I’m a lover of the world and far off places who is so excited that you’re here. Looking forward to sharing more of my world with you and all the things I love. I hope this site really does feel like a wellness oasis right here on the internet.
Mental health and running have always been tied together for me and the sanity miles I ran during the 2020 quarantine truly kept me sane. Running provided freedom and normalcy while the world drastically changed around us al. I’ve always appreciated the clarity running brings me but have tapped into that on even deeper levels over the past couple of years. Focusing on putting one foot in front of the other while being mindful of my breathing has been powerful. I’ve surprised myself over the years with what I’m able to accomplish and with running you can clearly see progress, goals and achievement in a way that can sometimes be overlooked in other areas of life. Running 48 miles in 48 hours was an adventure. The experience was just as challenging as I imagined it would be but even more rewarding than I initially pictured. Running is a commitment even if it’s just a mile but running solo, during a major music festival weekend, with weather elements at play and minimal sleep is commitment on a whole new level. There were moments I did not feel like running and miles that just did not feel great but I’m so glad I kept going and I was blown away by the support I received. Shoutout to all the people who wished me luck and believed I could do it! Whenever I felt challenged, someone would send a positive message, a great song would come on or I’d recall a memory with a loved one that would keep me going. Let’s get into the details!
I actually ended up doing 50 miles and doing 6 miles on the last run with 2 miles just focused on digesting the experience. Running 4 miles every 4 hours is challenging, although you’ve got rest in between it’s not easy. The lack of sleep gets to you and fueling for a run like this is different than fueling for one long distance at a time. You’ve got way less down time than you calculate but you do have time to rest so want to make the most of it. After the run, you don’t just pop into rest, you lose time showering, fueling, cleaning and just trying to fall asleep. Since I added in the journaling aspect to each run, I also had to set aside at least 10-15 minutes before the runs to sit down with my thoughts and at some moments it was really tough to focus on being present in that reflection moment. There were a few runs where I ended up doing it after but since I planned to journal for each run and wanted to focus on that entry I tried to keep consistent with doing one at a time. At 3:50am I just wanted to sleep a few extra minutes but, I pushed myself into a seated position and at times had to force myself to grab a pen, open my notebook and write. I knew I’d thank myself later and really wanted to challenge myself to think about the people that have supported me throughout my life so it was totally worth it but exhaustion gets real.
Relaxing in between runs can be tough but it’s so important. I set alarms so I wouldn’t miss the next start time but it’s hard not to get ahead of yourself thinking about the next four miles. I remember waking up every 10 minutes between 6am and 7am on Saturday morning (day 2) because I was nervous I’d miss the next alarm. The 4am runs were probably the most challenging because it felt like I’d just gone to sleep and at 4am it’s still dark outside. I did the 4am runs inside for safety reasons and the treadmill can get old especially when there’s no one else in the gym but these were the runs where I was able to be the most present with my thoughts which I appreciate looking back on it. I hyped myself up with some of my favorite songs and just focused on one mile at a time.
The biggest learning I had during the experience besides how much laundry this created was the way that breaking down large goals into smaller chunks can really make the process feel more approachable. I knew I’d run 48 miles total but focusing on that large scale goal was intimidating so I focused on one run at a time and one mile at a time, allowing myself to celebrate along the way. I’m not great at celebrating my own progress and this really forced me to practice doing that. This process reminded me of marathon training in so many ways. When training for longer distance races celebrating progress leading up to the race makes the training itself even more rewarding. One thing I love about running is how clearly you can see progress, mile to mile, day to day and race to race. Whether that progress be in faster time, longer distance or even just a usual route that feels easier. When I first started running almost 10 years ago 2 miles felt long and took me almost 30 minutes, if not more. Over the last several years I’ve drastically increased my baseline and improved my time but I’ve found that running consistency is always key. The more I run even if it’s just a mile, the more I get into the groove and the easier it all feels. As I ended the 4 miles for 48 hours, 4 miles even twice a day started to feel more approachable. Toward the end although I was tired I was craving even longer distances because discovering new parts of Chicago was exciting. I also began to feel a new level of comfort in the routine which I didn’t expect. For me, it was comforting to know that no matter what at the next four hour mark I’m going to run. I took time off work and was very open with everyone about what I was doing so it also felt great to just lean into the moment without worrying about emails, deadlines and how I needed to show up for others.
This is the part I added to the overall challenge because I wanted to use the 48 hours to reflect on a deeper level. A reason I ended up choosing to do this alone was also to lean into the journaling as a way of still being connected with others. Honestly it was tough and there were times I didn’t want to think, write or reflect but I pushed myself to do so and I’m happy I did. I re-read some of the entries after the experience ended and they really did remind me of the strength that I draw on from my community. I also reflected on the people, moments and feelings I wrote about as I was running which did help keep me going. I thought it would be more organized in my mind in terms of dedicating one run to a person and thinking about that person on the run but I really drew on all of the memories throughout the journey.
Here was my process:
Overall, I journaled before my runs but there were a few times where I dedicated the run beforehand but wrote things down after. I tried to add in a layer of describing how I felt after each run but didn’t do that for all of them. There were some runs where I felt powerful and victorious while other runs felt slow and challenging. Some of these I noted down but I did try to mentally take a moment after each run to process what I felt in that moment. I kept track of the runs in a note so I’d tick the number off post run and think through my feelings in the process. Part of me wishes I’d journaled more after the runs but there’s just such limited time in between them all I focused more on fuel and rest.
I spoke a bit about this on Instagram and as I was breaking down the runs above. You don’t need to run 48 miles to learn these lessons. For me, it was a helpful exercise and the journey allowed me to practice a lot of things I’m working on while doing something that I love. There are so many other ways you can approach practicing these life skills and even committing to 1 mile can be really impactful.
I got quite a few questions as I finished up the challenge so I’ll answer the most frequently asked here with more to come!
Shoes: I wore these for most runs and I sized up to an 8.5 from my typical 7.5/8W Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% Flyknit
Eating & Drinking: I ate a lot of small meals focused on protein and complex carbs just after each run. I also focused a lot on hydration.
Preparation: This deserves it’s own blog post but in short I had a great baseline so I didn’t train too long specifically for this challenge but I did focus on leg/core strength as well as overall endurance. I would run especially on tired legs and row as well as bike. Mentally, I just did my best to brace myself and sharing also helped keep me accountable.
Recovery: Sleep is key when you can! I tried my best to sleep while it was dark but also took a few naps during the day. I used my Hypervolt Massage Gun (inexpensive dupe) after almost every run and a foam roller as well. I booked the Champions IV at Lume Wellness and really loved the experience, definitely helped keep me hydrated in the heat. I also booked a B12 Booster and Sauna as a part of my recovery after the experience. You can use code KIRA50 to save on your first service!
Let me know what other questions you have and I’ll continue to share more information about the entire process via both the blog and my Instagram. Sharing the playlist below that I ran to toward the end which gave me life! Hopefully you enjoy this mix of dubstep, hip hop and a few other songs I love.