Running is such an important part of my life. Whether it's a short run around the neighborhood or a long run with a friend, I rarely pass up the opportunity to run. Even though formal racing didn't really happen in 2020, the running community rose to the challenges presented by covid and came up with some creative ways to race virtually, like the Coach's Oats Challenge. I raced a couple halves independently during the year, though I did miss the race atmosphere.
How It All Started
When my friend Anita asked me to join her in an 8 week challenge back in November 2020, I was stoked! The challenge was called the Coach's Oats Challenge. If you want to read more about it, I have linked their website here. There were individual or team options for the following distances: 100, 250, or 500 miles. Teams could consist up to four individuals. We quickly opted for the 500 mile challenge, meaning we would both need to complete 250 miles within an 8 week time frame. This averages out to 4.5 miles per day or about 32 miles a week. You could count miles from running, hiking, or walking. Prior to starting the challenge, I was averaging maybe 15-20 miles a week. Many of the miles were with Mitchy in the jogging stroller though.
My Experience Running the Coach's Oats Challenge
We started our challenge on Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020, with our end date being January 27, 2021. Midway through the challenge, I made the decision I only wanted to count running mileage. This challenge did the unexpected because I quickly discovered that I was running so fast. Not only was I running fast at the start, I sustained my speed throughout the challenge. I will also note that I ran all 250 miles outdoors, often times in freezing temperatures.
The cold temperatures and winter conditions are way better than running on a treadmill. I am perhaps a bit too risky running on slippery surfaces, but I can't stand the repetitive pounding indoors on a treadmill. Fortunately, most of December was quite mild, so I didn't really have to deal with snow until January. There were even some days that were warm enough for me to run with Mitchy in the stroller.
I finished the challenge with the following stats:
- Distance: 250 miles
- Total Time: 32:57:30
- Pace: 7:55 min/mile
My teammate Anita is well over the 300 mile mark already. She is truly amazing!
I am so proud that I finished under an 8 minute pace. We so often find ourselves caught in a routine and never truly test the limits of what we are actually capable of. I experienced this firsthand with my running in this challenge, but I think it applies to all aspects of life, really. This challenge really gave me the confidence that I had been missing as a runner for several years. I also feel more confident in general about my potential in other aspects of life, especially as a mom, blogger, and food photographer. Most importantly, the running made me feel energized and happier each day. If you are a fellow runner, you know exactly what I am talking about.
What About You?
My challenge for you is to do something to push you out of your comfort zone. It doesn't have to be for 8 weeks or related to fitness, but I think disrupting your normal routine aids in personal growth. I finished the challenge with four days to spare and am looking forward to a few rest days. I will miss logging my miles though after running and seeing my progress. However, you can count on me to be back out running in time, and most definitely with a new goal or two!
Here are a few highlights of the challenge. Special thanks to my sister Olivia for capturing the last photo!
My first run with Mitchy!
Longest run with Mitchy - 10 miles! He was so good!
I love when running feels effortless!
Sometimes I am super fast! I was on cloud 9 this day!
Ringing in the new year!
I was so close to breaking 1 hour on my 8 mile run this day!
Challenge done on a chilly Saturday with a fast 5 miles!
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