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July 31, 2017

#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 0:

Ran out of time this morning, leaving me at 3.4 for the day and 31.7 miles for the week plus a 16-mile bike ride. I’ve averaged probably 45 miles per week since conference – peaking at 65 early June. Took Wednesday off and did 1.5 on Thursday after running fast on the track with Heather Kampf on Tuesday. Feet started bothering me last weekend after standing for 8+ hours three days in a row at Faster Horses. Precautionary week to say the least, less the short workout. Helped run a high school camp at DWU all week. Combine that with last weekend and my 31 miles this week and I’d say that was a solid 140-150 mile week. Ethan claimed he would run a 100 this week, then retracted to 50, so I don’t feel bad. Yet.
157.8lbs this morning. over 2lbs lighter than I’ve been all summer – granted I was 145 at conference… whoops. All the more fuel for the week. Coach says I’ll be back to fightin’ weight by the end of the week.
After months of careful consideration and planning I’ve decided that I don’t have a plan.
I intend to run off feel for the most part. Running whenever I feel I can, for as long as I feel is safe.
Tomorrow morning I have a meeting at 9 a.m.. I’ll start the snooze button at 5. Run for as long as I can get in, ideally 2-2.5hrs. The original plan for 30+ went down the drain when I ran 31 over the entire week… This means I’ll need one solid run during the heat. High of 85 degrees the next two days which isn’t too bad for here actually. It does start cooling off around 9pm so hopefully I’ll get another strong run in then. Shooting for 34 tomorrow. 5.5 ahead of pace.
Meanwhile, Ethan insists he can get 200 done in 4 days… Since I won’t let him do more he says that leaves him plenty of time to prepare for his NFL kicking career and his 201st mile when Bolt loses. I’m not sure which one of those is most likely to happen but its probably the NFL. GOAT’s don’t lose. And need I remind you of the tortoise and the hare?

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.

First run in the books and I didn’t feel too bad. The racer in me wished I could have just dropped the hammer for another 10 and got a marathon PR. Instead I have 180 to go… slow and steady. Just past halfway I took a GU (yes I’m officially a rec runner) and RunGum and felt real solid though, as is evidenced by my metronome splits of +/- 1 second for the last 7 miles. This was also the hilliest run possible in Mitchell… which isn’t saying much but I got that out of the way right off the bat. Feeling flat running in HOKAs is next. Long department meeting ahead will delay my next run further into the heat. But they’ll feed me so I’ll make do.

ZACH: 6 p.m.

I’m running quite fast… not trying to push it but I’m reluctant to be putting on the breaks. Strike while the irons hot. Only a mile down from day average after two runs. Did 10.63, felt great at the start. Was anxious all day at work and just wanted to run again. Had a full eight-hour break between runs, probably won’t take that much again but it was nice. Heat really got to me though. It was about 84 degrees. Luckily I gave myself a haircut just before leaving. (Sorry, no mullet this time, got a job to keep now) Around 8 miles in, I found a hose at a campground and drank from that and doused my hat and body. Cooling down seemed to help so I added on a slightly longer loop than the 10 planned. Feet felt pretty good in Hokas, hip hurt again but not for as long as it did this morning. Did some extra stretching and rolling out.
That is… when the foam roller wasn’t taken by my dog.
When dark hits I’ll see how I’m feeling and maybe I can go a little longer than planned. At this point though, I’m kind of even with Ethan. Can it be this easy? S/O to the 59% of readers who voted that neither of us would make it, you keep me going. Literally 196 of you felt the urge to just get up and say nah. Haters gonna hate. Check my strava, where you at?

Zach: 11 p.m.

