#CitwitsRun200: Tracking two runners attempting to run a 200-mile week [UPDATED]
We get a lot of interesting emails at CITIUS MAG [[email protected]] about many oddities within the sport of running because we like to find key storylines to follow outside of just the elite side of the sport. There’s always been a big gap between those who follow the elites and those who simply just like running for the fun of it. This one was a little bit of a mix.
Two weeks ago, we received an email from Zach Kughn, who was once in our infamous Headshot Round-Ups (Note: Those will be returning in the fall, so be sure to start growing out your wacky hairstyles and facial hair now.) Zach ran at Montana State and now lives in Mitchell, South Dakota. It’s a very simple storyline to follow. Two amateur runners will attempt to run a 200-mile week as a result of a bar bet. So we decided that we’ll be following their progress here with a gonzo-style live blog and tracker on the week of July 31 to August 6.
Some reference on the guys:
Zach’s max milage has been 100 miles in a week. He run that about 20 times in his life but all of them have taken place three years ago. He’ll be doing his running in Mitchell, which means that he’ll face some humidity.
Ethan Wilhelm also ran at MSU and has maxed out at 107 miles in a week. He has only run more than 100+ miles per week just five times in his life. He will completing his runs in Bozeman, Montana, which us at 5,000 feet of altitude.
Only Rules: 7 consecutive days. 200 miles of running. No treadmills.
Let’s begin on Sunday night
THE DAY BEFORE: Sunday, July 30 – 7:30pm
Day 1: Monday, July 31
ZACH: 6:05 a.m.
Definitely feel worse than I would like at 5:20 a.m.. Ended up not falling asleep until 11 something after getting in bed at8:30. Sleeping pills will be my next purchase. I’m also already sweating. 68 right now, and looks promising for some rain. Who’s happier me or the farmers? All chaffing aside… I love the rain. And could use the temperature drop. I wake up to find out that Ethan started at midnight. Snake. The worst part is I knew he would do that. Somebody suggested it to me and after immediately calling it cheating I knew right away Ethan would do it, and sure enough. I call shenanigans and for disqualification right off the bat. I’m glad he did though. When it’s all said and done, the world will know he cheated. “7 days” … nobody’s day starts at midnight
Ibuprofen, pre workout, maltodextrin, dextrose, protein. I will overcome his technicalities with ground breaking sports science… and caffeine. Whatever I do I know I’ll outperform his diet of a minimum 64oz of “soda”(whatever that is) per day. Combine that and the fact that he eats froyo where he works for at least one meal a day. I also have a bucket of expired vitamins I plan on putting a dent in this week…
Rolled out. Lunge warm up, checked Strava data for Ethan’s midnight run(he’s gonna die) One more bathroom stop. Out the door at 6:06am
ETHAN: 10:20 a.m.
Just finished run number two at 10:20 a.m. and I’m sitting at 20.1 miles for the day. I am a bit of a night owl and was up at midnight so I figured why not start the 200 mile week. Crushed and 10 miler starting at 12:09 am and then yes, Zach, I crush 12oz of Mountain Dew after finishing it (I keep you up dated with a running total of the amount of soda I drink just for that comment). Zach can call a midnight run cheating all he wants but we agreed to 200 miles in one week starting the 31st not 5 hours into the 31st. I stand by it. And don’t worry Zach, when I am done with this 200 mile week on Friday you wont be able to call shenanigans. I will use the last two days to work on my kicking game and Sunday I will smash a 50 yarder and start getting some NFL interest.
But in all seriousness I’m feeling pretty good. I’m planing on front load this week with around 40 miles today. For the rest of the week, it’s pretty simple no runs over an hour and 15 mins and I was thinking three runs a day after day one unless I am feeling good which seems unlikely. Eating and sleeping as much as possible will be key. Rolling out, ice baths and calf massages will be my hidden weapons. It going as well as I could have hoped and all I can think right now is it supposed to be this easy.
ZACH: 8:30 a.m.
ZACH: 6 p.m.
Zach: 11 p.m.
Day 2: Tuesday, Aug. 1
Zach Kughn: 10:15 a.m.
