So last weekend my business partner and I decided to take on a challenge.
Running 4 miles every 4 hours for 48 hours.
So let me set the scene, the world had recently gone from an attitude of ‘oh don’t worry about that Corona’……. to the imminent thought that Australia would be going into a full lockdown in the few days.
So what better time to get out and enjoy the great outdoors and run 4 miles every 4 hours for 48 hours.
I believe the challenge was the brainchild of the Marines and made famous by David Goggin’s taking on the challenge every year. At this point I would highly recommend David Goggins Autobiography ‘Can’t hurt me’ (my suggestion is to opt for the Audiobook, David gives a deeper dive into the trials and tribulations of his life to date).
So its Wednesday, we make the call that we are going to start the run at 8pm on the Friday and it will conclude once our legs cross the 4mile mark shortly after 4pm on the Sunday.
Running…..now I am pretty confident with that. When running is announced at my CrossFit gym(oh did I not mention I do CrossFit…) it is normally greeted with groans, I on the other hand like a good 4m-8m dash. Although upon completion of my own and only Half-Marathon I did pledge that I would never run such a distance again.
I prepare my food for the weekend just like any amateur whom has never embarked on a long distance endurance challenge before. Yes that right- lots of white pasta and chicken!!!! I prepare my gym gear for the run, along with my stretching area.
Now I am a creature of habit and I crave preparation for any task I am about to take on. So I turned to Google for hope and guidance and was not to inspired by what I read. The articles of previous participants of the challenge were pretty negative and too be honest read more like a danger notice then a grab your trainers and get it done pep talk!!! Interestingly there where not many ‘How to complete the challenge’ articles by David Goggin’s. Later I was to self-discover that this was due to 90% of the challenge being mental and nobody can really tell you how to tick over in your own mind.
So, the two practical pieces advice I have for people looking to embark on this challenge is to get as prepared as you can, you want as little decision as possible. AND stretch, stretch, stretch, stretch!!!
Now I don’t want to give you a run by run breakdown. I ran for 77km and a duration of 7hrs 41mins over a two day period, it would not be the most exciting commentary in the world.
So what is the ‘Challenge’????
The Challenge is not what some people were telling me, which was running two marathons over two days.
The Challenge is not what some people were asking me, which is what is your best split time.
The race goes for 48 hours, you just got to stay in the race.
Can you get yourself in a routine and can you stay in the routine.
You wake up at midnight, You get changed You stretch You run (in the dark) You shower You stretch You eat (your body tries to kick back the food but you still need it) You sleep(well you don’t really sleep as your adrenalin is still running high) You wake up and do it all again in 4hrs!!!!!
You miss any of the steps and you will feel it later on.
# 3 Challenge
The 4am run……I don’t know about you but my Hobbies and Interests on LinkedIn do not detail, ‘4am Runs’.
So when everybody is tucked up in bed, can you throw your runners on and hit the streets.
# 4 Challenge
I was in the mindset that I needed to get the first 6 runs ticked off, once this was done the challenge would really begin. Because 4 miles is not that far and you do get rest in between but once you have put your body through 24miles of running, the aches and pains will now begin to appear.
Now once you get going with each run, you can then begin to mute this out but the 1st mile is where your brain runs a post mortem on your body and you feel everything that is not feeling right!!!
That is the easiest point to stop and turn around and go back home…that’s the challenge.
Now when you are in this challenge you will have a lot of conversations….that’s conversations with your own head and those around you. Now some questions you will be asking for yourself and others will ask you are- ‘Why are you doing this?’ ‘What is the point?’ ‘Why don’t you just go back to bed? Nobody will ever know.’
Well this is where you need to muster the 1% of your mind that is not programmed into such language. This is where you need to summon the good wolf (Thanks to Jim Afremow- ‘Champions Mind’ book for that analogy) and silence everything else. You don’t need a reason to run, you just need to get on with it.
I have read this quote a lot – ‘It is not about the destination, it is all about the journey’. I know it has more cheese than a Margherita pizza! It has never rung true to me but not it makes a bit more sense now.
I never really had a crystal-clear reason for doing this challenge.
I just simply wanted a challenge. I wanted to be exposed to an environment where I needed to dig deep.
I wanted to expose myself to putting my sore Achilles into perspective with people who have ‘genuine’ injuries and diseases.
I wanted to sacrifice myself to trying to find the most remote bit of joy to get through any pain I was currently going through.
Give it ago, it wont hurt(that much!).