In exactly one week I’ll be on day one of my female fastest known time (FKT) attempt on the 223- mile Ouachita Trail that starts in Oklahoma at Talimena State Park and ends in Arkansas at Pinnacle Mountain State Park. You can read my original announcement HERE. I have a team of 12 people and 2 dogs that will be supporting me in this adventure from handling logistics, to having food prepped for me, to running with me and even giving me daily massages. (I hope your brain works like mine and that you pictured the 2 dogs doing all of those task! Ha!) I truly am overwhelmed that so many people are willing to drive 6-7 hours, sleep in tents, and hop from aid spot to aid spot to support me. I am grateful.
Mentally I feel prepared for what’s ahead. Ingrained in being prepared for an adventure of this kind is knowing that things won’t go to plan (even with my Godzilla spreadsheet system I created) and that there are so many uncontrollables. I trust myself to respond well to whatever arises and take comfort in having an expert team who can further help solve problems along the way.
Physically I feel strong and efficient. I teamed up with Joe “Stringbean” McConaughy for my training plan and for advice on prepping for a multi-day FKT attempt. I’m much stronger and fitter than I’ve ever been thanks to his guidance. I had a great 100K (62 mile) race followed by a 50K (31 mile) race the next weekend to test out my fitness and strategy. I was able to maintain my training without down periods from both races which is a confidence boost and tells me my body is ready! Side note: Stringbean is tackling the FKT on the nearly 800 mile Arizona Trail in a couple of days. Read about it and follow him HERE. Geaux Stringbean geaux!!)
Boys & Girls Clubs Members Participation
One of the most exciting pieces to come out of all of this is seeing the support of the club kids at Boys & Girls Clubs of Acadiana. Our stellar Club Directors (Nedra, Micah, Brian, Brianna, and Elise) rolled out a challenge to the kids in conjunction with my run to both motivate them to run and to offer me support. For four weeks in March, the club staff is tracking the number of laps each club member runs and we will recognize the top performing club, the top performing kid at each club, and the top performing club member overall! Our staff even asked to be included so we will recognize the staff member with the most laps! I am delighted to report that after just two weeks of tracking, club members and staff have run a total of 322 miles. Wow! It’s an honor to be a part of their journey as they knock out so many miles and I will most certainly think about them for inspiration on my own run. Please consider showing myself, our club kids and even our motivated staff, support by donating to our organization: DONATE! 100% of your donation will go to the organization as this is a self- funded adventure. Below are a few pictures from our Abbeville, New Iberia, Lafayette and Lake Charles clubs.
Frequently Asked Questions
To close out my post, I will answer some of the most common questions I get when people learn about this 223 mile run.
What’s a “Fastest Known Time” or “FKT”? Exactly what it sounds like! There is an official website that is used internationally to track attempts and successes on routes around the world. There are rules about what qualifies as a route (hint- your private accessed backyard doesn’t count) and rules about how to track an effort for it to be considered a legitimate, verifiable FKT. You can learn more HERE.
What do you do about food? Eat lots of it! Below is a picture of (mostly) non-perishable items that I have packed. Later this week I’ll stock up on the perishable items. My goal is to eat at least 4,000 calories a day including breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as, snacks throughout the day. Luckily, one of my friends, Jeremy, is in charge of counting my calories for me and making sure I have what food I need to sustain a multi-day effort. By the end of my effort my coach would like for me to be consuming around 5,000 calories if my body is agreeable to it.
Will you sleep? If so, where? Yes! My current strategy is to sleep from midnight until 4 am. The first night we will stay at Queen Wilhelmina State Park since it is right on the trail. In fact, we are making that prep headquarters as I reserved a suite for the day before the run. Thus, we will get two nights in the same bed. The remaining nights I’ll sleep in Justin and I’s tear drop (built by Justin during COVID’s shelter at home time period).
Are you doing this alone? Some people do these kinds of adventures solo to nab what’s called a “self supported” FKT but I’m going for a “supported” FKT. As I mentioned before, I’m a lucky gal and have lots of people and some pups coming out. I’ll share more on them later!
Do you get something if you reach your goal? I think people generally mean some kind of prize when they ask this question and the answer is yes- the satisfaction of reaching a goal that I’ve focused on and worked really hard to get for months and months. If you mean money and a trophy…LOL. This has only cost me money. I will also get black toe nails and the inability to walk normal for days so who’s winning now?! 🙂
How can we follow along and what’s the timeline? My friend Derrek will be with us for the entire trip and regularly updating my Facebook Page so that will be the best way. I’ll also carry a Garmin inReach Tracking and Communication device which allows you to see where I am on the trail. I’ll post that link on my Facebook page before the trip as well.
I plan to start at 8 am Sunday morning (weather dependent) and hope to finish within 4 days. My current goal is to run 57 miles Sunday, 65 miles Monday, 58 miles Tuesday, and 43 miles Wednesday. The clock clicks over to 4+ days at 8:01 am Thursday morning since I’m not starting at midnight. Thus, I’m thinking more in terms of day 1, 2, 3 and 4 where “day 1” really means 8 am Sunday to 8 am Monday.
Why do you want to do this? I speak to this question on the original announcement I posted on my blog. The magic of the trail is a big part of what made me curious to start with but my why is bigger than just that. My parents, and life, have taught me I can do hard things so even though I’ve never done something of this scale before it feels possible. The hardest things I’ve done in my life, so far, is process the loss of my mom when she was 50 and now my dad at 59. Managing exhaustion and degradation of my body is certainly different than believing I could survive a broken heart but the grief has taught me there is a depth and well of optimism and stick-with-it-ness that I hadn’t previously encountered within myself. Additionally, I know of people that have done MUCH harder physical feats than this. I believe in the resiliency of the human spirit because of my own experiences and because of what history teaches us so I hope to tap into that and come out better for it on the other side.