Sitting in my luke-cold ice bath after finishing my third. Just over 8 miles added so I’m at 35.5 for the day. Ahead of my goal for Day 1 and seven ahead of pace. Still amazed at how not bad I feel. This was definitely the worst of the day but to say it was a bad run would simply not be true. I went a little slower but had I kept going I could have picked it up similar to my long run this morning. Not much pain on this run though I am definitely getting sore. I did a lot of rehab stuff before this run on posterior chain. Quads are quite sore though. I can deal with that… so long as it’s in the front. Right Achilles tight for sure but keeping it at bay. Think I’ll switch back to Brooks for the morning, though the HOKA’s have me feeling like a million bucks, like I’m wearing those Kipchoge shoes. Struggled to eat between my second and third runs. Most of my diet today has been from liquid. I’ll need to find some fat before bed.
Little disappointed that I had to break one of my goals tonight… I told myself I was still young if I could make it through the week without Vaseline but I broke down, on Day 1 no less, and picked some up tonight. Officially an old man… already! Try me at 201…
Meanwhile, Ethan parades around town at 6:30 pace wearing Asics flats. Now I hear he’s late getting his 4th run in because he was golfing. Trying to decide if his run counts toward today or tomorrow. Haven’t we been through this once before?
Sleeping pill kicking in. I’ll shoot for 7hrs+ but supposed to be hot tomorrow so I’ll have to get an early start. Biggest fear is I wake up in the morning and can’t move… Cataplexy that’s called if you know any Narcs… the more you know. But as long as I can get out of bed and walk around I think I’ll be fine. Day 2 the first real test.

Day 2: Tuesday, Aug. 1

Zach Kughn: 10:15 a.m.

Today is a different world. 30 minutes of snoozing from 7-7:30. Getting out of bed is a chore. After moving around a bit, I’m feeling better. I’m heading out around the lake if I feel alright. Slow starter. Nothing feels too bad…just sore. Bathroom break around 3 and after that I started picking it up. Lake is big… way bigger than I thought. Finally got to the end around 7.5 and luckily it’s slightly shorter on the other side. Hurting though, decided to push the pace a bit just to save time on feet. This run fueled by RunGum, of course, as well as some Gatorade chews I got from Grant Fisher a few years back after he won Gatorade runner of the year(that reminds me, I got a confirmation from Grant that he too was going to run 200 miles this week, he must be starting conservatively). Took those about an hour into it and pressed on. I knew where I was around 10 miles but knew I had a ways to go. And then, a gift from above! I kid you not…a sealed water bottle just laying on the side of the road! Crucial, dumped most of it on my head but drank some. Granted it’s warm water because it’s already pushing 80 at 9:30am… but I’ll take it. Rolled home best I could, slowing down the last mile. This was too hard for today. Didn’t need it. From now on I need better planned routes or loops that can swing me by the crib for water/sugar/whatnot. Get back and I’m soaking wet.
Cold shower felt nice but I’m going to need to eat real food. I knew this but Real Iron Mike insisted so I’ll try my best. Liquid diet not a recipe for success I guess. Christan Soratos for some reason thinks my life theme song is “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down” by Fall Out Boy… I’m hoping the title has no implications on my week. S/O to all of those following us on strava and following Citius Mag, also thanks to the boys over there, they’re the real deal. Also thanks to those who have said they are upping there mileage this week in support of us. Lyle Weese our old coach he’ll shoot for 90 this week and that’s tripling his mileage. My boy Brock doesn’t even run and has less than one lung says he’ll run 50. Thanks for the support everyone, you keep us going.
Real theme song for the week is an oldie. But comes from inspiration my head coach here at DWU, he recognizes that this stunt has nothing to do with my coaching philosophy… I’m old enough to know better, but still too young to care.
13.8…49.3 through 4 runs.

ETHAN: 1:37 p.m.

Day one in the books 37.1 miles and 36 oz of soda! Run number three really wiped me out. The heat of the day makes SO much of a difference.I am going to have to try and avoid being out in the heat at all cost. Got in a little golf before run number 4 last night I couldn’t pass up $5 day at Cottonwood. Played like crap but that was kinda expected. Run No. 4 ended right before midnight so that’s an easy call defiantly day one. Zach is trying so hard to disqualify me that it’s almost like he worries he won’t finish but wants to win by default – just saying. Day 2 should be the real test if this 200 mile week is going happen. Everyone feels good on Day 1 but now soreness is setting in and should start making this a real challenge.
Thinking about trying to break up  the mileage into six 5-mile segments today to see if I like that better than three 10-mile runs. Also, gonna need to start taking it a little bit easier if I am going to finish this thing. So going to move to 7:30-ish pace. Hopefully keep it under 8 minute pace but that might not be realistic by the end of the week. I have been crushing it on sleep sitting at 9 hours for the day.
Food has been more of a struggle eating the calories you need is hard when you have to run again in just a few hours. I have always have a weak stomach when it come to running and like give myself at least 2 hours after eating before running and preferably 3 hours which just its an option at this point. Other than that feeling primed and ready to go. Lets go crush Day 2!

