MS Run The US 2018 Relay Runner
I began to run because remaining active was something that I COULD control (while my grandfather, who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in the early 2000s, could not) and continue to run using him as my inspiration. I had been following the MS Run The US for several years (the route passes directly through Steamboat Springs, Colorado where I currently live) and knew that I had to participate in it one year. He passed away from secondary complications of MS in August 2017 and a week later, the applications for MS Run The US were set to close. I knew this was no coincidence. I had to apply and am so honored to be part of this amazing organization.
I completed my 175.33 mile journey running from Steamboat Springs to Denver, Colorado on May 27th, 2018. I ran an average of 28 miles a day, with the last day at 7 miles. I ran up-and-over two Rocky Mountain Passes (Rabbit Ears & Loveland) and gained over 14,000' of elevation over my journey. I gained ample amount of self-confidence, experienced the beauty of Colorado's landscapes with my own two legs, fundraised $10, 756 for Multiple Sclerosis research/ awareness/ MS Run The US organization/ disability equipment for those families currently living with MS, challenged myself everyday, and shared my journey with family/ friends/ supporters. I sang out-loud to myself when sections became quiet, had several mid-run dance parties, got my sneaker stuck in mud, ran by cows, hurdled over down-tress on the Continental Divide Trail, ran around snow patches, and experienced what it feels like to run into the city of Denver in 90-degree heat. Every single moment was absolutely amazing and there is not a day that goes by where I don't relive some part of my journey.
I tried to take mental pictures along the way (and some real pictures), but the confidence boost that I felt post-relay was completely unexpected and amazing.
"Individual commitment to a group effort--that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work." --Vince Lombardi
I trained for 22 weeks, ran 1, 096.6 miles, completed (and PR'd by 3+ minutes) one marathon during my training cycle, peaked at 67 miles during week 21, and blended two training programs together (Hanson's Marathon Method & the program provided to us by MS Run The US). I trained an average of 5-6 days a week and consistently strength trained 3 times a week (either taking pilates / barre / solo strength training sessions). I did 6 physical therapy sessions during weeks 13-16 to tend to my meniscus in my right knee. 2 weeks leading up to my relay, I added in weekly sports massages which helped work out any tightness I experienced. In the first 18 weeks of my training cycle, I focused on adding additional milage and speed work as my base, while the last 4 weeks I focused on gaining significant elevation each week (topping out at 3,400' gained in week 20). During my segment, the only day that I experienced any sort of pain was Day 3 in my left shin (probably due to the tilt of the road), doing these exercises and using KT Tape helped it subside. My feet became swollen, but I focused on putting my feet up for 20 minutes at least 2-3 times in the afternoon after my relay run finished which really helped keep the swelling at bay, along with foam rolling and stretching for at least 30 minutes after each day of running. I also brought 3 pairs of sneakers and switched my shoes (and socks) at least once halfway through each segment day.
Here are my Daily Segment RECAPS:
- DAY 1 miles 1-28.7
- DAY 2 miles 28.7-60
- DAY 3 miles 60-89
- DAY 4 miles 89-116
- DAY 5 miles 116-143
- DAY 6 miles 143-169
- DAY 7 PART 1 (miles 169-174) / PART 2 (miles 174-175.33)
Favorite Posts Along My Training Cycle:
- MS MONDAYS- GUEST POST ...my mom shares her experiences with MS and watching her father grow with the disease
- FUNDRAISING TIPS ....how I somehow went from never fundraising more than $500 to fundraising $10, 756 in 6 months!
- STRETCHES THAT I LOVED ....and somehow *miraculously* kept me injury free while running 175 miles in a week
- OVERALL RELAY RECAP ...this is where I hold nothing back! You want details? This is it.
- PRODUCTS THAT I COULDN'T GO WITHOUT on the road for 7 days
- FAVORITE NECESSITIES FOR THE RELAY that I over-packed into my one very tiny suitcase
- TOP SONGS THAT GOT ME PUMPED UP when I was out in the middle of the country roads hoping to not get eaten by a bear
- GOALS FOR THE RELAY... where I lay it all out on the line
- THOUGHTS LEADING UP TO THE RELAY... this is where emotions started to get real!
Weekly Training Rundowns:
- WEEK 22 RUNDOWN ....the taper was oh so real
- WEEK 21 RUNDOWN ......PEAK WEEK! 67 miles check!
- WEEK 20 RUNDOWN ....where I gained 3,400' of elevation in one week
- WEEK 19 RUNDOWN ... my birthday week and post- Salt Lake City Marathon training plan blended into Ultra Relay training plan
- WEEK 18 RUNDOWN ....week of the SLC Marathon!
- WEEK 17 RUNDOWN ....where I negative-split my tempo & speedwork sessions
- WEEK 16 RUNDOWN ....I got in my first trail run of the season!
- WEEK 15 RUNDOWN ....where I negative-split my 20 mile long run during one of the busiest weeks of the entire year!
- WEEK 14 RUNDOWN ....where I mention I've started physical therapy for my knee and how I came back from 2 sick days the week before
- WEEK 13 RUNDOWN ...where I began antibiotics for my sinus infection
- WEEK 12 RUNDOWN ....talking about the importance of mental strength in my workouts
- WEEK 11 RUNDOWN ....where I hit over 200 miles in the month of February!
- WEEK 10 RUNDOWN ...the week of treadmill runs.
- WEEK 9 RUNDOWN ....cold + snowy outside = week of treadmills
- WEEK 8 RUNDOWN ...where I slept in and shifted around when I did my training runs
- WEEK 7 RUNDOWN ....where I switched and split up my long run to Thursday afternoon (spoiler: it was amazing)
- WEEK 6 RUNDOWN ...I had a really hard time hitting my tempo run
- WEEK 5 RUNDOWN ...I struggled with fitting everything in while also working 50+ hours this week.
- WEEK 4 RUNDOWN ...lots of indoor treadmill runs
- WEEK 3 RUNDOWN ... how training went while I finished up a 12-day workweek
- WEEK 2 RUNDOWN ...my first speed work session and beginning of the new year!
- WEEK 1 RUNDOWN ....what my base mileage looked like!
You can still donate to my fundraiser HERE
What is MS?
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is believe to be an autoimmune disease in which the body's own white blood cells (the immune system) attacks the protective covering on neurons located on the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. The scar that forms can cause communication problems between the brain and body. Symptoms of MS are never alike, but can include pain, numbness, tingling, loss of vision, paralysis, and more.
What is MS Run The US?
MS Run The US was founded by Wisconsin native Ashley Schneider in 2009, who was inspired by her mother who lived with MS from 1980-2017. The inaugural U.S. crossing took place in 2010 when Ashley ran 3, 288 miles solo across America from San Francisco, CA to New York, NY. She ran an average of 26 miles a day, six days a week, for six months and burned through 11 pairs of shoes. MS Run the US is dedicated to raising awareness and funds to support MS research.
Where did I run?
I ran Segment 7, from Steamboat Springs, Colorado to Denver. I conquered running up-and-over two Rocky Mountain Passes for 175 miles over 7 days, averaging a marathon distance (26 miles) each day.