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USANA Associate 100km Relay for Life

blog12-200x150Hi, my name is Andrew Aitken. I’m a pharmacist, a father, a runner, and I have always been inspired by people like Mike Alsop, who achieve super human feats of endurance for a great cause.

My goal for the year was to run 100km before International Convention in August. When the Relay For Life came up, I decided that this was my opportunity! It was a personal goal that seemed mammoth, even though I had done alpine treks as runs, and spent 8 or 9 hours running up to 60km in some pretty horrible condition, this task is naturally different kettle of fish! But the thing that really appealed to me was that I could combine something I love with an opportunity to raise money for a cause I feel strongly about. Having had numerous relatives suffer and/or eventually die of cancer, I understand the kind of pain and suffering that cancer sufferers and their family experience.

There was much to consider. While the course was about 350m long, and flat, I knew well before hand that it was going to be monotonous and boring, not to mention demotivational to run past your home base every 1/3 of a km! While my previous 60km alpine runs put me in a position of knowing some of what my body was going to have to go through, I knew that I could never anticipate exactly how my body would behave after 100km!

1 week out I looked at the weather forecast, and the weather didn’t look to flash, fairly steady rain and a cool 8-14 Degrees. I’d already decided to run most of my running at night to work to one of my strengths of running better in the cool night air. This is usually how I train – I usually start my runs between 9 and 11pm at night!

Then on Thursday that week, I checked the weather forecast and it had flip flopped completely! The daytime high was to be 27 and the nighttime low was to be 18 Degrees! Not what I’m used to at all!

I prepared for the race by doing my usual carb loading before the race, and used my usual rehudration fluid. But I found that my stomach wasn’t settling and eating became difficult. My stomach began to rebel at the thought of eating or drinking anything sweet. It wasn’t until about the 60 km mark that I tried something new. I called in some support and got a healthpak delivered to me , downed a rev3 surge, and changed to drinking just water and eating grapes and bananas. Within a couple of km, my stomach settled, and not only that I had more energy and performed better in the last 40 km than I did in the previous 40!blog

The heat was quite unbearable, and was my biggest enemy on the night! I started running at about 5pm, and finished at just before 8am the next morning. I had people encouraging me from the sidelines all night and earnt the nickname “Forrest”! In the last 5 km one of my support team who shall remain nameless (Jane Naylor), mentioned to the MC that I was just about finished my 100km run, and so he announced it for all to hear, and then I was being cheered on by people everywhere! The whole atmosphere electrified, and it seemed that everyone was clapping or shouting encouragement from the sidelines! It was magic! I put on a burst of energy for the last km and finished to applause and hugs from supporters. It was a great to combine doing something I love, and support cancer sufferers in Southland. It also feels good to know that I achieved my goal, and raised money for a good cause at the same time!  

There were two other people who had set out to run 100km, and one of the made it. With stops his time was 18hr30min, mine was 14hr50min, so while I wasn’t the only one to finish 100km that day, I know I was the fastest! Looking at my GPS tracking program it recommended that during that time I was running I should have consumed about 18L of water! That’s how hot it was!

I have been using the Healthpak, Procosamine and Biomega to support my joints and recovery rate. I have found that my endurance is always better with the Rev3 surge, but on the advice of Dr Nick Kimber, I only use it when fatigue starts to become an issue rather than at the beginning of a long endurance effort like this one! I remained injury free, and now I’m recovering with my Healthpak, procosamine, and Biomega!

People has been asking me what my next goal is – I reply I have no idea, but all I know is that unless you are pushing harder and stretching yourself, you will never grow. Good is the enemy of great, and when we settle, we are always settling for second best. So I intend to push for more, to stretch for more, to achieve more. I refuse to believe that I’ve reached my peak – so should you. If we don’t stretch and strive for something better, than we will never be better.

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