ZACH: 5 p.m.

Left the office as soon as I finished my work to come home and nap.
Feeling terrible. Forced food in me all morning and it was grueling. Got about an hour or so nap with my legs raised. Not sure I feel any better. Need to run soon but I’m dreading the heat. Luckily, the 88-degree temperature dropped significantly as a storm rolled through so I was able to catch that. Storm just missed us but so much cooler out and a nice wind. This part of South Dakota is the northern part of tornado alley and we might get something fierce tomorrow.
I took off on my run and not long into it…I realize I am feeling better running than I am during breaks! I did a small loop and decided I was actually getting hungry! This is good news. Swung by the house and got some water plus a granola bar and quickly headed out for another loop.
The pace was dropping almost effortlessly.
For any runner that knows me, I am the king at running slow – often running 8-8:30 pace even while competing at a high level in track. This week has been something crazy, for me anyway. I’m afraid my teammates will think I’m cheating after seeing splits. Could have gone farther but headed back around nine miles when I reached pace for day 2 (57 miles), for the first time since run 1 I came home feeling normal. Hungry, a little tired, little sore but normal.
Cranked some Wade Hayes and now I’m singing in the kitchen frying eggs for an egg ham and cheese sandwich. Couple extra on the side. Roommate mocks my A1 sauce but trust me, try it and you’ll never eat eggs without it again. Pumped to get some real food in me and to actually want to eat it. I’ll rest up a few hours and head out again at night. Hoping I can sleep in tomorrow. As cliche as it sounds, I think eating and sleeping will be key.
Not sure how Ethan’s 6 runs a day are going but that’s absurd…. no way he’s feeling as good as I am at this point. Told me he didn’t have the time to send in an update every run, yet he’s got time to squeeze in 6 runs?! Spare me, I worked 8 hours yesterday.
9 today, puts me at 58.4

ZACH: 10:30pm

First bad run of the week… slogged through that one. Couldn’t get out the door without Athena (the dog) begging me to take her with me. Of course she’s pulling me down the road chasing rabbits as my quads rip with every stride. Should’ve warmed up before taking her. Did 2 and some change and then dropped her back off. Headed out hoping for the best. Quads really do hurt. Sub any pace on this run is not happening. Knew it was coming. I’ll take it for third run of the day though.
Goal was 7.2, minimum of 6.2, made a loop ended up being 6.4 and I’d had enough. Won’t want to eat again. More carb and protein powder but I’ll force a bagel and something fattening down. Looking forward most to a lot of sleep… really hoping for no distractions tomorrow morning and get 8-10 hrs in. I’ve gotten super lucky with the weather this week. Will be cool from here on out. High of 80 tomorrow but storms coming. I’ll enjoy that. Again a marginally cold ice bath… might see if I can get in the AT room in the future because not sure this is gonna cut it. Or I need to find cheaper ice.
FaceTimed Ethan. He’s struggling, guess short runs wasn’t the way to go. Overall he’s feeling confident still though, we are about even right now but he says he might have another run in him tonight. Our buddy Shawn who was always with us at steak night for the planning of this is enjoying our suffering.
Inspiration during this run came from Manhattan XC, ConDog, and fellow MeatTrain member Nate Orndorf. Appreciate all the folks reaching out.
2 days, 6 runs, 64.8 miles

 DAY 3

Zach: 12:30PM

Finally slept. Figured I’d rather let it get a little warm then have to wake up early again and I’m pleased with the results. Quads really the only thing bothering me. I felt fairly normal waking up. I cannot squat or lunge to save my life but once I start running I’m running pain free.
Second fastest run of the week. Drove out to the dirt roads. Out here in SD we have a mile grid, so I parked at an intersection and just did laps of a square so I could refuel/rehydrate every 4 miles. Finish my second lap as the sheriff pulls up. Apparently any activity out in the country is suspicious activity. Guess “a neighbor” didn’t like “a parked car with someone running away from it” No problems though. S/O to the Davison County Sherriff’s for keeping the streets safe and supporting my 200 mile venture! They wished me luck, I refueled and headed out for another lap. Running fast but I was content when I got back. Added on 4 minutes to get to 90 minutes. Queen of GLR himself, Leo Foley, does the math for me and tells me I only have 8 to go to stay on pace. Should be able to do two of those today to stay ahead. Gotta get some work done in the office. Hope I can eat. That’s all I’m worried about at this point.

