Well, I certainly tested that quote out to the max!
I then also did something else quite amazing! I listened to my body! It said "BROKE" at 20 hours and 60 miles! I didn't listen to my ego, pride and stubborness, for a change. It was to save me from spending the night in a hospital bed!
I knew I was in for a tough challenge on so many levels. The Longest Day Run Challenge. The Longest day of my life! I was going to do 24 hours non stop on a Dreadmill, in my Ducksuit. Possibly even aim for 100 miles total. Think big! So, with that in mind, what were going to be my issues?
- I hate dreadmills.
- I hate working out indoors
- Dreadmills are a confined space that will restrict body movements so there will be more wear and tear on certain joints - hips, ankles, knees in my case!
- Motion sickness - balance is compromised when you move body about!
- Boredom - go figure! On a road to nowhere, except hell and back!
- Unknowns - I actually had no idea how far I could run/walk or how long my body could last working out and staying awake.
- heat - I was in the Ducksuit and that is not a cool suit. Plus the aircon in the gym isn't great and windows could not be opened (safety and stops aircon working)
- Gym TV & Radio - I am in a gym being used by others so I can not comandeer the programs or volume.
- Food and drinks - I was at the mercy of others to top me up with supplies as this was a non stop event, except needing a pee.
So, having given all that some thought I made sure I had a strategy in place to make sure the challenge was as painless and fun as possible!
- Mind over matter strategy that worked so beautifully for the Forces March.
- Stare out of the window or go into a daydream about countryside.
- Avoid moving head around.
- Had an iPod loaded with music and audio books
- Just crack on and go for it.
- Mind over matter.. I survived the Marathon des Sables conditions of The Forces March!
- Use iPod, engage in chats, get over the BBC Extra annoying program! Learn from new music!
- Ask! there were lots of people who were happy to chat and eager to help. I actually lots of visitors who were happy to make up a protein drink or energy drink. Some even came bearing food and thermos flasks of tea (Thankyou Liz and Ken!)
But until you actually do a challenge like this you have no idea where all those strategies will take you!
I had a good selection of wheat free snack size bites, savoury and sweet, wet and dry. I also had protein drinks, liquid superfoods (Peronin), energy drinks in abundance! I had a thermos of tea! But after 8 hours I lost my appetite. Nothing appealed. Ken brought in a peanut butter wrap and that was wonderful! But I couldn't bring myself to eat the 2nd one about 4 hours later. I had also stuck to protein drinks and Peronin in the first 4 hours and was happily running/jogging at between 4.5-5.5mph. I then had a dizzy moment, and checked my heart rate. That was at 180! I then eased down to a slower walk at 3.5 mph for about 20 mins. The family had arrived and they realised I wasn't looking good so cakes and chocolates were forced into my hand, then into my mouth. Instantly I was revived! Doh! When will I learn that this is not the time to impose weight loss frame of mind! The body needs fuel and REAL food!
I had visits from a variety of people from nearby and afar! Sarah with Adam and Nick (neighbours), Liz with Lotty and her own little darlings, Angela and Jamie Liu (who was doing his martial arts grading and was succesful!), Sharky, from Bridgewater (@sharkyontherun twitter fame) who had just run a full marathon outdoors with Tracey Moggeridge (@traceymoggs twitter fame), Ken, from down the road, (who was then sweet talked into being a part of Team Pegasus), Graham Saxby, from Crawley (already sweet talked into Team Pegasus) and dear Matt Robinson (@mattrobinson32 on twitter)! He had also run 5 miles with Tracey, then joined me to do a 15 mile run for his Longest Day Run challenge, so a grand total of 20 miles! Derri, my son also joined me for the night and walked a wonderful 7 miles on the treadmill. He doesn't do exercise! Jackie and Gary came at 9pm straight from a huge dinner, and the tried to do some miles without getting a stitch! Ryan came to see me from Southampton, at 8am, just as I was leaving the gym! So he came back for a cup of tea and natter. Tricia Watkins came in at 7am and cheered me on that final looooong hour! you are all my heroes! Oh my, I also forgot to mention my very good friend Chris Hilson who popped in after a visit to Sweatshop! I have persuaded him to do Shine and hopefully be a part of Team pegasus. Glad to know he has purchased training kit at last!
These people all came to give me smiles and moral support. I am truly blessed! Ken, the tea and peanut butter wraps were delicious!
From about 12th hour I was struggling with motion sickness and loss of appetite. I was also struggling with the pain from my right foot. I could feel the bruise as if I was walking on a mountain! I took 3 paracetemols to kill the pain. It dulled it.
In the 13th hour the blister between my toes erupted. It felt like red hot pokers being rammed through the core of my foot and up my calf into my stomach. I took 3 more paracetemols. The pain eased a little.
