Every year I get very excited about my birthday for many reasons. One of the key reasons for this excitement is my Birthday Challenge. I love pushing myself on my Birthday Challenge because questioning quitting reminds me to appreciate how great of a life I have. I have always wanted to do a full marathon solo on the SkiErg, and for some reasons, I have never gotten around to it.
For this event, I did not taper. In fact, I had two hard workouts leading up to it. I found myself that morning waking up and I thought about it, so I put my thoughts into action. I took a look on the Concept2 website and saw what pace it would take to get an American record (1:58) and World record (1:56.6).
That morning, I had my normal smoothie and added in an English muffin with peanut butter and jelly. I drank as much water as I could handle without getting sick, knowing I was alone and would not want to take time stopping during the marathon to ski.
I did a short warm up to determine what damper I needed to start with, in order to hit my rate and pace. The first hour I was ahead of pace (1:54). It started becoming really mentally challenging after 90minutes, and I had to slowly raise my rate because my body was hurting. The only way I could keep my pace was making it more breathing.
Doubts kept coming in my mind and the voices got louder and louder as time went on. I keep telling myself that the 100k I did last year with Roza and Antonio was way worse than this. I knew I had to keep focusing on rate, time, while engaging certain muscles, controlling my HR, playing games every minute, listening to different songs, and anything to take away the pain I was in.
When I got to 32k, I knew that I was going to succeed on my goal of hitting a World and American record. My end pace was 1:55.8 and it took 2:42:52.5 hours.
After the marathon, I was destroyed, dehydrated, and my central nervous system was wrecked. Later that day I overate and did extra recovery practices. The next day I was not as sore as I thought I would be, other than my left elbow and I was surprised that my hands were surprisingly in good shape.
This year’s Birthday challenge taught me that sometimes you don’t need to over analyze things. I found that challenges are way more mental than physical when you put in the work day in and day out.