ZACH: 8:15pm

This journal entry is brought to you by The Price of a Mile with Woody Kincaid(PS, Danny Nicolls says hi, which reminds me, Dan, I still have your deluxe edition copy of 1989 and I’m willing to give it back).
First off, is Ethan dead? Strava says he did a 20 miler at 1 in the afternoon! How much sleep did he need and what was he thinking?!?! He’s not responding to my texts and is apparently too busy for citius mag or, more likely, keeled over somewhere after an idiotic run. Last text I had from him said he was going for 100 by the end of the day… most likely attacked by a bear somewhere near mile 36 of the day and I believe I win by default.
Secondly, “I’m still alive but I’m barely breathing” hasn’t sounded so true since Danny O’Donoghue penned the words himself.
I slept in, showed up to work late, which meant I had to stay late, and now I’m not sure whether to run, go to bed, or drive to Montana and look for Ethan. The second run was fine so long as you consider the ripping of quadricep fibers at a 180 tears per minute “fine.”
Took probably 4+ miles for those to warm up. I also cannot run downhill whatsoever. After running like a baby giraffe for half an hour I got to it again and started running in the 7’s somewhere. I had a feeling there was a chance I wouldn’t run again so I decided to explore the west side of town and to keep heading in the opposite direction of home. After following signs to a golf course for a good 3 miles, I decided it didn’t exist.
Eventually made my way to a bike bath I didn’t know existed. Unpaved for a half mile which was nice on the body and then of course it turned paved. City’s been raising money to make “improvements” to the paths, which is Cyclist lingo for “purposely making it worse.”
Ran the paved part until I figured out where I was. Popped out on 23rd street which wasn’t a good sign (no pun intended) because I could have sworn the streets only went as high as 15th. This meant I had 8 blocks to civilization and then the entire town to go. I really didn’t feel bad during this stretch I just knew I wanted to get home and off my legs.
Contemplated going to 50cent wing night and instead elected for a $1 frozen pizza I had. The important part was I desired to eat real food. Now I sit in my chair and listen to the inflammation grow…
11 miles, 88.3 through 3 days. 2.6 ahead of schedule, potentially another run yet tonight

ZACH: 11:45PM

I just put 6 and some change in and honestly I felt better than I did on run two. Song for the evening was Lights by Journey. Part of Havens Street was even lucky enough to hear portions of my rendition of the classic tune. Encouragement tonight came from my EPCO coworkers Carson Truesdell and Timmy Kimball. They read my last post and after contemplating starting a GoFundMe to support me going to 50cent wing night, Carson decided he could chip in a wing all by himself. image1.PNG
Unfortunately Shay’s was closing and I had business to attend to. Did my best to address my quads during break and switched back to my HOKA’s. Something seemed to work as it only took me a mile or so to get warmed up. Jaunted around town, exceeded the 28.5 for the day and headed back, had more in the tank though and at this point I’m feeling pretty good for nearly half way.
Waking up, however, is the scariest part as one of these days something is bound to give out. Decided to splurge and drop the whole 20lb ice bag in the tub and for the first time this week I feel like I’m actually icing. I’ll expect miraculous improvements in the morning….
6.4 for the run, 94.9 miles through 3 days! Let’s go!

DAY 4

ETHAN: 12:01AM

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.

