Friday, January 6, 2023

Ultramarathon Streak: I just felt like running

Ultramarathon Streak World Record


This post is probably long overdue. Today, the day that I write this, marks day 63 of an ultramarathon streak that I started on a bit of a whim. I didn't train for it nor did I plan for it. This may sound especially insane for most people, but I already run most days and since work would be a bit slow, it could take some of my usual work time. Little did I realize the challenges and intensity of experience that running so many hours across so much terrain would entail. Now at day 63, I am glad I didn't realize the extent of the challenge, I'd rather go in optimistic and idealistic than anxious and stressed. 

One of the very rare days of shorts and tank top!

How it started

I am sure that at some point over the past year or two a seed was planted that got me to where I wanted to do this streak, but I am not sure what sparked it. Perhaps it was seeing the talented and courageous Jacky Hunts-Broersma do a 104 day marathon streak in 2021 as an amputee. Or maybe it was the equally talented and courageous Alyssa Clark running a 95 day marathon streak during covid in 2020. I can't be sure because at the time of hearing about these amazing women, it did not even cross my mind that I might want to do something like this. Shout out to Alyssa who helped me prepare the week before my ultra-streak with answering a ton of my questions, giving me tips, sharing her info and verification so I could better go for the world record - thank you Alyssa, you're a star. It's very complicated to attempt a world record and without her help I would not have been sufficiently prepared. 

I do think my thru hiking adventures in Arizona paved the way for me to realize I was capable of a big running streak. I've done 400 miles in 10 days and other big weeks of high volume. Thru hiking has always been especially hard for me (but I love it so much) because I have kids, dogs and a business so spending a month or two on the trails just isn't possible. This streak however, is possible for me, and allows me to still be a parent, a business owner and spend time with my dogs. 

Fast forward to this year, to late October/early November. With the final race of Destination Trail (my company) over for the year in mid-October, the Moab 240 mile Endurance Run, I was finally able to think about what I wanted to do for fun. I always like to do something adventurous on my birthday (Nov 8) and since I was in my work off season - ok still lots of work but I am my own boss so I can be flexible, I thought maybe I'd do a marathon streak. As I researched it I wondered, "is there an ULTRAmarathon streak?! Because if there is that is way more up my alley." Although a marathon streak would be easier and take less time, I am an Ultrarunner and the Ultra streak record needed some major updating! I wasn't doing this to do something easy anyway, so ultra streak it was.

Snow Day 50k

Upon researching Guinness World Records I found a record of 22 days. Ok, I thought, I think I am going to do this. From the very start of my consideration process to starting the running was just over a week. Which is to say I had decided almost immediately to do it on a whim. All the best things I've done have been on a whim. I had a good feeling about this. I trust my gut and I just knew I needed to do it. 

I am in the kind of running shape where I knew I could do a streak, but I didn't know for how long or if my body would hold up, after all, the last 50k I did was back in August and I don't usually do more than 5-12 miles most days. Typically I take a day or two off a week at the most but do regularly take days off and have NEVER done a significant running streak. 

To my credit, I rarely get injured. I am very flexible for a runner. I used to be a massage therapist. I have been running 26 years more on then off. I knew that I would be able to problem solve my way through most issues, mental or physical. I can say now, 63 days in that not once have I wanted to quit. 


How long to streak for?

From the very start of considering the streak I just wanted to be open to doing it for as long as my body would hold up. I wasn't sure if that would even be the record-breaking 23 days, but I wanted to try. In my head, my goal was MUCH, MUCH bigger than 23. I knew I'd be disappointed if I didn't get as far as the marathon streaks, which at the time were around 100 (a bit more) and currently there is a woman who is planning 150 in Australia. 

Most of all though I wanted to do this level of running, this insane volume, to satiate my curiosity. See what I was capable of. See how my body adapts. Or if it can adapt. At the time of starting I had to stay very focused on the 23 day goal as thinking too "big picture" could be overwhelming. My next goal was (is) making it to the HURT 100 miler, which is next week as I write this, Jan 14-15 (day 71-72 of the ultra streak) and then hopefully refocus my goal farther. 

Here is some info on the record and rules as well as some facts about the streak thus far:

