Day 5 - Tomball to Downtown Houston

Today we woke up and got everything ready for the last day of this trip, with just 38 miles to go.  After packing the truck with all our clothing and gear, we drove to Salem Lutheran School where I helped make the announcements over the intercom.  Then, all the students lined the hallways and cheered as we made a victory lap.  It was a really cool moment for all of us, and a great way to start out the last day.

Pastor Stephen DeMik and Nancy Hagaman joined up to run with us for the first 20 miles, and they were a great encouragement, adding some new conversation into the daily mix as well.

From Salem, our next stop was Concordia Lutheran High School in Tomball where we met with the Head of School Joel Bode.  It's always nice to have an excuse to stop for a few minutes, and he encouraged us to continue on to the finish.

Running from Tomball through Houston's Northwest suburbs turned out to be more challenging than we thought.  There weren't any sidewalks on the streets that we could find.  Where there were sidewalks, they only lasted a couple blocks before appearing on the opposite side of the street.  It would be very difficult to walk anywhere, even a few blocks to the store.

At 20 miles, Stephen, Nancy and Pat ended their run and we celebrated the fact that we were getting close to the end. I spent some time in the back of the truck tending to my feet and changing into dry socks, which felt amazing.

I let my wife Natalia know I'd be at Trinity by 4pm, assuming I'd keep up a steady pace for the remaining 18 miles. (It's funny how I could still do running calculations in my head with run-depleted brain abilities.)  The last portion of this run was bittersweet as I started to feel at home on the streets and paths that I normally run.  It was a great feeling to know that I was finally in my own city, with all its good and bad. I didn't have to look at my watch at all for distance, because I knew exactly how far it was to downtown from where I was.

With the rain pouring down, I just kept moving my legs despite the overwhelming desire to just stop.  "I only have 2 hours, 1.5 hours, 1 hour, etc" At some point, my mind switched to "I STILL have over an hour of hard running to go!" and I had to disassociate a bit to get my mind straight and keep my legs working.  I passed a few runners on the path in the Heights and tried to imagine that I looked as fresh as they did, but I'm sure I was a bit wobbly by then.

Turning on to Houston Avenue, I only had .5 miles to go and it was 3:50pm.  To my surprise, there were school staff and some kids there waiting with signs and balloons.  It was so good to see my wife (who had a busy week as school principal), my beautiful daughters and my friends who were waiting there for me.  It was great to be finished!

Total Mileage via GPS - 199.8 (missing .5 miles from when my watch was stopped, so I'm actually over 200!)
Total Running Time - 36 hours
Total Calories Burned - 30,902

I can't thank the following people enough!

Pat Fick who ran every day with me and kept me focused on why I was doing it.

Raymond (the Hawk) and Desine Norris for being the best support crew I could have asked for.  They spent the whole week driving, getting supplies, taking pictures, etc. from Monday to Friday.

Each of our amazing host families.

The Schools we stopped at: Concordia University, Texas, Immanuel Lutheran School in Giddings, Salem Lutheran School, Concordia Lutheran High School and Trinity Downtown.

Each and every one of our donors. Donations are still coming in and we will keep updating the site through the end of November for final numbers.

Coach Caleb Masland and Team Wicked Bonkproof - He and our whole team inspires me, and Caleb has given me the knowledge I've needed to train and recover properly.

My Wife Natalia - for running the household alone for 5 days while also running a busy school.  You are amazing!

Now, it's time to get some work done.

FAQ's:

How many calories did I burn each day? - According to Strava where I upload my activities, I burned an average of 6,000 calories each day from running.

I would get bored, do you run with headphone? Sometimes yes, most of the time no.  I have an active imagination and don't get bored running.  I'm sure I've solved all world problems at least twice in my head while running.  I also meditate and talk to God, the activity helps me zone in.

Didn't your legs hurt? Yes.

How did you train for this? Actually, 6 weeks ago I had to pull myself out of the Twin Cities Marathon because of an injured hip.  I couldn't run at all for two weeks.  I then ran a half marathon with my family and again could hardly walk the next day.  Things were looking bleak for me to even start this 200 mile run.  I started to do more work on the bike trainer and went for long walks just to get my legs moving.  With about 2 weeks to go, I just forced myself to go run, no matter how slowly or painfully.  I ran 2 - 20 milers and a 10 miler within 4 days, then I rested again.  I ran 16 miles the following week and decided that, even though it was still painful to run at a normal pace, I would just go into this knowing I may have to walk most of it.  Thankfully, God gave me the ability to run the whole way.  All the miles I ran during the summer must have given my legs the strength to do this despite my current lack of running fitness.

What did you eat? I normally started out with a big breakfast of eggs and oatmeal, or whatever was available.  During the run I drank a mix of Infinit nutrition that was carbs and electrolytes as well as some Amino Acids to keep my leg muscles from catabolizing themselves.  About every 1.5 hours I ate some kind of energy bar (Bonk Breaker, Powerbar, Clif Bar, etc).  I also ate PB&J Sandwiches.  When I stopped, I tried to get in some Gatorade and a protein bar. Then, at dinner, I ate a big plate of food and was normally hungry again an hour later.

How much weight did you lose? Over the whole week I only lost about 7 pounds, mainly because I kept eating during the day and packed in the calories at night.

Would you ever do something like this again? Of course, who wouldn't?