In the 14th hour I felt as if my foot was going to split into a million pieces, and the pain went up through calf, into my stomach and into my head. I was struggling with mind-over-matter-die-hard-duck philosophy.
In the 15th hour I took 3 more pain killers to ease the stomach cramps that had started and dull the pain in my foot, shin and calf.
All the time there is a fun banter and antics from Ken, Graham and Matt. Their laughter and commentry for the JML rubbish adverts were a distraction but my smiles got weaker. The motion sickness was compounded by trying to read the text subtitles to the TV, and the gross Chicken Rotissery JML ad!
I am also trying to read the messages on Twitter and Facebook. Again, the motion sickness made it hard to read and digest! I then saved myself to just tweet the updates of time and distance!
I was growing acutely aware that my body was really starting to have problems. From the 14th hour I was unable to get anything in my body. I tried to have the protein drinks, but they just went straight through. I tried nibbling at cakes and the 2nd peanut butter wrap. But stomach rejected it either by sickness or the worst, the runs.
From 4am I had no energy. I had not been able to eat, or refuel. I was keeping up fluids, just. The Lucozade lites were just about ok as not too sweet or heavy. It was at this point my tweets were starting to show signs of failure. I had messages back saying stay strong, and that I could manage 24 hours on the treadmill.
This was now the Dreadmill to Hell! My mind was in a spin. What to do? Would I be a failure if I had to throw in the towel, admit defeat? It was just Matt and I now. Everyone had gone home, Derri was fast asleep on a stretch mat. Matt was tired and really couldn' think how best to comfort or motivate me. Just to say only I could decide.
Fran, the Gym Manager had come in with a cold, to keep the centre open all night for me. She was giving up her freetime. With her cold she should have been in her bed. Not a small sofa in the foyer. I didn't want to let her down.
I had trumpeted the challenge through all corners of twitter and facebook! The Duck never quits! The Duck raises the profile of charities and raises money. On this occasion it was for Whizzkidz. I didn't want to let them down or the children needing wheel chairs. I didn't want to lose credability for other events or charities I am associated with. My brain was in a turmoil, and now I was getting tired. Thoughts were jumbled and not lucid.
But I wouldn't be any good as a broken Duck, or worse. The drama queen inside my body was screaming out I was going to die! Then the voices started! Oh my, it was a right party going on in my head!
I then put out a tentative tweet that I wasn't doing very well. Mixed tweets came back suggesting listen to body, others to carry on regardless.
This Duck loves a challenge. I had no other idea what I could do so had no boundaries. Challenges are about pushing the boundaries. If it is a boundary I needed then I redefined it there and then. I was going to make a final push to a nice round figure and finish at 20 hours. I was on empty, I had no right foot, but I still had attitude, inflamed by trying to get that new target and goal.
I had about 6 miles to do in a couple of hours. I had a focus. I gave it all I had left. I did it. And what was it?
Well, yes I did manage to get some big miles on for the Longest Day Run. I ran/walked/jogged 60 miles in 20 hours. But I also learned a few lessons. That not finishing what I set out to do is not always called Quits. I listened to my body and not my ego, pride, stubborness, nor my critics. That was a far bigger challenge. I will not attempt to do this challenge to conquer a potential Nemesis, to chase those elusive missed hours! I done good in my books. I over came a lot to get to 20 hours. If I had to, I would 24 hours outdoors!
When I got home I had the shakes and an awful stomach. I suspect the motion sickness, physical activity beyond tiredness inhibited my appetite. That was then compounded by overdosing on paracetemols. In the words of a dear friend and of the medical profession, I was nearly in a hospital bed. No challenge is worth that in my book. It is not fair on my family or me. My foot was cleaned up with some iodine and leviated rest, it will recover.
Reading through the tweets and messages on the comments board for the Longest Run you can't help but be moved by the stops people were pulling out to push themsleves beyond their own boundaries and ability. Some had never run yet did a half marathon! The weather was dire yet many went out on flooded, dark, roads. One person was running their first marathon, and had also got her family to run a mile at each stage, which they had never done before! Teams ran, individuals ran.. oh my! Simon Walkden (aka @mazymixer) be proud of yourself for getting so many people involved with your Dream! Sign me up for next year!
My other true hero is Fran, the centre manager. She has been rewarded with a box of Hero Chocolates and Champagne and a promise I won't subject her to that again!
Thank you to everyone who kept me company and supported me through the challenge. Plus your kind donations. Still time to doante, if you have "enjoyed" or "endured" this blog. as always, I write from the heart and with raw emotions. You always get the first write, and never a re-read and tweaked! probably why so many typos!
And significantly, this is the last Duck Suit Challenge! it will be washed and kept as a momento; a reminder of the fun 3 years I have had in it! So many challenges, events and fun! There will be more challenges from me, just not dressed as a Duck! Now, I must go and buy something girly and pink, not yellow!