Updated: Jun 23, 2020
There were some extremely low moments throughout the Canada to Connecticut Run. These were lows that scared me because in my short endurance career thus far, I hadn't even come close to the hard times I felt during this run. Every night after we'd finish running, I'd take my shoes off and my feet would be bruised and battered. As the week went on, the sides of my feet became black and blue from the repetitive road pounding and three out of five toes on each foot were burst open from exploding blisters. Don't get me wrong...I can't wait to continue upping my definition of difficult moving forward, but for me right now running from Canada to Connecticut in a single week was HARD. I shed tears, I screamed in pain, and I doubted myself along the way, but I found a way to get the job done.
In times of adversity, you learn a lot about yourself. There were moments when I didn't think I could finish, but powering through these doubts made me learn more about myself then I ever knew prior to June 12th. So here's everything I learned about myself during the 260 Mile Canada to Connecticut Run.
I'm a little crazy!
When I put this run together, I didn't even hesitate to accept this challenge when it was proposed by my father. We set the run up one month before we started running on June 12th and in April I had just run 100 miles in two days. This was my biggest mileage week ever at 110 and it didn't even occur to me how much larger 260 miles was than this number. It didn't hit me until I toed the border and took the picture in front of the Canada sign of how much running I'd actually be doing throughout the week. Despite this, I didn't get scared when I had my "Oh Shit" moment. I became excited about the opportunity I had in front of me to say I got the job done 7 days later when we reached Bloomfield, CT.
When you refuse to allow your mind to quit, your body will adjust to pain.
I'd wake up every morning limping from my bed to the bathroom. If you would've seen me when I woke up each day your mind would be blown that I was able to get through a full day of running for a week straight. The first two miles everyday were agonizing and many miles throughout the route hurt, but I refused to give up. I wanted to, but my mind knew I wouldn't stop and that allowed my body to adjust to the pain. By the middle of the run, the constant pain was present, but it just became the new normal in my 260 mile journey. The mind will quit 100% of the time before the body, so when you refuse to stop your body will continue moving forward.
When in doubt, relentlessly move forward.
I wanted to take really long breaks. I wanted to sleep. I wanted to stop, but this wasn't allowing us to gain ground. Trying to minimize breaks was one of the toughest parts of the week for myself. I learned that not taking action will not create any progress. Even if my body broke again one mile later, I'd be one mile closer to the finish line. Don't hesitate and keep hammering.
When you feel you have nothing left, you're not even close to being done.
This is close to David Goggins' saying that when you think you're done, you're only 40% of the way there. Going into the run I knew there was truth to this statement, but I hadn't hit a true physical test that I needed to overcome to achieve success. The turning point of the trip for me was day 4 where we were 23 miles into a 40 mile day. I couldn't put pressure on my left leg and I thought that'd be the end of my run. I ended up icing for 20 minutes and in that time I had my doubts, but I thought "What if I could pull this off?" After the ice came off, my leg felt even worse, but I wasn't going to stop and seven miles later I was running better than I had run all day long. The last five miles were difficult because I think the adrenaline wore off, but I got it done and in that moment 17 miles earlier I thought we'd be driving back home to Connecticut three days early.
I'm very happy this week of running is over, but there is a part of me that wishes we were still running from Canada to Connecticut. One thing is certain though...I can't wait to start training for the next crazy challenge that I get to put my body through and find out more things about myself that I never knew!
What have you learned about yourself in your physical challenges? I'd love to hear! Comment, send me an email, or reach out on social media!