Wiggle runner Corey was excited to take up the Ronhill challenge to run every day in October but when he was struck down by illness he was forced to take a break. Here he shares his experience.
I first heard about this challenge through a friend and thought this would be a great opportunity to set a new monthly distance PB and kick my training back up for the autumn season. Little did I know that I would run into a wall at full speed, but more on that later.
A little background about myself, I first started running four years ago to use as a cross-training for cycling throughout the freezing Canadian winters and also as a way to get healthy. Kilometer after kilometer I started to love running more and more. Eventually, I even added swimming into the mix becoming a competitive triathlete. As of this summer, I have completed three half-ironmans, three marathons, multiple half-marathons, and more 5K & 10K races than I can count. So, “run every day”, no problem… or so I thought.
I started the challenge off strong with an eager 16km around the local conservation area on day 1. I felt great and I was loving the challenge to run every day. I was quickly planning out different routes to take and how to best work this into a proper schedule so that I didn’t hurt myself. One of my main goals was to use my commute as a running opportunity, not to mention a little encouragement to get my butt out of bed a bit earlier. Luckily I don’t live that far from my office, so I was able to break up my running schedule into having a short easy run as my morning commute and then do a longer structured run after work. For example, on Tuesdays I generally do sprints (5-8x400m), Wednesdays are steady runs with cross-training in the evening, Thursdays would be either hills or muscular endurance (i.e. mile intervals), Friday and Saturday steady with another activity thrown in, and Sunday is always a long run. That is the basis for most of my training and has been for the past two years. I have to admit, I have never run 31 consecutive days before. Yes, I have done some form of activity every day (swim, bike, gym, etc…) for a solid month, but never run every day. That was one of the great appeals that drew me to this challenge; it would be something that I have never done.
My first week was great! Each morning I would wake up, jump into my comfy autumn Ronhill kit and hit the ground running. The mornings were getting rather chilly so a long sleeve was perfect for my early runs. I managed to clock in 70.4KM in the first 8 days. Maybe slightly ambitious but not beyond what I knew I could sustain. Little did I know I had a freight train heading my way.
Towards the end of my first week, I had noticed a rash on my face. At first, I thought it was nothing but after it got progressively worse, on day 8, I visited a walk-in clinic where the GP diagnosed shingles, the adult chickenpox. From there the virus spread unbelievably fast. I went from feeling on top of my running schedule to feeling like I had been hit by a truck. It continued to get worse with the infection spreading across my face and head. Yuck. Needless to say, I was not running anywhere anytime soon.
For two solid weeks, I was down and out with pain and no energy to do any kind of physical activity whatsoever. It was awful. I never realized how much I would miss running and how important and rejuvenating those moments of hitting the trails and paths are to me.
With all this said and done, nothing is a better reset button than a good run. This past Sunday marked my first run back. Understanding the importance of not pushing my body too far too fast, I went out with a goal of steady and easy just to see how I felt. I managed 6K which in hindsight now was a mistake. Even though I felt good during the run, on Monday I was tired, my headaches were back, and my feet hurt. Shoot. Rookie mistake. I have read more than enough books, blogs, and advice to know that I should have gradually built back up. 3-5K, slower and over multiple days! I completely blame my eagerness to jump at the opportunity to put my running shoes back on and get going. And now I am paying the price. Another day and yet again no run.
So what next? Well, I have laid out a plan for the next two weeks, running three times a week with 10-15K total weekly distance for week one, moving on to 15-20K week two. The goal here is getting my body back into exerting itself and the additional stress. So that is my game plan, and here’s hoping I will be back again next year ready to complete the challenge in full this time!