The Day I Decided I Would Run 30 Miles

When you become injured, it is understandable that one would completely trash their original training plan.

I had to even consider dropping out of the JFK 50 due to my lack of training.

Thankfully, I met a chiropractor who has improved my conditions to the point where I can run again, but my longest run within the last month had only been 14 milet. I even had to do walking intervals due to my fitness loss.

The very next day, Peter and I decided to take it to the Appalachian Trail for a 13 miler. I was nervous because I thought I would have had to give up. It's a really challenging trail for an inexperienced trail runner (me) with all the rocks and steep climbs.

I also hadn't been able to practice on the AT in weeks. So I had to go. If I didn't, I was just proving to myself I was not ready to take on the JFK. 

My knee did start to hurt within the first 3 miles, but it was the first time I was working various muscle groups to dodge rocks, climb and descend various elevations. It's not something any road can offer.

My knee eventually stopped hurting and the run ended up being a beautiful adventure. was a challenge.

We didn't get finished until after dark and going down the JFK 50 switchbacks when you cannot see is the scariest thing ever.

I was sore for a few days after, but surprisingly, I started picking up miles again that week. I did one 5 miler which went okay. Then, this past Thursday, I had a 7 miler. The first mile sucked and I wondered if I would cut it back to 5 miles, but I pressed on and my doubt turned to hope.

Hell, I even laid in the leaves because of my excessive happiness. 

It was in that run, that I fully believed I could do the JFK again.

So fast-forward to yesterday. There was a 25 miler on the schedule. I felt intimidated by the number as I had not run anything in the 20s in over a month. I even missed a valuable 30 miler due to injury. So I looked at this 25 miler as one I couldn't pass up. In fact, I was willing to cut it back to 20...just to be realistic.

The first 4 miles were tough. They were on the road, a terrain I had been avoiding for several weeks.  But once the sun came out and the temps rose, my muscles were warm and loose. My pain began to fade.

Once I was on the canal, I did intervals of running for 4 minutes and walking for 1 minute. I did this for 15 miles, then stopped to reassess my goals. 

I kept my watch running and started to walk for 5 minutes. I was playing with the thought of taking it the whole way to 30 miles, but the only way I could imagine getting there would be just letting go of all expectations. I would have to walk when my body insisted upon it. I wasn't going to allow myself to push through pain and exhaustion just to get to 30 miles, but somehow, my body still felt good with running 4 and walking 1. So I stuck to it.

When I made it to mile 25, I texted Peter and let him know that things were about to get interesting. I hopped off the canal and hit the road to my mom's house. I tried to switch from the intervals to simply walking hills, but I ended up getting pain in my knee when I would stopped running. So, I just started running them all. I think my pain receptors were off!

When I saw my watch hit 27, I started to lose it, but I was on Route 11 in Williamsport. It wasn't the time to start crying. I had 3 more miles to go and had to keep it together. Surprisingly, those miles FLEW. Sure, I was in a good bit of pain every where, but when you have already run so far, 3 more really isn't much of anything.

When I made it to my parent's and my mom opened the door, I began to cry. She probably thought I was crazy, hurt, or both. But I assured her I was just emotional since this was the first time I ever ran that far.

Honestly, I have no idea what to even say after this. I don't know how I managed to pull it off. I don't know where I gathered the strength or mentality to beat my goal of 25 miles. I don't even understand how I am still walking with just some minor calf soreness.

Regardless of how and why...I did it and am in complete disbelief. I have to keep looking at the watch to realize I didn't dream this. I suppose am capable of ultra marathons and I am capable of running the JFK. 

Have you ever pulled off an unexpectedly long or amazing run when hope was low?

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