300km, 310km & 320km

From one idea to another. The thought process of running a half-marathon per day for 15 days to a marathon per day for 8 days.

  1. 300km

The COVID lockdown cancelled all events and races for 2020 and my 30th birthday was coming up. We were still in near full lock down, but allowed to run in the parks. So how did I decide to celebrate? By running a half-marathon per day 15 straight days straight, while still going to work (apparently the work part is what many find craziest). Finished the final run totalling 300km on my birthday, had cake and drinks with a few friends and surprisingly, it all went rather smoothly. Small note, you have to eat A LOT of lasagnes and pizzas during such events, which is great of course. Beyond some minor calf pain, and not-so-exciting-audible-books, it was all good fun (the The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey was not as motivational during the run as I thought it would be).

2. 310km

COVID lockdowns are still on and there are no events. So how do I decide to celebrate? This time, 31km per day in 10 days. I believe one of the books I was listening to was Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky, which was clearly not fitting for the occasion either. Beyond sub-optimal book choices and a swollen foot that was giving me trouble (see photo), it all went pretty fine. Smiles all around.

3. 320km

Still no races, so what do you do? This time, 8 marathons in 8 days, while going to work (again, surprisingly it’s the work part that people find intense). Best reaction from an ultra friend: “What?! You went to work this whole time?”. I also donated to Ukrainian humanitarian assistance (this was a follow-up from an earlier 50km donation run). One euro for each km. I found this important wanted to begin connecting more activities with broader goals.

Overall, things worked out fine. BUT, on day 6, things got intensely frustrating. See minutes at the bottom of the post. The details are not exciting, there are no learning opportunities. Well, maybe some, but mostly just frustrating. Ended up barely finishing on day 7 at 11pm.

By day 8, 320km was done. We celebrate, have pizzas (for the millionth time) and drinks. When it was time to head back, there was no way I was going to take a taxi and so I run a few extra cheeky kilometres back home. Also, the day afterwards, I had to go dancing for 5 hours. I had to. The ultra ended up being a bit longer than I anticipated.

Running Minutes:

1) Evening of day 6 was the best run so far. 240km done. However, equipment is failing me and phone holder breaks while running. Other than that, it was also the fastest run to date and feeling great. Only one foot hurting due to blisters
3) Arrive home, major stomach problems (sneaking suspicion of food poisoning – had awful banana, but could have been something else)
4) Using Leatherman to try and fix worst blister ever. Blister covering what feels like half a foot, plus a deep deep blister, which needed a knife to fix
5) At 10pm, I begin shaking uncontrollably, I am barely able to move. Shaking for a full hour under the blanket with barely the ability to reach out for water. Shaking is virtually uncontrollable and I am close to pulling muscles as well. Luckily, the shaking resided after an hour via some chocolate bars, water and painkiller, but very high body heat remained through-out the night. Sweating buckets continuously
6) Somehow, my phone broke during episode 5) above, absolutely no idea why. So intensely annoying. Could not reach out to friends to ask for advice. Had to use Teams from my laptop instead. I also have no alarm clock. Argh
7) Morning of Day 7, still feeling high heat, no idea why. Spent the whole night sweating, sweating and sweating. Feels like poisoning, given I am not experiencing any flu like symptoms.
8) Covid test is negative. Run to the phone repair shop and called the owner before hand. Waited an an hour at the store, he did not show up. Ran back the same night. We spent an hour fixing it and by the time I got back home, it broke again. Argh. Still no phone and not feeling great. Eating double the amount of pizzas and lasagne now, it’s became clear that episode 5) was based on not fuelling enough. Still feel horrible, but manage to finish 40km by 11pm, in the dark, at the canals with no phone. Smart
9) Day 8. Wake up, run to the electronics store to buy a phone. Apparently, they had no dedicated staff for phones, which I was fine with. I said “can I just pick one anyway” and they said “sorry, we don’t hold them on stock, you’d have to come tomorrow”. Argh. Run to another shop. Luckily, they have a phone. I then run to another shop, buy a cover and then run to another shop to buy a running phone holder. Phew. Finally, it’s done.
10) After work, I head out with a few friends and finalize the 320 km.