ZACH: 1:15PM

This is about to heat up. Haven’t heard from Ethan yet today but I’m hurtin.
Slept forever but got a decent sleep. Woke up, thankfully, and waited a little bit dreading those first steps. Fortunately, I was walking fairly normal. Got my act together and headed out. It’s cool today but extremely windy. Found some new roads via a detour/closed road from my original plan. Luckily found some dirt because I’ve about had enough of all the pavement.
More Gatorade chews at 40min, RunGum at 50min and a Gu at 9 miles. (Yes, I come prepared now) could have used some water but with temps only in the 60’s and wind 20mph+ I was staying fairly cool and held off without any until home. Unfortunately, the inside of my left knee started bugging me around 8 miles in and by the time I got to 10 or 11 I was pressing, I was afraid if I stopped or slowed down the hormones would wear off and I’d realize how much trouble I was in. Made it back and it was almost 13, just a couple minutes over the desired 90 minutes.
Mostly sidewalk the last couple and I think that’s part of my problem. Every little driveway and intersection the sidewalk curves up and down constantly forcing my knee into weird positions. When I got back I was scared but relieved to see it didn’t hurt to walk. More ibuprofen though and I decided to bust out the ol’ DMSO/ibuprofen trick. Now I’m laying in bed trying to get some recruiting done on my laptop in lieu of going into the office.
I’m still running well but I’ll need my joints to cooperate. My quads were definitely better today… but I’m not worried about soreness, it’s injuries that will be the dagger. All in all I have 107.7 miles down and I expected to be running through injury long before now. We’ll see how well I can recover in the next few hours and what I have left in me today.
ZACH: 7:45PM
The time has come to separate the men from the boys. Ethan is either lying to me to get me to quit first or he is about to go down. I will admit, my knee is no bueno. But I’m icing it down and sticking to the DMSO regiment. Not to mention I already have 118.5 logged with only two runs today. Over 4 ahead of pace if I stop now. Which is what the haters suspect. I, on the other hand, don’t stop in the face of adversity. I pick myself up by my HOKA straps and move on.
Made it a solid three steps today before realizing my knee was in fact wrecked. After trying my best to not compensate form for an out and back 6, I refueled at the car and started going the other direction. Hurting again, obviously. I picked it up, whether it be the hormones from running hard or the changing of form from the faster pace, I was on it. Rolled sub 6:20 up a slight incline before coming back down ultimately hitting 6:01, shut it down the last half mile for low 6 again. There was a 19:08 5k in there somewhere as well as a sub 40 10k.
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.
In pretty high spirits after this run as countless folks are reaching out left and right and I must say it’s pretty cool. Part of me wonders where everyone was at when I was actually running fast in college, but I appreciate it nonetheless.
Ethan: Night time
I’m sitting at 120 miles after day 4.
Zach has informed me that I have to start posting after every run starting tomorrow because people are getting mad at my lack of communication. I will remind you I said I could do a 200 mile week I didn’t say anything about keep a blog to make sure people are interested in how things are going but I’ll give it a go.
It now seems to take around 4 miles for me to start feeling good on a run but I will take what I can get. Three days left I can smell the finish. I am just doing my best keep my head down and keep chugging along. At this point its mind over matter. My legs hurt and feet are a little torn up but nothing short of a broken bone or torn muscle will stop me now. I do have a big shout out for Nicole at Soma sports and orthopedic massage for keeping me going the last couple of days. Thank for the help. Check her out at  http://www.somabozeman.com/nicole-kay you wont regret it!