ETHAN: 1:37 p.m.
ZACH: 5 p.m.
Hey guys, sorry for the lack of posts the last couple of days but I am back from the dead and still kicking.
After such a great day one, day two couldn’t have been more different. I spent all 20 mile questioning my life choices. The main thought running through my head was if Zach wanted to kill me there were a lot easier ways to do it. Finished day 2 with 57 miles and a little doubt starting to creep into my thoughts.
Day three came around and I had to sit down and give myself a little gut check/pep talk. I dug deep down to find my motivation behind doing this and I came up with I couldn’t stand the years of grief that Zach would give me if I didn’t finish.
So with my new found motivation run number one came around and I pulled a Forest Gump and didn’t stop running for two and half hours. Got in 20 on run number 1 all of which felt better than yesterdays.
I really tried to be relaxed at the beginning of the run which seemed to help later on. Run number two I had planed for a 10 miler. When I was done I was still feeling good so figured why not to go for 90 total miles so did some laps on my old high school track to get to 13.
Overall a pretty good day. I can’t wait for this roller coaster ride of a week to be over but my confidence in both of us finishing is sky high at the moment however miserable we both are at the end.
So take that Garmin… wake up this morning to find out Garmin is seeing a trend in me slacking on Thursday’s… yeah right son. After all this aerobic training I’m running like a well oiled machine. If I can keep this knee in check I think I’ll be fine. There’s just a slight whole letting the light at the end of the tunnel in and I’m running for it.
An update on #CitwitsRun200.
— CITIUS MAG (@CitiusMag) August 6, 2017
ZACH 12:15 P.M.
“I can honestly say I’m a changed man,” Those were the words Red pleaded to the parole panel and they’re the only words that come to mind at this point.
As the mileage ticked past 190, I’m at 6:20 and effortlessly speeding up. It’s quite impressive really. I can’t really push hard or go super far, but over the course of a week, I’ve become super capable of keeping a low intensity over the duration of an hour to an hour and a half. As hard as it’s been on my body, joints in particular, I’ve really made some big improvements aerobically in just a short time. I definitely expected to be running the majority of this week above 8-minute pace, I especially expected today of all days to be just barely hobbling in by midnight. I’m pretty tired right now but I’m trying to think of what I have left in me to make my last 7 miles something special… then again I could always just jog it in. Usually 200 speaks for itself…
ZACH: 5:30 P.M.
Ahhh. 200 sighs of relief. Brutal down the stretch. Maybe more mentally than physically exhausted. Did without all my pre-run hullabaloo that got me through the week and just went out trying to enjoy my last easy 7. Slow mover. After a surprise Ruby Tuesday’s lunch with the Polson’s where I made myself eat some potstickers… I was content to lay in bed. But just like I did this morning I rolled outta the house and got out on the roads.
One. Last. Time.
Spent nearly all of the first 6 miles trying to convince myself to run fast but instead I was just kinda locked in at 7:15 pace. At around 5.7 miles, in the spirit of Desmond Doss I looked up to the sky and quoted the following:
I knew that I should have stopped and stretched at least, but I just went for it. As soon as the watched beeped at 6 miles I just started ripping down the street as fast as these HOKA’s can probably go. A chubby goth lookin kid was walking down the sidewalk and I immediately prepared for the harassment. Short shorts. Shirtless. Goofy shoes. Sprinting down the road. To my delight, he says, “Run like you mean it!”
I couldn’t believe it! I was pumped beyond belief. I buckled down for the last half mile trying not to look at my watch. I had two corners to navigate. At .75 I’m at 4:59 pace thinking oh no… I better not find a monkey on my back I gotta move. Ran all the way through the watch beep.
Probably the hardest I’ve ever worked for sub-5, but also probably the happiest I’ve been for barely under 5.
Even after 200 miles, this was no jog fest. Ethan averaged 7:01 pace for 201 miles, I averaged 7:14 for 200. I couldn’t in a million years have predicted that outcome. On behalf of Ethan and I both I’d like to first remember the some 200 people who thought that either one or both of us would fail: