Written by: Maggy Lehmicke
Only four years ago, I graduated from the University of Nebraska and said goodbye to a relatively successful athletic career. Like many competitive athletes, supplements were an essential part of my lifestyle, with protein powders, superfood additives and Joint 4 all making regular appearances in my routine. It wasn’t until my athletic career was over, however, that I felt the effects of Xendurance’s products in full-force.
I’d been in a 9-to-5 desk job for only about six months when I started feeling restless. It had been nearly a year since I’d graduated from college and just as long since I’d played tennis competitively. I’d also let my overall fitness level fall by the wayside, only participating in the occasional kickboxing session at my local gym before my battered knees started to get the best of me. (Looking back, I could have really used some Joint 4 right then…but I guess that’s why they say hindsight is 20/20.)
So when my co-workers wanted to participate in Hood to Coast – a 200-mile relay from Mt. Hood to Seaside, Oregon – I was all in. I’d never run more than three miles at a time in my life, but running 12 in a matter of 36 hours sounded like a nice challenge. (What did I say about hindsight?)
I made the decision late that spring and started training a couple months later. However, my “training” at the time encompassed running three or four miles before my side cramped or knees ached too much to continue. I even signed up for a half marathon only to run seven miles and walk the rest.
After that half marathon – and the days of pain that followed – I decided something had to change.
I had used Extreme Endurance in the past, but it hadn’t seemed as crucial when I was getting daily massages, taking ice baths and stretching for at least an hour after practice. Relentless discipline had made recovery one of my strong suits…which is why I wasn’t fooled into thinking that I would achieve the same results this time around.
I had been taking Extreme Endurance for a little more than a month before race day came around. I had kept my training to the minimum, never running more than four or five miles a couple of times a week. I figured, at the worst, all I had to do was make it through 36 hours.
My first and last leg seemed reasonable – each approximately four miles and on relatively flat terrain. It was my second leg – the longest of the three, all uphill, at around 2 a.m. – that would likely get the best of me.
There were 12 runners on our team: two vans of six people each, packed in like sardines. We had only food, water, our running gear and sleeping bags for the two or three hours that we’d actually get to sleep. Our van was second, meaning our legs would start that afternoon.
Those first legs were relatively easy. Each runner would take off, we’d hop in the van, wait in trafficked lines until we reached the checkpoint, perform the handoff and move on. We even got to spend our first “night” (three hours in sleeping bags on the floor) at a co-worker’s house. Her husband made homemade tacos. Life was good.
Nonetheless – as I prepared for my second leg – I was keenly aware of my body and how it would fare over the next nine miles. Hours packed in the car, little sleep and no time for stretching were enough to do a number on my knees, minus the actual running. At this point, I had to rely on my preparation and hope that was enough.
There’s no way to describe what it’s like to run through the woods in the middle of the night, but when that second leg came around, I was on fire. I was even disappointed when my leg was cut short due to some last-minute route reorganization. Nonetheless, my knees were the last thing on my mind.
We napped in a field the next morning before our final legs. I offered to drive to the next checkpoint and could feel my muscles tightening around my joints. I reminded myself that I only had a few more miles to run and a two-hour massage to look forward to the next day.
After that last leg, some light celebrating, a long drive back to Portland and a long-awaited ice bath, I was finally able to sleep. I didn’t have the energy to think about what came next, but I had prepared myself for the worst.
So when I woke up the next day without the slightest hint of soreness, I was beyond shocked. I poked and prodded at every muscle. Tested my knees with lunges and squats. But there was no pain. Even the massage proved unnecessary.
I couldn’t feel a thing.
There was no way – with my lack of preparation and history of joint problems – that my body could feel this good. So fresh. However, I was quick to recognize that there was only one explanation. Only one thing I’d done differently this time around.
Which is why, this year – when I tackle Hood to Coast for the second time – my “training” will start with Extreme Endurance.
About the Author
Maggy Lehmicke is a former collegiate tennis player and Seattle-based freelance writer whose work has appeared in Travel + Leisure, Hemispheres, Lonely Planet, Budget Travel and various other national outlets. At the University of Nebraska, she competed on behalf of the winningest team in the school's history, ultimately reaching a career-high singles ranking of #63 in the country.