I came down with Shingles mid February and wasn’t able to run or do much for 2 weeks. It was very painful, on the right side of my face and in my eye, the headaches were unbearable. Well after that I started running again and felt great, running 62 miles the first week back which was pretty much the first week of the Covid-19 outbreak in Florida. That mileage would usually be what I would be doing leading up to my summer ultras. I was training for Big Sur in April, the day after my 60th birthday but with the news I knew that was doubtful, but I had to keep training just in case. The following week I ran 60 miles and then received the expected news that Big Sur was postponed, along with pretty much every race in the country being postponed or cancelled.
But rather than stopping waiting for races to start up again, I continued to push myself and the following week I ran 70 miles. I think I had only ever ran 70 miles for training one other time. I felt great, running with a couple of friends of mine as I was working from home and not travelling to Miami, it was a little easier. I was also walking 4 miles several days a week. Given my level of fitness and now not having a race around my birthday, I came up with an idea to give back to my community by running on my birthday. I decided to run a mile for each year, so on Saturday April 25th I will be running 60 miles. I decided to make it even harder by doing the entire run on a bridge, running up and over the bridge 80 times, 0.75 mile per crossing with a climb of about 65 feet. The most I had ever done prior to this was a 50K which was 42 bridge climbs, so this would be pretty much double that distance, not an easy task given the heat and humidity that I expect. But I wanted to make it hard and a challenge so hopefully people would be more motivated to donate to the charity.
So with 5 weeks to go I increased my mileage and ran every day for 90 miles that week, with probably about 30% of it on the bridge. On the following Tuesday, I took Monday off, Ray asked how many miles I was planning on running, I said I don’t know, definitely less than 90, maybe 60 to 70. On Saturday I decided to run the bridges to see how I was feeling and hopefully build my confidence up for the run. I ran 34 miles crossing the bridge 44 times, the most I had ever ran. I felt pretty good, but it was really hot by the time I finished around 2pm. I knew I would have to get an earlier start for the big day. The following day I ran another 19 miles and hot 100 miles for the week. What was amazing is that I didn’t feel any issue with my hip for all these runs.
With just 1 day left this week I’m up to 62 miles and will probably run 15 tomorrow, after doing 22 miles of bridge repeats today. I need to taper to save my legs, the climbs and downhills are both hard on your body. The organization I’m running for is Feeding Tampa Bay, an organization that feeds families in need. As little as a dollar can provide 10 meals for a family. So if you are able to help with whatever donation you can afford, you can be sure that it’s going to help a lot of people in need. Thank you, and wishing you and your families a Happy Easter and hoping everyone stays safe.