Day 5

Zach: 11:15am
Well, well, well… what can I say. A lot has happened.
Last night after doing my best to take care of my knee I was contemplating whether to go out again. Ethan said he was going to so I was leaning towards getting something in at least.
This is Sturgis week. For those that don’t know, here in South Dakota there are two seasons, Sturgis, and waiting for Sturgis. The entire population of the state is doubled as hundreds of thousands of bikers flock to a town of 6,000 outside the Black Hills for one giant fiesta. Here in Mitchell, I happen to live across the street from a custom part bike part shop called Klock Werks. Though small, there is a billboard along the expressway, and Thursday night, evidently, is their pre-Sturgis party. So at 9:30pm a live band fired up and after hearing 200 grey beards belt the first verse to “Don’t Stop Believin'” at the top of their lungs I decided to head out.
I am trying to totally eliminate sidewalks and keep pavement to a minimal. So I ran down the middle of the road to a small strip of gravel I knew existed that might just be close enough to town to be somewhat visible. It was quite dark but I managed and best of all my knee was doing alright, not as bad as my 2nd run anyway. I took it fairly slow and it took me awhile to get warmed up but I did a few laps of the dirt road and then made it back a little over 5 miles. 123.9 through 4 days... when I walked in the door was when my world changed.
My knee swelled so fast within seconds I could no longer bend it. Everything short of panicking I limped around the house gathering supplies. Saran Wrap, frozen strawberries, athletic tape, DMSO, ibuprofen and started operating. I would need to ice while I prepared the DMSO. Eventually I got everything wrapped up and did my best to fall asleep even with the itching and burning and with my leg propped way up in the air. At this point I was tired enough that I didn’t even care.
Now to this morning.. I wake up and to my delight the knee is not worse, better if anything, mobility is limited so I reapply DMSO and prop it up trying to decide what I want to do. I figured even if I were to quit I would still try to run in the next couple days so might as well run first. Thank God I could move. I was tired and took several miles to get warmed up but by the end I was running nearly pain free and best of all when I walked through the door it didn’t blow up all over again. I have a long ways to go but at this point it appears as long as I can keep the swelling down I’ll be okay. Three 25 mile days to go. I got in almost 11 and today I’m thinking of not waiting as long to get my 2nd run in and see how it does…
All in all, 134.8 miles and so long as I can continue to run without changing my gait I think I can make it.
Ethan 2:37PM
Day 5 kicks off nicely! 15 miles of nice easy running the best I have felt in days! Not to rub it in Zach’s face but I am starting to worry about wether or not he is going to make it. I hope his knee will hold out for a few more days. My feet are a little achey and I have been getting the occasional blister but overall the body is handling this madness well. If I continue to feel good today I will hit the mileage pretty hard and give myself a little room to breathe for the final 2 days.
Zach 6PM
That last run was nothing short of an act of God. I was mounted up with wings like eagles. Pain. Free. No other explanation. This is all insane. Miles just kept clicking off and by mile 2 I’m like forget 8 I’ll go 12.
First day of the week my 2nd run exceeded my first, not to mention this was my fastest run of the week! Running was fun again. Nobody out there but me, nothing cool to look at, but I was rolling and nothing was holding me back. Ethan seems to be doing well also and at this point I think the Bolt race will actually matter!
I’m possibly being stupid but Clay Walker is in town tonight and it’s free. After this run I’m not turning that down. Clay, if you’re reading this, and I know you are, I’m ready and mostly able to come on stage. Hopefully get a run in down in Sioux Falls tonight but we’ll see.
12 miles at 6:39 pace… 146.9 miles. #RollCats