  • I started on Nov 5, 2022
  • I've run well over a 50k (min 31.06 miles) every single day beginning on Nov 5, 2022 until current day
  • No days off
  • All runs are done at once, not broken up throughout the day
  • All runs are done outdoors and no treadmill or mechanical equipment is used
  • Verification will be submitted to Guinness World Records upon completion of final day
  • Verification follows all Guinness World Record requirements as outlined in their handbook and material for this specific record, defined as: Most Consecutive Days Ultramarathon Runs"
  • I officially applied for the Ultramarathon Consecutive Days Runs record before beginning the streak
  • Current verified record is now 11 days held by Katie Spotz as of the day of this writing as the 22 day record that was in place when I began was changed mid-attempt (my attempt) to a non-binary record. I surpassed both those records in November. 
  • Runs are mapped and recorded on two GPS calibrated devices and runs are no less than 31.5 miles, most being 31.6-32 miles 
  • Runs must start and end on the same day and rest breaks are recorded and governed by Guinness Records so as to not "break the run up" throughout the day. Runs are timed start to finish with watch time running without being stopped the entire run 
  • Runs for me typically take 5-7hrs at an "easy pace" depending on weather/temperature, route, amount or presence of snow and ice, inches of snow, energy levels and pain/injury. For example, we have gotten 12 inches of snow for some days, others we had negative temperatures (-15F). I run no matter the conditions so it does take more time some days. Typically snow days are up to an hour slower as there is often significant ice and snow to run through. I have had some days with more extreme pain that were also slower. Thankfully, those days are over and runs are more predicable now. I have gotten faster overall - my easy is now an hour faster than it was when I started.
  • Injuries: I have had a number of issues, none of which have stopped me yet. I have been able to treat and even fix most the issues that have come up. Others have improved but not gone away. I have had extreme bilateral shin pain, achilles tendonitis, back of the knee immobility and pain, hallux limitus and accompanying swelling and sensitivity, back and shoulder pain, osteitis pubis (pubic symphysis pain). Various tendonitis issues in the legs. I think that's about it. My body has shown great resilience and strength overcoming most of these issues, but I still have to work on them daily to make sure they stay under control. Some days I spend an hour or more stretching and rolling/massage, however I am happy to report as of this writing that PT and massage is being required less than it was just a week ago.
  • I am balancing work (running a business), caring for my children (teenagers, makes it easier!) and playing with my pups with doing a 50k every day. There's not much time for anything other than work-kids-50ks right now, but my daughter has joined me for the end of the 50ks from time to time and my dogs regularly do the first 5-10 miles with me - depending on the conditions
  • I do 31.5-32 miles a day /224ish miles a week /992ish miles a month that's about 45 hrs of running a week 
  • I'm running in Boulder, Colorado at 5,400ft. This time of year temperatures range from low single digits to 40s/50s F but seem to typically be 20s-30s F. During my streak, I have seen temps -15F to 60s. 
  • I mostly use the Nike Alphafly Next% road shoes, and alternate between 5 diff pairs. I have also used Altra torin and Altra lone peak on trails but they don't provide enough cushion for me for 224 miles a week
  • I have no idea how many calories I consume or burn. I just try to eat a lot. I have breakfast and coffee in the AM. I eat a few items on the run and drink 40-50oz water and/or coffee (love grabbing a mocha along the run). Remember it's quite cold in CO so I don't sweat much. I eat a snack after the run, then a big dinner and try to have another snack before bed. I do not follow a specific diet. I do eat meat. My fav meal is rare steak, vegetables and rice. I prefer not to eat processed food. I like fatty food more than sweet food. I like all foods!
  • I think I have lost 10-15 pounds in the first month of doing this. My weight seems to be more stable but has fallen bit over the past few weeks, but very slowly. I think it is still leveling off. I do not know my starting weight, so I cannot be sure about exact weight loss since start. I have started weighing myself lately. I can tell about the weight loss visually and can feel my bones more. My energy levels are great and I still have a regular period. 
  • "How long do I plan to go?" is a non stop question and I will not answer it because I have not decided and I do not want to answer it yet. I want to take one day at a time. I cannot go forever as I am sacrificing many aspects of life to do this, however I really love my runs and know I will miss them when I am done. I can see now that it is possible perhaps for some people, perhaps even myself, to do a streak like this for quite a lot longer than I thought previously possible... if one is willing to put aside the time. Once I reach my final goal, I may have to acknowledge that I seem to be able to go on forever but must quit so as to make room for a more balanced life. I hope to quit on my own terms like this - not out of injury. And hopefully at a number that I can be proud of (and 63 is not it!)
Thank you for reading, I am grateful to share the journey, for the ability to run and to explore my inner world through my outer world adventures. May you too have such incredible journeys! You can follow my on Instagram @runcandicerun twitter at @runcandice and TikTok at @runcandicerun where I mostly post daily updates. 

One of my favorite "trails" on my daily route








18 comments:

  1. I am super impressed--I have enjoyed watching from about day 3 or so. Northern California has been hit by a ton of rain--and my mantra has been "If Candice can do 32, I can do five!"

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  2. Awesome! Knew you were going to nail the record and surpass it by A LOT! Keep going! Sending you strength and love from Argentinian summer, Sofi!

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  3. Thank you so much for sharing all this info! I’ve enjoyed watching your insta stories every day.

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  4. Wow!! Just wow!! You are an amazing athlete, both physically and mentally! I wish you the best of luck as you continue to pursue your goals!!

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  5. Go Candice Go! Good luck at Hurt100. Inspiring.

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  6. Thanks for sharing your experience with us, it's amazing what people can achieve when they push themselves.

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  7. Candice, your story is just amazing. Really love seeing your daily pictures on twitter. Keep going as much as you can and want. :)
    When i talked with a ultrarunner last time they told my about fascia training, which made all their pain go away. Specially the shin pain.
    Pretty sure you know about it :)

    Keep running and all the best fir your world record.

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  8. Thank you so much for giving so much. I've been so curious and entertained by your grit and will soon be chasing your record! Keep at it.

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  9. Well done Candice and keep going strong. Great blog and look seeing your progress on

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  10. Well done Candice, great blog and I love seeing your videos on Twitter and hearing your progress. Keep going and keep strong.

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  11. Awestruck. It’s fun and inspiring to watch your daily updates. And a lesson in the power of appropriate pace (guided by body and conditions) vs time, and no expectations on streak length. Reminds me of Alison Levine’s teachings from her mountaineering and north&south pole excursions. Focus (here or in life) on taking the next step forward, not how fast we’re going. You’re amazing.

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  12. What you are doing is amazing. Keep going as long as you want to. I have been a runner for over 25 years and usually run 4-5 miles almost every day. Never considered doing what you have accomplished. Alan

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  13. Amazing and inspiring work C! Congratulations!

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  14. You are such a powerful positive inspiration Candice! May the wind be always at your back

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  15. Love this journey. By any chance do you do any sleep tracking / readiness tracking? It would be fascinating to see how your RHR, sleep and other things have been impacted or changed over the course of the streak. Following until the end...May it be off in the distance and on your terms! Good luck and thank you!

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  16. I love your attitude. Keep on keeping on!

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Thank you for commenting!