Have you ever wondered what your mind and body can do if you just tried? That moment when you let go and dive into a great adventure. Michelle Frew just completed a 100 miles on her treadmill this past weekend for the Aravaipa Strong Virtual Race . Let her take you on her journey into the running world.
I never played sports as a child or got involved in any outdoor activities as an adult. My husband mountain biked and he would take the kids out for hikes. I just had no interest.
It wasn’t till January of 2013 that I completed my first race. It was a five mile race. So how did I discover my addiction to running? It was in San Francisco on November of 2012. We were visiting and a marathon race was being held there one morning. I watched and instantly became interested.
Fast forward to today, I’ve completed over 50 half marathons, over 10 full marathons, and multiple ultra distances including now two 100 milers. One of my goals is to run all 50 states, 43 of which have been completed including DC. Boy have I changed!
Now it’s 2020 and it’s been a little disappointing so far. With three of my planned races canceled, I felt kind of lost.
One day, I was scrolling through Instagram and saw someone post about a virtual race with Aravaipa Running. I looked into it on their website and watched their YouTube episode about this race. When I saw the 100 mile belt buckle they were awarding, I wanted it!
So I signed up instantly. However, there was one slight problem. I didn’t train to complete this distance. How was I going to accomplish this challenge? Prior to signing up, I inquired on the guidelines for completing the race. Their response was runners could take as long as the race was going on. So then I thought of a few ways I could accomplish this…
- 14.28 for 7 days
- 25 miles a day for 4 days
- Run day one as much as I can. Then take it from there.
I woke on “race day” and stepped onto my treadmill…
I got to mile 25 and was feeling ok. My appetite was on point and I was drinking plenty of water and electrolytes. I knew I could do more, but 25 more?
My new treadmill had only just arrived a few days ago so I was still unfamiliar with the IFIT programs installed on it. I chose my first segment as a hike in Scotland……omg that was a mistake.
The treadmill adjusts the incline and decline as you take your journey with the instructor. Well, this segment was 1.98 miles with an elevation gain of 1,235! I completed that segment and thought, “I won’t last with elevation gain like that!”.
Mile 35-50: seemed like eternity. I wanted to be done! But, since I was alone this weekend I thought what else do I have to do. Just keep going girlfriend and get this done! Those miles were tough.
After completing the first 50 miles with an elevation gain of 3,799. I was doing the marathon shuffle and my lower back was sore. I thought, “how am I going to run tomorrow?” One thing I was happy about was I had no blisters.
Day two: My legs felt refreshed and I had no soreness. Did I even run? I was amazed. But I didn’t think I felt strong enough for another 50 miles. I texted my hubby and told him if I could do another 25-35 miles today, I’ll be happy. His reply was at that point just finish and do the 50! Yeah ok, was my thought! LOL
Stepping onto the treadmill, I was running stronger and a tad faster than yesterday.
I really felt great! I was doing a walk/run program .25 walk and .75 run every mile. This was how I trained for my first 100 miler. I even set a PR back then with running 30 consecutive miles on my treadmill.
When it came to mile 25, I looked at the time and thought, “omg I might be able to do this!”. My appetite wasn’t on point like the day before but I was still making sure to take in a gel and drink my electrolytes.
By mile 36, bam, I hit that wall of doubt and tiredness. Some time after this I got messy and wacked the stop pull cord right off my treadmill. I bet you can imagine my horror! I froze with sad and nasty words, LOL. I stepped down to pick it up off the floor and plugged it back in. Miraculously, Ifit turned back on and it said “resume workout” thank you Jesus!!!
I was tired and feeling like this was the end for me. Not to mention I didn’t have cheerleaders on the sideline telling me “you got this!”. I had to turn that brain around myself. During my walk segments, I began reading everyone’s encouraging words on my Instagram posts and that helped push me through. Thank you, friends.
Mile 43: My ankle was starting to feel very weak. The incline and decline made it feel worse, so I shut down the trainer option and kept the treadmill flat.
The last seven miles were filled with fear and doubt.
With every step I could hear my foot slapping the treadmill louder and harder than it should. At times, my ankle was giving out. I would hold onto the rails of the treadmill until I felt comfortable that my ankle would hold me up. Still, I kept thinking, “I didn’t come this far to end up injured or have to finish these last few miles on Sunday”. I wanted to finish. So as I ran (walking made it feel less stable), I focused on my foot form and stayed positive.
When I got to mile 49, I felt so much joy that I was almost there that I sped up my pace during that last mile. Crazy thing is it actually made my ankle feel less painful.
Then, I freaking did it! I laid down on my treadmill and the overwhelming feeling of gratefulness came over me.
My husband had been tracking me through my Garmin app and he sent me a text. “You did it” I sure did, I completed 100 miles on my treadmill (with no training) Plus, I set a new PR on my treadmill with 50 consecutive miles. I agree, I’m crazy!
Would I do it again? Hope not!
So why did I choose to do this challenge on a treadmill? I am a rare bird, I really do love the treadmill.
How did I feel Sunday morning? My left ankle was swollen. However, no bruising or redness was going on. Phew! I had a blister that wrapped around my pinky toe. Thankful it never bothered me during my run. The inside of both my knees literally felt like I banged them together for a week. I had a slight marathon shuffle, starving, and wanted to go for a walk. Mid-afternoon I did. I was bored.
A bit more about Michelle….
Michelle lives with her husband in the beautiful state of Arizona. They have been married since 1992 and have two wonderful children who are now grown. You can follow her adventures on IG at runningthirteenpointone