Why? I decided that I wanted to do something for myself, that frankly was beyond comprehension for myself (well I use to think so with my closed mindset). The highest mileage week I have put together was 36.9 miles out of the 656 miles in 2020. But that was not enough. I also wanted to make it as difficult as possible for myself. COLD! I chose the dead of winter because I do not fair well with cold. I have circulation problems that cause several fingers to go completely white and lose all feeling….until the blood comes back, then its pins and needles in the most severe form. I have always told clients to get out of their comfort zone and find new barriers to break. Though I do this in many ways, this time I wanted to free fall out of my comfort zone.
What else could make this a challenge? I am a stay at home dad for our 3 month old son, while I run my personal training business both in person and online. This means one of my runs is early morning. I promised I would be home by 0530 to make breakfast for my wife and myself before she goes to work. My second run will be in the evening after my last client and my wife is home. Depending on the day my last client ends at 1930. Really I am just proving to myself that we have to prioritize our time and not waste it.
Here is how it went:
January 1st 2021
The beginning of my personal challenge. It started at 1206 hours and ended with a 7.60 mile run in 12 degree weather for a total of 1:16:03. It was glorious and cut early due to ice on the patch behind the Ute Indian Museum. Everything was as smooth as i could hope for, then I took my shoe off and realized a rookie mistake….CUT YOUR TOENAILS! Just a little blood and sticky sock. No harm, no foul.
Run two was later in the day after a nap at 1421 hours. This run ended up shorter than I was anticipating at 7.60 miles in 31 degrees and clear skies (heat wave), and a total time of 1:18:37. This is the first time I have ever ran twice in one day with anything over five miles each. I will say, I felt it!
Total : 15.2 miles
January 2nd 2021
Day 2 of “The Hundo.” Run three started at 0954 hours and lasted 1:50:33 for a total of 10.4 miles. It is becoming more apparent how difficult this task is going to be. I had to remove my insoles as they started to cause pain in the arch of my foot at mile 8. Lunch brought much needed food and some delicious Grüvi NA IPA. After lunch the wife and I took our kiddo to the Black Canyon for a short snowshoeing trip. Which he did awesome!
Run four was later at 1815 hours and lasted 41:36 for a total of 4.09 miles. It is now official I have slowed down…..a lot. I am finally coming to terms with an occasional couple minutes of walking while I give myself (really my legs) a pep talk. Tonights recovery protocol will be NUUN and Compex Muscle stim.
Total: 29.69 miles
January 3rd 2021
Day 3 is the beginning of the bad. For me this is where the self doubt began. Not only mental issues, but physiological issues started with lack of calories. At this point in the game I am under my needed calories by approximately 800. Run five was at 0858 hours and was 8 miles on the dot for a total time of 1:28:13. I was also invited that morning to go duck hunting, which I jumped at immediately. Hunting ended at 1730 and the plan was to have run two started at 1900 hours after dinner. I simply could not muster the mental capacity to leave the house. I choose to forgo the second run now putting me behind in daily miles. I stayed home ate as much as possible and used my Compex muscle stimulator followed by CBD salve on my calves and feet.
Total: 37.69 miles
January 4th 2021
Woke up at 0330 feeling way better than yesterday proving that the food and recovery was much needed. Run six started at 0358 for 6.9 miles and a total time of 1:14:09. The mental game only intensified during this run. It is truly amazing how much your mind will tell you when the suffering begins. I knew I was behind in mileage which only made things worse when I started to do the math of what I need to accomplish in three more days.
A slight reprieve came at 1306 hours when I was able to sneak in run seven, a 4.2 mile run in 42:11 during our foster kiddos visitation. Though tired it was reassuring that I was getting back on track with my needed mileage. During the day I also noticed that the mental game was not brutal.
Run eight started at 1647 hours after the wife got home from work. I ran 7.2 miles in 1:14:21. As the night fell again the mind started ramping up the doubt. It was official I could no longer run more than 3 miles at a time needing to walk for a couple of minutes. Not having music, podcasts or another person as a distraction really amplifies issues for me. The arch in my right foot became increasingly painful which caused me to switch back to the original insoles. This would later prove to be an issue.
Toal miles: 55.99 miles
January 5th 2021
Run nine started at 0408 hours covering 6.79 miles in 1:23:17. The insole switching began to create hot spots, that I ignored thinking it wasn’t that bad. Anyone with any sense would know that you must take care of you feet, they are somewhat important.
Run ten was at 1841 hours at 10.14 miles in 1:59:20. This is where I officially regretted the decision to ignore the hot spots. Now I have full on blisters and some extra blood in the socks. This was also when I was finally harassed while on my run. The first was two dogs walking off leash (next to the dog park) circling me and growling. Then as I made my way through the park I was greeted with an early model 4-runner with at least three occupants making inappropriate and rude comments.
The 4-runner then decided to pass me just to pull into another parking area, and get back behind me further commenting on how I must be retarded. Finally home, I was truly agitated and exhausted. I am now 1900 calories below what I need. Feet are bloody and sore, and I cannot even touch my calves without wincing.
Toal: 72.92 miles
January 6th 2021
Run 11 began at 0400 hours for 7.2 miles in 1:28:11. Finally, the mind has shut the hell up and I started telling myself that I am eating my elephant one bite at a time. Though it sounded ridiculous, IT WORKED! The pain in my feet and calves did not subside in the least, however I felt at peace with my effort knowing it was working.
Run 12 started at 1652 hours covering 7.8 miles in 1:32:35. Amazing, I am able to start running longer than three miles again without stopping and the pain seemed to subside while running. I am starting to feel great, my mile times are slowly getting faster (though never back to when I started).
January 7th 2021
The Hundo day! The fact it is the last day in my one-week challenge seemed to be bitter sweet. I am more than excited to end the challenge, yet felt like I could have kept going. Run 13 began at 0405 hours for 6.9 miles in 1:20:55. While running I realized now that my goal will be accomplished and found myself walking a couple times just looking at the stars and not giving one iota about my time. It was serene, and calming. Exhausted and in pain, I was happy, really happy!
This is it, run 14. With a last minute schedule change with a client I stated later at 1743 hours for 6.2 miles on 1:06:18. Many emotions piled in on this one, with being proud as the over riding emotion. I arrived home to my wife playing “Chariots of Fire” on her cell phone, a gold medal from her triathlon with “Alex Ganskow 100 mile week” written on the back and a homemade banner taped to the living room window. My wife and our kiddo placed the medal on me and congratulated me. I was also welcomed home by the smell of PIZZA!!!! Thank god, I was officially 4,078 calories under what I was needing and feeling it.
Total: 101.02 miles
I choose a difficult activity, that at first I wasn’t sure if it was possible. I have read many books about ultra marathons and mindset, mental triggers/struggles, and overcoming obstacles. They were all pertinent through this journey. I pulled “cookies out of my cookie jar” -David Goggins. I have learned that things take time and if you break them up and follow your program, it works! Sounds ridiculous but it’s true. I thought to myself, how many times have you started something, had a plan and did not follow that plan. Then when it fails, it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy as I would think to myself; “See I knew it would not work” or “I could not do it.” I will continue to find new challenges, more than likely failing along the way at some point; what a great opportunity for learning.