find the challenge. The possibility of rain wasn’t going to deter me! I set my start time for 8 am, after negotiating with my family and considering the neighbours I went to bed I was nervous but excited.
At 8 am, I stood at the start line with no real hype, no pump-up music, no mc getting the crowd fired up. I pushed start on my watch and I was off on an endeavour that would change my view of life forever.
1km in, I realized that I was averaging about 9min a km, that’s about my walking speed on a normal day. I did some quick math and realized that I was looking at a good 7-hour journey of discovery 7 hours to run a flat marathon ridiculous.
7km in my crew/family started waking up, my father cheering for me at the window on the one side of the house and then running to the other side to cheer me on. At this point the novelty of it all was still great and the stoke level was high. It is also around this time the first
rain showers would emerge, this particular one was not that bad. It was only a few minutes of mild rain and then a drizzle, all in all, it lasted about 30min.
10km in, It was just under 2 hours and at this moment I realized that my watch had crashed and reset itself losing all of the effort I had done. I was thrilled that I had been counting my laps; restarting would not be an ideal situation.
Halfway 21km in this is where things started getting tough. Normally I feel quite good at this point many of my training runs in the weeks prior would be longer. It felt like I had run more than 30km. My knees and hips were feeling every turn more and more. The realized that this was going to hurt and not just a little, it was evident I was in for a deep exploration of my pain cave. As I reached 21km I stopped for a few minutes and had some butternut soup definitely the best aid station meal I had ever had by a long shot.
28km in, it started raining again, and this time it was no joke it bucketed down. With the combination of the rain and the colder weather of the past week, I was freezing. I put on a long shirt over my base layer as well as waterproof jacket gloves and a buff. I was soaked to the bone, my shoes were double the weight, and I felt like I was slogging through mud. The rain wasn’t all bad; it brought some much-needed variation.
My family came out and sat in the garage and the living room counting my laps. My hands were in my rain jacket trying to not freeze. All the videos and photos are courtesy of my father. My family/Crew stayed in the cold watching and counting lap after lap. The rain continued bucketing down for more than an hour. I had contemplated stopping and waiting out the weather, but I knew If I stopped, I wouldn’t want to go back out. Another hour passed and 90 more laps and the rain ceased. A moment of sheer joy erupted and the end started to become a not so distant reality despite crossing the finish line hundreds of times.
I was soaked but smiling, this was awesome! I had been pushing my limit of what I thought possible. I was running in the most adverse weather I could have gotten on the day and kept ongoing. I was in my happy place pushing the limits of my ability.
37km in, the mental challenge at this point became bigger than the physical. I had 5km left and the boredom was getting real. I had passed every point on the course more than 370 times, it felt like I was going nowhere but at the same time somewhere…
The tough reality of the undertaking got to me, I questioned everything I was doing In life. The beauty of pushing your limits is you get to a place where you’re absolutely exhausted and your ability to think diminishes and your inner self takes over.
The revelation I had in this place of vulnerability was that life is like running laps. It’s a new lap every day and you are faced with the choice run, walk or crawl. Every day gives you the choice to do your best (RUN) or just the minimum (CRAWL) required to finish.
Adjustment in life comes in many forms, some are long term adjustments and other adjustments are short term. Learning to deal with the adjustment of daily life, and life as a whole as it changes its not just a skill you need for now but a skill you will use throughout your life. Take the hard option to run and not crawl.
42,3km the finish I had been running for 7:37:00 this was a massive undertaking and I had achieved it despite all of the obstacles and challenges I had pushed my limit further forever.