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Guest Blog: My 48-Hour Dreadmill Challenge

By Chris Cantrell, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Ed. note: Between December 26 and December 28, 2017, Chris Cantrell, a Pod fan and self-proclaimed “recreational runner” took on the Dreadmill 48-Hour Endurance Challenge on a public treadmill located inside a local running store. Here is his story.

How it all started.
Many have asked how I ended up spending two days on a treadmill in the We Run store in Cedar Rapids.  Well, let’s just say maybe I should learn to keep my mouth shut.  Sometime last September, I was surfing Ultrasignup looking at all the cool races listed there.  Then it happened.  I saw the race listing that would change the rest of my year: a virtual race called the Dreadmill 48 Hour Endurance Challenge.  The challenge was to run 100 miles on a treadmill in under 48 hours.

The race listing stated: The Dreadmill 48 Hour Endurance Challenge is a virtual event. Any two days that you choose in December 2017. This option is open for you to pick whenever you want to run. You have 48 hours to get as many miles possible. This is a zero profit event so 100% of the proceeds go to the Alzheimer’s Association for Alzheimer Research.

I was not unfamiliar with training on the treadmill. I had run the C&O Canal 100 in April 2017. I thought,  “I could do that.”  As I thought about the possibilities of participating in the Dreadmill Challenge, I wondered if there was a way to raise even more money for the cause.  A few days later I brought the idea up to We Run owner Kris Tharp before a group run.  Kris was immediately excited about the idea, and said we could do it IN THE STORE!

This set in motion a whirlwind of sponsorship solicitations, increased treadmill running, and crew coordination.  Participation in two 50k’s and a 12-hour overnight treadmill run gobbled up October.  November was spent trying to get in as many miles as possible on the treadmill while staying healthy.  I don’t think I had any off-treadmill runs in November.  December started with a 53-mile training week and then a taper through Christmas.

Show time!
At noon on December 26, 2017, I pressed the start button on a treadmill in the We Run store in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  I put in 41 miles between noon and 9:29 p.m.  I calculated out my pace and realized my pacing strategy had me on pace to run approximately 200 miles in 48 hours.  (You can clearly see this early running in my MilestonePod graphs below.) I was well aware that pace was not going to be sustainable.  Since I was running in the store and we were putting on a 48 hour event, I needed to be on the treadmill as much as possible.  So I slowed and walked most of the night. 

ABOVE: Supporters Sarah Farebother (running) and Marci Williams. BELOW: I was joined by Linn County Iowa Sheriff Brian Gardner.

The time on the treadmill during most of the challenge passed fairly quickly.  This was largely due to the fact that I had a change in crew members every few hours, a steady stream of people running on a second treadmill next to me, and friends and family stopping by to encourage me.  I was also greatly distracted by telling everyone who would lend me an ear about the MilestonePod I was using to track my run. Although these distractions were useful, it caused me to lose sight of an important priority- foot care. 

Trouble!
I first noticed I had lost track of my feet after a blister popped on a toe.  I hadn’t changed socks often enough and had failed to reapply any lubricant to my feet.  Blistering toes ultimately slowed me down to about 2.0 miles an hour in the last 8 hours.

My local Team RWB chapter, of which I am a member (I am a Marine Corps veteran), served as my crew and did an excellent job.  They kept track of my miles, nutrition and hydration all while giving out door prizes and running multiple raffles.  They also made sure I synced my MilestonePod from time to time (it holds 20 hours of data at one time).  Many of them changed their sleep cycles significantly to stop in and check on me, keep me company in the middle of the night, or come in and work on my feet.  I cannot thank them enough.

In all I ran 118.55 miles in the 48 hours, but more importantly, as a team, we put on an event which raised $3,900 to support medical research funded by the Alzheimer’s Association.

 

 

 

 

 

My Data.
The MilestonePod recorded 114.64 mile (2.9% error), which is due to the fact that I had not yet calibrated my Pod and there were some bits of walking too slow to register (below 100 spm).

Since the Pod holds about 20 hours at one time, we made sure to sync to the App 4 times throughout the event. The Milestone Sports tech team happily agreed to combine these sessions into one for me. Take a look:

Dr. Steven Suydam, Milestone Sports Director of Research, adds: 
Along with Chris’s dedication, his consistently high cadence while running aided in keeping a low rate of impact for the entire event.  Though he was probably sore afterwards, he was able to complete all 48 hours of being on his feet by not beating up his joints with higher rates of impact during the run. Great job, Chris! Thanks for letting us “ride along” for your cool event! 
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To contact Chris, donate or learn more, see the event Facebook page.

 

Author: Nancy Rowe

Nancy is the VP of Marketing and Communications at Milestone Sports. She can be reached at nancy@milestonepod.com.