The Four by Four by Twenty-Four

Hi! It’s been quiet around here since June. I unintentionally let my blog go a bit dormant since then… I guess call it another summer break?

A few summer highlights: Life has continued since the last time I checked in. In July, I celebrated another trip around the sun with a 31K “Fat Ass” for my 31st at our local state park. The course was a 4-ish mile loop, starting and finishing at a pavilion we rented for the day. I invited friends to come out and join in for all or part of it. We had a fun, but hot, day of running and hiking. My dad even surprised me and came out to hang out for the day! We followed the run with a cookout at the pavilion. All in all it was a really fun day!

Barry and I camped at the park for the weekend, and the day following my birthday run/cookout we enjoyed some time on the (lakefront) beach.

There’s always Gin Rummy in the mix when we camp.

Speaking of the beach, we also took our annual camping trip to Myrtle Beach at the end of September. The weather was good, and we enjoyed a relaxing week.

Camping at the beach
October at the beach.
Hank and Scout doing what they do best on a camping trip.

In running news, I’ve been running consistently all summer. I haven’t been following any regimented training plan, and have simply enjoyed running what I feel like each week. But with several races on the horizon, it was time to add a little structure back in, which brings us to this past weekend’s “four by four by twenty-four.” The 4x4x24 translates into running 4 miles every 4 hours for a 24 hour period. I got the idea from one of my Facebook groups, where another runner talked about doing something like 4 miles every 6 hours for a 48 hour period. So clearly my version is much less crazy. Right? Right. The intent was to get in some specific training for my upcoming 24 hour race. Here’s how it went…

Run #1 – 7:00 AM

I did my first run at a nearby park where 6 laps equals 4 miles. 7 AM isn’t all that early… but it was dark and rainy for most of this run so it felt kind of early to me. Despite the clouds, I did get a little peak at the sunrise towards the end of this run. And although I was sleepy, my legs felt fresh and ready for the training that lay ahead.

Hint of a sunrise – it was prettier in person.

Run #2 – 11:00 AM

My second run of the day seemed to arrive very quickly after run number 1. I did not really have my head in the game and was not feeling very motivated to be back out there running again. I headed to a different park, where there is a paved 1/2 mile loop. Today’s training was as much about mental training as it was physical, so I chose a lot of locations that would have me running loops like I will be doing at the Crooked Road 24 Hour. Once I got out there running, I felt good. My legs still felt fresh and this run actually flew by.

Run #3 – 3:00 PM

I chose to do my third run on the treadmill. I wanted to save as much time as possible so that I could shower afterward before we needed to drive to Roanoke. This one went alright. I was definitely starting to feel some soreness in my hips and my legs were feeling a bit fatigued. But the company was good…

Run #4 – 7:00 PM

Run number 4 was interesting because it was done at the Into the Darkness nighttime trail race in Roanoke. Because why not run a race in the midst of all of this? Barry and I ran together, which was fun. This run was the most technical and had the most elevation gain, so I was surprised at how good I felt. My biggest challenge was being too hot in my costume! Full race recap coming in the near future.

Run #5 – 11:00 PM

Similar to my 11 AM run earlier in the day, the time between run #4 and this run seemed very short. I was definitely feeling a lot of overall fatigue and sleepiness. Barry joined me for this run as well, and we completed it at a nearby park. Once again, I was surprised at how good my legs felt. That’s encouraging, since I was now at a total of 20 miles for the day. Run number 5 came complete with a random watermelon on the trail, and some fun glow stick bracelets that we were given at Into the Darkness.

Run #6 – 3:00 AM

This was my final run for this training weekend. I debated on whether or not I should do a final, seventh run at 7AM. But I ultimately decided that technically the training ended at 7 AM Sunday morning, and 24 miles was plenty. The worst part about this run was waiting. I was determined to stay awake until 3 AM to help simulate running while sleep deprived. It was not easy as I was so very tired.

Three AM rolled around at last and it was time to run. For simplicity, I also did this run on the treadmill. I was so sleepy and I desperately wanted to go to bed. I really had to fight to make myself do this one. Aside from being really tired, I felt physically strong during this run. One odd thing was how thirsty I was during this run, even though I think I did a good job staying hydrated all day. I think I drank 20oz of water during this run. And just like that it was done. I grabbed a quick shower and then finally crawled into bed.

I also hit 1,200 miles of running for the year during this training block.

So that’s it! Overall, I feel like things went well and I think this was some good physical and mental training. I kind of felt like all I did all day was run, change clothes, eat, and then repeat. I’m glad it’s done. And for the record, running 6 separate times in one 24 hour period makes for a lot of laundry!!

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