Yesterday, I completed the #LimitlessChallenge. This was a week-long vertical challenge endurance adventure, ran by Aravaipa Running / Run Steep Get High team in Arizona. For 7 days, participants test their limits by reaching any of the 6 levels of heights, representing the elevation of different mountains (and the Empire State Bldg, for Level1). You are in control of the challenge, you pick the time, distance and mountain, provided it is done during May 25-31, 2020, the challenge period.
I am still working from home, and sometimes it felt like I can never disconnect from work. There are some hectic days as well, because I am leading this project that is complex and in some cases has ambiguity which we need to figure out. I thought this challenge could at least keep me going through the week, because it is something I can look forward to and relax my mind when I am not working. When I signed up, I wanted to reach at least Level 2, which was Camelback Mountain in Arizona, because I have climbed that mountain in person. Given the little time I have during the week, this would be a good goal. It was a stretch goal to reach Mt. Mitchell, which is Level 3 of the challenge.
Day 1 was Memorial Day, so I did a long run that had some good climbs, and already completed Level 2. I moved my circled goal up a level when I think it is possible. On the weekdays, I managed to do a couple of short runs during the day; then mid-week, found time to sneak out and ran to my local park 1 mile away, which had hills. By that Friday, I reached the peak of Mt. Mitchell, my stretch goal. With 2 days left in the challenge, which are weekends, I decided to go for Level 4, which is Mt. Whitney’s peak, at 14,505 feet.
The suspense was building up, on Saturday when a small group of my friends and I ran in El Corte de Madera. We had a variety of paces, so we actually were spaced out when we ran, just waiting for each other at the junctions. It was beautiful! The lush green surroundings and tall trees were very soothing and stress-relieving, after a tough work week. I was excited when we climbed, hoping I would get the elevation needed.
Photo of me taking a photo taken by: Karen O.
After the run I went home to check my data, and found that I needed 1,500 feet more to get to Mt. Whitney (virtually, of course). I went back out in the afternoon at my local park, and did 7x Hawk Hill repeats, hoping that was enough elevation.
It took me 5 days to accumulate ~6,900 feet of elevation, and just 2 days to climb ~7,700 feet. On the last day of the challenge, I #LevelUp and reached the peak of Mt Whitney! Again, this is virtually speaking. Maybe one day I’ll climb Mt Whitney in person. Maybe if I had enough time during the week, I could achieve Mt. Everest, but that will be for next time… I’m just grateful that I have a job that can support my hobbies like ultra-running. #IAMLimitless! Onwards to the next virtual challenge!
My actual total daily mileage and climbs: