Testing One's Own Limits

Alyssa Clark has broken the world record for most consecutive marathons run by a female! Previously set at 60 days by Alice Burch. Alyssa will reach her goal of 100 consecutive marathons on July 8 2020. Yes, we said 100 consecutive marathons.  What is more impressive than her running is her pursuit of strength and freedom against a life threatening disease.

I hated running as a child, but loved being outside and playing field sports especially lacrosse. When I was 10 years old, I read a book called “Ultramarathon Man” by Dean Karnazes and knew someday I was going to run an ultra. Just before middle school, I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis which is an autoimmune disease that affects the digestive system. For some reason I began to turn to running as a place of freedom and strength against the disease. At 14 years old, my disease became life-threatening and could not be controlled by medication. I had emergency surgery to remove my colon and had a temporary ileostomy for 3 months before I had a second surgery to reverse the ileostomy. Running was my companion throughout the illness. It was my way to prove to myself I was not sick. After I recovered, I continued on as a competitive cross country skier and began to do long distance 5+ hour training runs on the trails of New England while I was in high school. I fell in love with these runs and the journeys I would go on when I was out there. My junior year of college I promised myself I would run a marathon when I graduated. As is typical of my nature, I skipped the marathon and went straight into a 50km ultra. Ever since then I have found such love and freedom on the trails I just can’t stop.

How is your body feeling with the days adding up? She hopes to complete 75 consecutive days of marathons!

The body is feeling good! I am continuously amazed at the human body’s ability to adapt to physical and mental challenges. There have definitely been some ups and downs and some tough days, but overall the great days far outnumber the challenging ones. I have been using PR Lotion pre and post marathon. I feel it has been very beneficial to my legs. Before starting to use the lotion, my legs felt pretty laggy and tired to start out, but PR Lotion helps me get past the initial fatigue and warm up time. Makes the marathon much more comfortable. I also believe it has helped me with recovery and making that a priority in order to keep going one day after the other.

Here’s a bit of my motivation behind the marathon plan: 

For some reason, I’ve been given or developed the capacity to do very long physical challenges. Running for extremely long periods of time seems to be something I have found that not only helps me to stay mentally and physically focused and strong, but also motivates others to challenge their perceived limits. When I first thought of this idea, it was a way for me to test my limits. My goals in ultra-running are to be the best multi-day and stage race athlete I can be. This seemed like the perfect time to test the mental, physical, and recovery skills I need in those races in a controlled environment. All of my races have been cancelled until October, so testing myself now is the perfect time to see where I am physically and see how I can grow. But, sharing this story made it much more. I most of all, wanted to inspire others to keep moving forward during this time no matter how hard each step can feel. I end all of my posts counting the number of marathons with these words: One day at a time. One hour at a time. One minute at a time. One step at a time. We keep moving forward. With love to all.

Upon completing her goal, Alyssa Clark ultra-marathon runner will have ran the bulk of her marathons on a treadmill to begin with under strict stay at home orders in Italy.  Then regaining that freedom she found in every run around Avellino, Italy once restrictions were lifted. Her husband, Lt. Codi Clark has been stationed for two years in Italy and they are currently traveling back to the US. All the while sticking to her goal of breaking the world record. 

We have had our flights changed several times, but it appears as though we will be flying out on Tuesday to Germany. Spending the night there at a military base, and then flying to Norfolk, VA. I will run before each flight and after we land in VA, we will be driving so I will be able to run every morning. To continue the consecutive days challenge, I will be completing each marathon before midnight of Central European Summer Time as that is the time zone of which I started the marathons. While the travel will be tiring, I am very excited to be running in different areas and seeing new sites. I feel lucky to have the opportunity to run a marathon in Germany, making this journey more international. While we are driving from VA to Florida, I will be running in the VA beach area, Charleston area and possibly Jacksonville.

We take her powerful and heartfelt words with us as we move forward in our days. Even if we aren't running a marathon before most people sit down for a mid morning snack, we find motivation from her strength. 

One day at a time. One hour at a time. One minute at a time. One step at a time. We keep moving forward. With love to all.

She can be found running circles around everyone on Instagram @theory_in_motion

 

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