I first heard about this absurd challenge a few months back from my friends Carlee and Kat – the basic premise of this “ultra” was simple: run 5 miles every 4 hours for 24 hours, which, if executed correctly, would yield approximately 30 miles.
At the time, it did not sound like something I was remotely interested in. This was in April, near the beginning of Stay at Home orders (sigh), and I was still training for my marathon (double sigh).
Well, since then, I’ve been running the gamut of running-related emotions, and needed a positive outlet, which I was happy to find with my DONNA team, as well as a new goal: 110-miles! So, I figured I’d just start piling on the miles, and then come up with a proper training plan in the late fall.
Of course, once again, 2020 threw us some curveballs with a delightful late fire season, so that meant two weeks of no running, on account of bad AQI, as well as local fires and power outages. Nevertheless, once the air returned to crisp and clear, I knew I would never that for granted again, and started back on the run.
You still with me? 😉
Anywho, as my thumbs seemed to be getting a better workout than the rest of my body as I scrolled through Instagram, I re-happened upon the idea of taking on this Yeti Ultra 24-hour Challenge just last weekend. I thought maybe, I could take this on in a few weeks, and see how I held up. My friends Jess and Sam had just done a more extreme version of it – an extended David Goggins Challenge (the infamous 4x4x48 – four miles, every four hours, for 48 hours), so I felt even more inspired!
So, last night, I committed – with relatively good weather, decent running shape, and not much to lose (I officially have no “real” races on the horizon), I set out with my schedule, starting at 8:15 PM.
RUN 1: 8:15 PM – 5.06 miles, 47:19, 9:21 pace
Run 1 was like any other run, really. I often run after we put the kids to bed, so I stuck to my normal 5-mile. I listened to the “You’re Wrong About” podcast and just had a nice, easy run. Once I returned home, I showered, watch the “Father of the Bride 3-ish” special, then went to bed.
RUN 2: 12:15 AM – 5.1 miles, 48:57, 9:36 pace
Run 2 was a little weird, obviously, getting up to run in the middle of the night. I listened to the second part of the podcast I had started 4-hours earlier, and modified my route slightly to avoid the big up and down hill that I usually run (I’d run it earlier). I found it to be warmer than expected, and was able to run in my Oiselle flyout tank without getting sweaty, which allowed me to skip a shower after this leg (when I got home from the run I just sat quietly at the dining table sipping water). I changed into dry clothes, and set the alarm for 4 AM.
RUN 3: 4:15 AM – 5.11 miles, 49:31, 9:41 pace
This run was the hardest yet, I just felt like I was jittery from the alarm going off, and I couldn’t really relax. I switched to the WDW Radio Podcast and just tried to get in the zone. Not an eventful run, though I did see elk (in the distance), which was cool. Upon returning home from that run, I showered, wrapped my wet hair in a t-shirt and hit the hay to wake at 8 AM.
RUN 4: 8:15 AM – 5.05 miles, 47:15, 9:21 pace
After waking and getting dressed, I headed downstairs, where hubs and the girls were eating breakfast. I ate half of an english muffin sandwich, drank a glass of water, then headed out. This run, I was excited to listen to another episode of “You’re Wrong About” (about Anastasia!) and just zoned into the run. When I got back home and hit my Garmin, I was amused to see how close in pace that this run was to the first one.
RUN 5: 12:15 PM – 5.01 miles, 46:03, 9:12 pace
Now, believe it or not, this was the run I was most intimidated by. Despite the fact that it’s not “hot” by any means (it was 63 degrees), I’ve not done a midday run in – well, I can’t remember the last time I’ve done a midday run. Still, I laced up, loaded up my Spotify playlist, and just ran to an old mix I’d created for my marathon training, many moons ago. Fun fact in this run? I stopped at a friend’s house to pick up some old running gear, so I did this run with a cinch backpack, stopped at her house on the route, and carried the gear home! Extra bonus points for that? LOL
RUN 6: 4:15 PM – 5.10 miles, 51:22, 10:03 pace
I felt it big time on this run! I didn’t really feel fatigued, but OH MY GOSH, I had taken on some major CHAFE over the past two daytime runs and therefore, it was getting a little painful. Thankfully, I was able to push through with my pocket jogger shorts, which turned out to be even more great since about a mile it, the skies opened up and I was caught in a major downpour – I’m talking Florida-style, rivers running down the street, water sloshing in your sleeves and shoes, good ol’ fashioned rainy slog. Oh boy.
To alleviate a bit of the weather, I altered the course to hop onto a gravel trail that had a steep grade and I did a fair amount of alternating walking and jogging. I finished up the run with a small burst of energy and brought it in, a grand total of 30.39 miles at a pretty peppy clip.
SO, WAS IT WORTH IT?
Absolutely, yes! With the absence of “normal,” in-person races, this scratched my itch for something out of the box, challenging, and left me feeling proud of my accomplishment.
I don’t fathom doing another challenge like this anytime soon, as I correctly hypothesized that I’d prefer to get a long distance done in one fell swoop, rather than with restless intervals, but I appreciated the “different” feel of exhaustion.
I would recommend this challenge to anyone looking for a little push, and believe you me – you’ll feel that victory at the end!
Thank you to my dear husband for humoring me in this endeavor, and my kids for not driving him TOO crazy today! 😉
So, if you’ll allow me to pop outta here…time to EAT!
Additional info: I rotated four pairs of shoes for this challenge:
- Reebok FloatRide Run Fast (leg 1)
- New Balance FuelCell Rebel (leg 2 and 5)
- Hoka Clifton 6 (leg 3 and 6)
- New Balance FuelCell Echo (leg 4)
Also, since this challenge took place during the Womxn Run the Vote Relay, it was extra fun to enter my runs and see that at the point I submitted my 4th run, my “Sunshine Voters” teammates and I had crossed the finish a day early (680+ miles)!