Run Challenge – 100 Miles in February

Abu Dhabi based triathlete (and now serious runner!), Amita Das had her birthday month in February, and wanted to do a challenge. As local races kept getting cancelled and postponed, we wanted to avoid disillusion and also loss of motivation to train. So we set a different target, to run a total of 100 miles in the month of February.

Here is her personal account of this amazing journey:

Amita Das relates:

With no races around it was hard to stay motivated. This challenge was just what I needed to keep me going. Deep down, I wanted to run a 21.1k run but never set a target date for it. I thought it would be a bonus of the 100 miles in a month challenge would add up as training for the 21.1. so it was in effect 2 challenges for me. 100 miles of running in a month, and go from being a 10k runner to a 21.1k in one month.

I did not get into it with a lot of expectations. I knew it was going to be very hard– I would have to run more than double the monthly run mileage I reached over the past 5 months, and over that training for a 21.1 km run meant that there would be long runs that I wasn’t sure I would be able to work out. The challenge wasn’t worth having to faint or get injured. Injuries had to be avoided at any cost. I did not want injuries from training to get in the way of work and life.

I have to be honest; my husband was more excited about the challenge although he knew it meant he would have to do a lot of baby sitting and extra chores while I was out for my night runs. This also meant there were no excuses – I had to give it my all and beat the challenge!

So going into the challenge I knew I would have to listen to my body and cut down on the planned running and may be do a lot of walking instead to hit the target.

Looking back, I remember how in Week 1 I saw the training plan for the month and thought it was scary!!

Now, at the end of Feb, I feel like I understand my body better – I know when I should slow down, and when I can keep up the pace for a little longer.

So at my starting point in Week 1, I said to myself that I am going to give it my all, but was still not very optimistic about hitting 100 miles or indeed a 21.1 km run distance. I knew I had to trust Sara’s plan.

Week 2 arrived, the intervals were hard, but it had to be done! The long runs were now beating my previous bests, so we had a win!

And wait a second, are those muscles I can feel in my thighs?!

Entering Week 3, I’m still enjoying my long runs but dying during the interval sessions. The foam roller has now become my new best friend. Those are definitely muscles in my thighs – Getting harder each week, and I am loving it! (seeing my muscles form was a bonus!)

Week 4 arrives and I’m beginning to think 21.1 might actually be possible!! And here’s something new – After just 1 rest day, it felt like it had been forever since I ran! My legs just wanted to get out and run – never ever thought I would say this!

One the big day of the 21.1 km, I went into it with my usual anxiety and diarrhoea that came with it! My longest run so far at this point was a 15.5k, so how my body would behave after that was still a mystery.

So I was more than a little nervous about this run.

I got myself to my planned start line, and then thought anything beyond 15.5k would be a reason to celebrate. I planned to keep my HR in Zone 3/ Zone 2 so as not to get fatigued too quickly.

Around the 10 kilometre mark, I still felt strong and was happy with my time at this distance. Nearing 15 kilometres, I was happy that I was getting close to a PB distance! Then I reached 17km, actually not feeling too bad at all. I thought maybe I should round it off to 25k instead of 22. (But what would coach say….)

At 18.5k I began to feel a pain in my right ankle and my back. I began to wonder if continuing to run would make it worse, but I also knew that if I stopped or walked, I would definitely not be able to pick up the running after that. So I kept going. It hurt until 20.5k after which I picked up pace a bit and the pain was gone 🤷‍♀️ (the miracle of the mind).

I saw my husband and kid at 21.1 kms, and stopped at 21.3 after making sure that both Garmin and Strava recorded more than 21.1k. Many of you will know how important this is!

If I hadn’t seen my family, I’d probably go on until 22k or 22.5. As I stopped, I realized that things were getting a little stiff – particularly the knee and a little below the knee. My hubby brought oranges which I devoured it in seconds. We took some pics, stretched, and I felt a little better.

During the entire run I so badly wanted to finish it without stopping but I kept telling myself it’s ok if I have to stop running and walk for a while. During the run, I surprised myself! I did not have to stop to walk, I ran all the way and at a much better pace than planned or expected. At the finish, it was the best feeling to find my husband and daughter shouting out loud “mamma we’re so proud of you!”.

For a race feel, they even brought me an old medal from an earlier event!

At the end of it, I have a lot in my pocket and running bank.

– Challenge 100miles of running in a month, 10k-21.1k in a month, 5k PB, 10k PB, zero injuries, improved quads, a better understanding of my body, loads of confidence, (deep down) pride for sticking to the plan and most of all a lot of gratitude to Coach Sara for making this happen!!!

(Thank you Amita, for trusting me!).

Let’s see what her next challenge will be, after her recovery of course!

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