On the 1st of August I set off on a treadmill adventure to virtually Run Across Oz, but Treadmill Oz soon became Treadmill 1000 when things didn’t quite go to plan.

It’s been just over three weeks since I finished my treadmill adventure.

The first post-adventure-week was all about the pain of my injured foot and the sadness of not completing my challenge.

The second week was more about self-doubt and annoyance – did I give up too soon, it was only torn tendons (this was the thought that was running through my mind, when my legs were no longer in charge of the running).

The third week was time for reflection and a little more kindness to me and my pretty amazing body.

Finally, today I was ready to write a bit of blog about running 1040 miles in 42 days on ‘skip the bush tready’.

How far is too far?

A question I’ve been asked before when I’ve been at the end of an adventure looking and feeling a bit battered (and sometimes cut and bruised) is ‘how far is too far Nikki?’, my answer has always been ‘I don’t know, but I guess I’ll know when I find out’.

I now know the answer to how far is too far on a treadmill for Nikki Love – it’s 1040 miles over 42 days. I know for sure, as this was the point when my body quoted that famous Shrek sentence to my brain ‘that’ll do donkey, that’ll do’. Something went ping in my foot (the tendons to my first and second toe) and that was the end of Treadmill Oz,

But I’m not going to dwell on the injury in this blog, I’d really like to share more about the rest of my treadmill experience.

Boy, was it harder than I expected.

I love to run. I love the time that it gives me to think and to be quiet and to see nature and to visit new places, and … oh, yeah, whoops it doesn’t quite work like that on a treadmill. You run a whole lotta miles without going anywhere.

It was a pretty simple plan – run 40 miles on a treadmill, film it using zoom and share it on facebook so that people could join me virtually from anywhere in the world, and show up everyday for 63 days.

Momentum Hire, kindly offered me the use of a Noble-Pro whizz bang, state of the art, heavy-duty-can-handle-2500-miles treadmill (although the official model is the Elite E8.0) for the duration of the event which arrived on the Thursday evening.

Next was erect a world around it – a gazebo to keep the treadmill in a safe space in the garden, tarpaulins to cover the gazebo (it was not waterproof – bit of a mistake), an 18mm plywood board to provide a solid base, foam tiles to level the solid base, power cables and cameras and laptops for the filming, shelving for all the tech … oh and a bucket of cold water for my tootsies at the end of the day (and for visiting dogs to drink from 😊).

We were just about set, all I had to do was to learn how to use this new treadmill and then get used to it – which was going to have to wait til 9am Saturday morning which was also the official start time of my adventure. I figured I’d have plenty of time to work it all out as I went along.

Ready, set, go … and golly, this feels a bit different to road and trail running. And golly these first few hours are going by a bit slow. And hmmmm should I save the distances everytime I get on and off the treadmill – which means I have to keep a manual record of how far I’m running, and I have to keep adding them up, and the distance is different to my watch and holy moly this is draaaaaagging. And eventually my day one was finally over.

I ran 30 miles not 40, but I was okay with that, I had 62 more days to go and I knew that the first few days were going to be all about settling in to this new way of running.

Day 2 was bad, Day 3 was worse, in fact it took me about 500kms before I settled into a ‘treadmill comfort zone’ which really wasn’t that comfortable.

Did I mention earlier, that as well as jumping onto a treadmill with next to no treadmill specific training beforehand, that I also decided to jump into taking HRT (for all those non peri-menopausal experienced women or men who may be reading this, HRT is short for Hormone Replacement Therapy). The Wednesday before the Thursday treadmill arrival I put my first HRT patch on without knowing how it would impact me … but much like getting used to the treadmill, I figured I’d work it out.

During the first four weeks (28 days) of my treadmill run I had a few obstacles to overcome:

  • First there was the adjusting to treadmill running rather the road/trail running, which in hindsight was the easiest obstacle to get over.
  • The UK went through a 6 day tropical heatwave which pushed the mercury above 30 degrees outside, but trust me under the gazebo with the tarp on (the tropicalness of the heatwave bought both heat and rain so the tarp was on), the temp and humidity was much higher. This lent for some pretty tough days and non-sleeping nights.
  • I suffered extreme nausea for 4 days which at first I thought was motion sickness, but the sickness came again during the progesterone patch part of my 4 week HRT cycle, in week 5, so I think it was more to do with that.
  • After the heat came the wind and rain. Storms Ellen and Francis battered both the UK and my little garden gazebo. The only solution was to take ‘skip the bush tready’ – we’d named the treadmill by then – inside. I thought outside was boring, boy was I wrong and a whole new level of boring monotony began.
  • Ooooh I forgot to mention the diarrhoea – it was bad, like really bad which I’m not going to write about, during week 2 and 3, but it did settle down.

Now this all sounds quite doomy and gloomy, and you might read this and think why Nikki, WHY put yourself through any or all of this. And to be fair I asked myself this question when it was tough and I was struggling with the lack of fun and enjoyment that I normally get when I run.

BUT (and it’s in capitals to emphasis that it’s a really big ‘but’), there is so much more good and positives that I get out of doing these things. They include:

  • Sharing my runs on social media everyday meant that I got to talk to a lot of people – I talked, people wrote messages in comments and together we raised over £2,500 for the charity Children With Cancer UK
  • I was told of the many feats that others were doing as a result of being inspired by what I was doing which is something I’m always keen to do.
  • I personally found more depths to my strengths. I can endure and keep moving through the downs and know with certainty that they eventually pass. It’s these learning experiences about myself, that I get from all of my adventures, that cross over into my life outside of shorts. They help me get through times when I need mental strength and self-belief (and who hasn’t experienced times like that in life).

I ran 1040 miles in 42 days which apparently is a bit of a mean feat, so I’m pretty proud of that.

To sum up, I know how far is too far on a treadmill for me, and again I’ve proven to myself that although it’s not easy, it is 100% worth it.

I’ll write more about the pesky toe tendons in an upcoming blog about getting injured and then putting myself back together again.

X Nikki

P.S. My book ‘With a Little Dash of Crazy’ is now available. Click here to buy a copy, it’s an epic true running adventure story about the time I ran 63 marathons in 63 days.

Running 63 marathons in 63 days in your 50th year seemed a little crazy to most, but maybe a ‘little dash of crazy’ was what it was going to take.