The 30-Mile Test

During Run2Heal, my goal is to run 30 miles a day, 5 days a week. I plan to run 15 miles in the morning, and 15 and night, leaving the meat of the day for working, media, and fueling. To run as efficiently as possible, and maintain constant recovery, I have embraced a 3/1 interval method.

On October 21, 2017, I set out at 3:00 a.m., to run from my house in Jacksonville Beach, FL to St. Augustine, FL, to both satisfy a commitment to a $2500 Run2Heal donor and test the 3/1 interval plan I have been practicing for the transcontinental run.

Miles 0-10 | "Oh this is easy"

It was dark, quiet, breezy, as I ran down the Coastal Highway, and all I could hear were the breaking waves, the shuffling of my feet, and the water bouncing around in my hydration bladder. 

My watch would beep for every running and walking interval and even though I felt like running through the walk breaks, I knew better. It was going to be a long morning.

Even though I am currently training as a Keto athlete, I am also taking advice from my nutrition trainer who had me "dripping" carbohydrate as I ran. He suggested hard candy, I chose gummi bears, and that was my first mistake. Sugar upsets my stomach during the run, immediately sending me into a porta-potty at a lowly construction site along the beach. This would be the pattern for the day.

First lesson: No gummi bears. Figure out something else. Or, nothing. 

Miles 10-20 | "This is becoming harder than it should"

This section of the run was a bit of a perfect storm. I was released from the peaceful neighborhoods and dumped onto A1A. Still a coastal highway, but with cars driving 75+ MPH and certainly not expecting to see a dude running down the road at, what is now, 6:00 a.m. It added some stress to run, so I figured I'd just hit the beach for awhile and chew up some miles on the beach.

Huge mistake. I entered the beach in the Guana Reserve and it was high tide. Not wanting to backtrack, I chose to deal with it. What I found was super soft sand with no relief and no way to get back to the road for miles. It was hella frustrating and soft sand was sucking the life out my body creating additional effort for little gain.

Second lesson: Stay off the soft sand, and when you do make a mistake in route, don't try to fight through it. Go back, evaluate and reset. There is energy loss in mental anguish.

I eventually got back to the road but was very fatigued, frustrated, and feeling low. I was feeling way too tired for this short of a distance and this slow of a pace. I ate more gummi bears and immediately had to go to the bathroom. Ugh.

"This run is falling apart," I said to myself.

Miles 20-30 | The Awakening

19 miles in and frustration is in full effect.

I felt exhausted, my water bladder was empty, and I felt like I had been slothing along in this lonely Reserve forever. St. Augustine seemed like a million miles away and I started to question my "why."

Up ahead I saw a store. I had hoped that the hurricanes hadn't shut it down, and sure enough, once I arrived it was open and thriving. I walked in, grabbed a Monster Mango Loco, a bottle of water, and an Extra Strength 5-Hour Energy. I slammed the Monster and 5-hour together and filled my bladder with the water.

Holy crap, that's exactly what I needed. I woke up like a champ. After a few additional miles I got on Facebook live and shared my second update to the world sounding much more upbeat than I had been over the last two hours. Selective memory, I guess.

The rest of the run was simply a series of following the watch. Run, walk, run, walk, run, walk ...walk a little more. Walk a lot more. 

Before long, I made it to the bridge that connects Vilano Beach to St. Augustine and I broke into a brisk run up the bridge, down the other side, and sprinted to the "Welcome to St. Augustine" sign.

Mission accomplished. Commitment honored, training miles in the bank, and a bit o' learnin'.

What Did I Learn?

  1. I am fat-adapted or damn close to it and sugar really messes with me during physical activity. Other Keto athletes take in more fatty substances on the run and this makes more sense to me; however, I will discuss with Peter, my nutritionist.
  2. I am really good with the 3/1 interval in terms of the overall effect on my body and fighting off fatigue, but I was slower than I wanted to be so the running intervals should be trained at a faster pace. I want to maintain 5 MPH, easily and consistently.
  3. I ended up with only minimal blisters and my legs and feet faired well through the distance. With more of these in the training bank, I expect to acclimate perfectly.
  4. This was a completely flat run. In the real world, it won't be so flat. I need more hill training up and over the bridges to ensure I am trained properly by March.
  5. Speed training is necessary for me to increase my overall pace. I do not want to fall into a pattern of only being able to run 3/1 intervals. Need to keep mixing it up.

The Run Video

The video contains the FB Live updates and the eventual finish photo.

Christian GriffithComment