PC: Tommy Martino

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Challenge Accepted

There are 89 days until the Boston Marathon! 89 days – holy buckets. The good news is I got in my first long in run last Sunday, 22 miles, but it rocked my world a bit (meaning I immediately laid horizontal on the couch post run with my furry friends and cat napped). I've also been fighting a cold (second one in a month, I might add… grrrrr) so I think it sent me into extra tiredness and post run lethargy. And this all comes after the previous week which included a half marathon followed by a Treadmill Challenge that I did five days later.

Treadmill Challenge you say   …. What pray tell is that? Well let me tell you! It’s madness, MADNESS! In all honesty, it was fun, (mostly afterward when I was done and sitting down) but it was for a great charity and probably the closest I’ll ever get to being famous/rock star/professional athlete and having people screaming at me and cheering for me.

Feeling goofy in the early stages of the first heat

Here’s the breakdown:

  • 6 men, 6 women & 3 treadmills on a stage
  • 10 minutes per heat
  • 12% grade
  • Each runner runs first heat
  • Top in each heat advance to final + next furthest distance
  • Charity: Youth Homes
  • Sponsored by Adidas,Runners Edge  & Big Sky Brewing Co

I’ve been asked a lot of great questions about the event so I think I’ll just answer them here. (Nerd Alert! interviewing myself)

What was it like running in front of all those people?
Weird, scary, nerve-raking, awkward…. Just to name a few. Now, I’m not one to shy away from being the center of attention (in fact I grew up on stage performing ballet, jazz, tap) but considering this was new, something I knew I wouldn't feel comfortable doing, I was nervous. I think my heart rate was 165 before I even started the first heat. In a race you run by people for a few seconds so you can put on a brave face, but this, there is no hiding when you are racing and not really going anywhere.

Was it loud?
Yes, loud (and really hot.) During Heat 1, I heard specific friends in the crowd cheering for me and I even looked up from the consol a few times. Heat 2 was a massive struggle to say the least. Head down, just tried to finish. I pretty much tuned out (or blacked out) everything. I think the kids are calling it the ‘Pain Cave’ these days…. Well I’m pretty sure I was buried in mine. For the record, the crowd and the announcers were AMAZING! So awesomely loud and enthusiastic. I’m sure the $2 Big Sky beers helped… but it wouldn't have been a successful event at all without them.

 I enjoyed cheering between my heats! 

Did you practice?
Ha, ha, ha… no. (I probably should have!) I was going with the ‘ignorance is bliss motto’ (dumb, dumb, dumb). I have been focusing on getting my weekly mileage up, so I did one minute at 12% about 2 weeks ago after a workout and thought, I better not do this for too long because I’ll talk myself out of it.  

Were you scared you were going to fall off?
Heat 1, no.
Heat 2, about 6 minutes in, hell yes. I felt that little bump at the back of the belt a few times. Luckily, it was quite obvious from my struggling form that I was possibly going down, so a few people stood behind me and next to me to grab me in case I crashed.

My white-knuckled pain cave.

How sore were you the next day?
Surprisingly not sore! I thought for sure my quads would be blow out and my knees would buckle when I got out of bed, but I remained upright and ran an easy 10 the next day.

Will you do it again next year?
If I’m invited and healthy, I’m in. I might even practice and work on that high heart rate threshold I don't often touch as a marathoner. It truly was an honor to share the stage with every runner up there. It’s not every day I get compete against the Canadian record holder in the 10,000M and a US National Mountain Running Champ. Seriously. These women are my heroes.

You can find more pictures from this inaugural event here (Photos by Vo-Tography)

Champions Nicole Hunt and Andy

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