Day 6

Zach 12:30am
I’ve returned from a journey to Sioux Falls to see Clay Walker and I must say it was well worth it. While I did not get called on stage I did get a nice spot in the back where I could prop my legs up comfortably. The driving was not that bad either and even after returning, my knee seems to be holding up well.
I looked up a gravel trail to run on in Sioux Falls and drove there. Literally 5 seconds into my run (which I did not log), a security car honks the horn and he gets out and stutters out a message that basically meant someone told him I couldn’t park there. I asked if I could run on the trails if I parked somewhere else and he said, and I quote, “it’s run at your own risk because the police will do stuff to ya.”
Had I not been so fixated on trying to run I would’ve stopped and enjoyed that moment a little more but instead I hopped in the car and parked at an apartment complex around the corner, took the bike path to the trail and it was just what I wanted, flat gravel trail with smooth footing.
Got probably a half mile in and another guy in a different security car says I can’t be there at all. Again, had I not really wanted to just run and get home I would’ve gone a little more libertarian on him but instead I told him I had to run back to my car on the other side. Went back to the bike path and although it was hard, it was flat and I knew I could trust the footing in the dark. Felt fine but I guess I wasn’t running that fast, you ever feel like you’re being gypped by the GPS when it’s dark?
Anyway, ran enough to have it be a legitimate run and made it back. Ice cream stop and then made my way back home, took care of my knee for the night and now I’m hitting the hay.
5 point something, 152.2 miles down
Zach 2:00PM
Slow starter for me this morning. Slept quite a bit and didn’t end up leaving the house until noon. Drove out to the dirt roads and did a ten mile loop.
Last night I dedicated this run to Chris Derrick as for some backwards reason he is enjoying this nonsense. Chris, I’ve been a huge fan since watching you mix it up with the East Africans back in college! I know 2020 you is gonna be a force to be reckoned with! Also, Ethan and I ran with you when World Indoors was in Portland. We were the guys who were Airbnb’ing tent space and ended up losing the fly off our tent in the middle of a rain storm, remember that? Bowerman TC has not only world class athletes but class act people too, and that’s more important.
Anyway, brutal wind out there the first several miles and wasn’t until I got to 4 that I got my legs back underneath me. No pain today but at this point I’m actually pretty tired. Finished up that loop and then added on a little bit as a cool down.
12.4 for the run, 164.6 miles for the week.
Now I’m watching Ayana run faster than I can and that always stings. Awaiting the Bolt race to see who really wins this “bet.” The whole 200 mile thing was more of a joint challenge, the only bet involved is if Bolt wins, I get to go 201. If anyone else wins, Ethan gets to go 201.
Seeing as we are both still vertical and ahead of pace, it looks like this 100 final will actually matter! (PS, I’m rooting for Bolt because I want that 201, but I will always root for the Americans first and foremost, my Bolt stance is more of a what do I think will happen)
Ethan 5:10PM
So I have fallen behind in my post once again. Big surprise, right? Well, I will give you guys a run by run update.
Day 5 run number 2–an easy 10–felt great. I just set my body on cruise control and the time just flew by. Found a credit card on the trail and and got it back to the right owner which was my good deed for the day.
Got home and was ready to cook up some ramen as usual but it turns out my mom saved me from my college-style diet of the past 5 day with a homemade lasagna! SO GOOD! Might have eaten a little to much because along comes run number 3 and I am burping up lasagna which is rather unpleasant but made it through and got home and ate even more of it. Day 5 felt like day 1 for me. Things were rolling and I was enjoying this ride for the first time since day one.
Day 6: Slept like a baby, got up and headed out for my first run of the day. A mile in I must have looked ridiculous. I felt like I was running like an 80 year old man with hip problems and I am sure I looked like it. My legs warmed up somewhere around mile 4 and then I was feeling good.
Finished up and headed to my parents to reassure them that I am still alive and not passed out in a ditch somewhere.
Got to sit down with them and watch worlds and Justin Gatlin and Christian Coleman both beat Bolt. So crazy! I never would have guessed that Gatlin at 35 could pull off the upset after coming up short fort so many year. Lets go USA! But also a huge shout out to Bolt whose career has been so entertaining the last 9 years. The GOAT without question. With the upset  I now I get to do 201 miles and can forever rub it in Zach’s face that I have done more miles than he has in a week. Sucks to suck. I was so pumped I did a quick 4 miles to round me out at 170 miles for the week.
The finish line is so close I can feel it. Just gotta keep trucking along and it will be here soon than you think.
Zach 8:15pm
I must say I am quite bummed… I feel like Bolt just didn’t put it together right. 9 times out of 10 he wins that race and this just happened to be the one time.
After rallying through a knee injury and a miserable day 2, 201 really had a nice ring to it. Unfortunately, I’ll have to honorably set my sights on a measly 200.0 miles… I can’t help but wonder what’s gonna happen if 7 years from now Bolt retroactively gets promoted to Gold, I’ll never get that mile back. Oh well, Ethan has had an incredible week with seemingly little setbacks on his way to 201.
In the meantime, all I can do is take care of my 35+ remaining miles. I’ll admit I lacked motivation but eventually I got out of the house and drove to my loop. I don’t know what it is about this loop but I just roll on it. Pace started gettin’ hot quick and didn’t take long for me to decide 8 would become 12 just like yesterday. Got through 2 loops/8miles like I was Mo Farah winding up for a 9.8 last hundred only to find out no one was there to make me use it.
Refueled and made it out to the second mile where the wind was still blowing strong from the south. Quite annoyed by this so I essentially cooled down the rest of the way… all still around 6:45 but really the effort was little. Got back at 12 and decided ah what the heck I can cool down some more…. made it back at 13.6 and now I sit at 178.2 through 6 days. It’s fairly late so I doubt I’ll run again tonight as it’s not necessary. The end is near. But don’t count your chickens before they hatch…

ZACH 12:15 P.M.

 

I can honestly say I'm a changed man.

“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:

citwits run 200

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.

Boom. 4:56.

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:

citwits run 200

But beyond the haters, I do have to thank CITIUS Mag for giving us a voice in all of this and all of the people who have tweeted, commented on Strava, liked our post or just read along. Thank you! As a coach, I’m all for finding intrinsic motivation when it comes to athletics, but with something as silly as a 200 mile week, I honestly couldn’t have done it without all of you. Huge shoutout to Cristian Soratos, a former teammate of ours, since he was a supporter and believer from day 1. Go Cats!
Lastly, as we head into the fall where I’ll be coaching Cross-Country at Dakota Wesleyan and Ethan will be coaching at reigning national champs Bozeman High, I want to assure you that we by no means condone this nonsense as proper training! Do not try this at home…
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