A Broken Marathon – Maddie Project Training Part 1

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I recently signed up for my first ultra-marathon type event,  a 4x4x48 challenge, where I’ll be running 4 miles, every 4 hours, for 48 hours, from March 5-7, 2021.

The event is organized by The Maddie Project in support of Kids Mental Health, and North York General Hospital. 

From a glance,  6.44 km, every 4 hours, for 48 hours, seems easy, almost too easy.   Realistically even if everything went wrong I could easily walk my way through with time to spare.

On the other hand, I’m not a good napper and 77.28 km over two days with little rest may be a recipe for disaster.

With the event only 10 weeks away, this past Saturday I decided to run a baseline test the next day.  With 6.44km feeling too easy, I decided to push myself by running a broken marathon, four sessions of 10.5km, every 4 hours, starting at 8 am.

If this goes well, I planned to follow this up later in January with a 24-hour event, followed by the main event in March.

8:00am – Run 1 – 10:06km – 53:26

Run 1 Done and Feeling Fine

I typically follow a very specific morning routine, and running is not a part of that.

I woke up at 7:10, ate my breakfast, headed out the door, and just a short time later it’s safe to say my body and mind were not impressed.

The run itself went well, and for the most part, felt well, but my stomach and mind were a mess. 

As you can see from the distance, I couldn’t even process basic math, thinking 42.2 divided by 4 equals 10.05 rather than 10.55.

12:00pm – Run 2 –  10.56 – 1:02.26

Entering the Excellent Trails of the Hinder Property from Bathurst North of Sheppard

For my second run, I decided to head south and explore the trails around Earl Bales Park and was blown away by all that I found.  

Passing Under Sheppard Between the Hinder Property and Earl Bales

If you’ve never run Earl Bales before, it’s like cross-country in the city with some of the best trails, and views that I’ve around.  As an added bonus Don Valley Golf Course was fully open for running, snowshoeing, skiing, and hiking.  I will definitely be coming back.

Earl Bales Park Stomwater Management Pond

With the run done, by 3:00 I was feeling fantastic, even briefly doing the math to see what the splits would be to run a broken 100km over 24 hours.  It’s 10km every 2:24 minutes if you’ve ever wondered.

4:00pm – Run 3 – 11.05 – 1:00.35

Looking Out Over the G. Ross Lord Resevoir and Dam from Dufferin North of Finch

All I can say is it’s amazing how comfortable you can get when you’ve run hard, have had the opportunity to relax, and know you’ll be running again.

As I mentioned before at three I was feeling fantastic, by four I wanted to run no more.  My legs were tired, my body was tired, I’d already been cold twice, and all I wanted was to rest and recover.

As I headed out the door and took my first steps, my mind and body, having twice recovered, were not happy with me.  As I took those first steps, my mind started racing, firing away every excuse to quit, telling me what a selfish person and parent I am, asking me what business I had to be doing such a crazy thing when instead I should be focused on my family, enjoying quality time with the people I love, all excellent points by the way. 

At the same time, I convinced myself to run on, I thought of the excellent views as I passed over the G. Ross Lord Reservoir Dam, I thought about how I would feel at the end, and before I knew it, what started hard was once again easy.

8:00pm – Run 4 – Did Not Start

Coming home after the 4:00 pm run I felt pretty good, one more run, and it would all be over, success would be mine.  

In short order I could feel my muscles seizing up, by the time dinner was done at 5:30 I was exhausted, thinking about how I’m not trained for this, how by continuing I’ll probably even hurt myself.  Not even that, but how could I not be present for my family over the holidays, what type of terrible person am I, and with that, I threw in the towel.  

The Aftermath

Throwing in the towel was a mistake, where at 5:30 I was a disaster, by 7:30 I was ready to go, however, with the towel already thrown in, the family was the priority.

I realize now that distance probably won’t be the challenge with the Maddie Project 4x4x48, but the mental aspect will be.  It’s amazing how much your mind and body can trick you into quitting.  The crazy part is, once I did, within short order I felt great.

4×10.5×4 I’m not done with you yet.  I’m not sure when, but I do know that within the next fourteen days victory will be mine.

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