From this point forward the Stoke Challenge format is going to change. Why? The darn time zone change ended my 13 day streak, and my hopes for 365 days in a row. In years past the challenge would be done, and I would go back to doing whatever it is a I did with my hour of the day before them. This year is different. This year my misses are opportunities and lessons to be harnessed. Failure isn’t an end, it is another way to make oneself better.
This past week has been a delightful meditation in observation, contemplation, and fluidity. After Day 13, I drove through St. Louis to pick up Micah (Shralpers Union President of Chapters 314 & 305) on our way to Morgan’s (Shralpers Union President of 901). We arrived safely and had a super tasty meal Morgan cooked us.
The next morning we woke up and it was the Memphis to Punta Gorda, FL part of the drive. I knew I would be cutting it close. So as tempted as I was to delay our departure for an hour so I could at least get it in, I decided instead to head out as early as we could in an attempt to just get to where we wanted to be. I made a gross miscalculation, which combined with less than optimal driving conditions, resulted in us arriving at 11:30pm. So there was no way I could get my hour in. Under the “challenge” part of the challenge that means I failed to skate an hour a day.
The next few days driving and getting the last things in place for the 24 Hour UltraSkate event at the Homestead Speedway, was equally as time filling, so once again another day of not being able to get on my board further separated what I had hoped would be a full year of hour a day skateboarding from reality.
Workout #14 24 Hour UltraSkate
When all was said and done. This was a super challenging push. Attempting to skate for 24 hours by itself is challenging undertaking. We were prepared. We had calories. We had my wife heading up support. We had all of 2019’s pushes for building up of the body in preparation. I even had my daughter for a little mental boost on my part. We had some of my best friends skating with me. Motivating me. Keeping me moving and stoked. This was certainly the test for the end of the 2019 skate season, and the results would reveal areas to improve on for 2020. What A Doozy!
I am a little bummed that Endomondo didn’t catch the 20 MPH winds we experienced. It doesn’t even show the torrential downpour that we experienced midway through the day. It rained so hard I repurposed a treat baggy to put my phone in because the rain started hitting buttons on my phone. I discovered much too late that this also caused my tracker to stop tracking for about 3 miles too. When my music and pacing stopped coming through my headphones all I could do was to continue pushing through it. I’ve skated in gnarlier conditions, but not for as long as this.
When the rain stoped, my first and most critical mistake was made. I kept going. My thought was that my clothes wouldn’t stay wet forever. I was wearing my usual push shorts, so I know they would dry fast. My shirt was cotton, so I knew that would retain some water keeping my cool for a bit longer before my body heat dried it out, and then sweat would make it wet again.
What I should have done, was start pushing in my swim trunks. So that as soon as the rain stopped I could have switched to not only my dry push clothes, but also could have dried my shoes and socks out. My mantra bit me in the butt. It was to keep going, and I did. I kept going instead of critically thinking about how all of the wetness was effecting my body, and the extra work I had to do to keep moving because of those few critical mistakes. By hour 16 it was in damage control. Come in, change my pants, try to get the chaffing to stop-too late didn’t matter. How to get my thoroughly soaked shoes and socks, and wrinkly swollen feet to continue on even after the huge blisters had formed. Each gentle step to the pavement was a reminder. Multiple points of pain shot through my feet with every wincing motion and connection to the ground. Kicking become a series of reminders as to how far over the “can manage it” line I had crossed. When I pulled my head up to notice I was 16.5 hours in and had just put up 127 miles I knew that I had made some critical errors in race strategy. Last year I had put up 129 miles in 14 hours, so that math helped me make the decision to call it good for the event.
Despite coming up short on goals I am still really really really stoked. I lasted longer, in harder conditions than last year. My legs weren’t cramping. My hips which failed me last year showed no signs of the locking up. This was in large part to the calories that my wife kept me up on, as well as the hydration. I was never hungry, never over full, and never thirsty. The support crew kept me rocking, and I am so grateful for it.
My biggest takeaway from this year’s Ultra, my critical linch pin to develop for this year’s pushes, and ideally what will carry me to a 200 mile Ultra for 2021 is going to be developing my critical thinking and planning of adverse conditions while on the push. A big part of this will be researching the mental attitudes and habits that Ultra athletes have developed and come up with to keep them going through really challenging conditions. In short, building that mental game.
I know 2019 was a tough one in that regard. On several pushes I just stopped when I got bummed out, or discouraged. I gave myself an out, instead of working through it. Once the precedent has been set of allowing myself that out when I should have and could have kept going the brain went to it again. I even encouraged people I loved to skate with to come with me on this push so that I was hoping it would give me a pass at this skate. However, the old adage of practicing how you play came in huge for this skate.
After this skate, during this skate, and the days after, which came and went in just as much of a whirl as the proceeding days a new plan was formed to help me in the regards of not giving up so easily and to come up with a reason to keep the Stoke Challenge going despite several days of not being able to continue.
This brings us to the new deal. Since we are no longer in consecutive days in a row, I am just going to number each of the workouts. Let’s see how many workouts I can do this year. This way it keeps me accountable to this blog and the project, and the goal for this year, which is going to be a huge mental training year. I am even more stoked now, than before.
Workout #15 was a balance board workout. There ain’t any skating going on in KC right now. When we came back from Florida, which seemed to take away all the all the sun and heat for the rest of the time we were there, we were greeted with snow and ice. Bleh! No worries though, we got it in, we got it figured out. Now to simple execute.
Much love, thanks for reading.