The other day, I was scrolling around the Girls on the Run of the Rockies (GOTR) site to sign up for my annual coaching stint when I read about Karen "Casey" Cortese, who is raising money for GOTR by doing the inaugurual Triple 7 Quest: a challenge during which participants run 7 marathons or half-marathons on 7 continents in 7 days.
I love a good Amazing Race situation, so I had to know more. I reached out to Casey, a 51-year-old aunt runner (she's got six nieces and nephews) who is originally from Racine, Wisconsin, but has lived in Denver for decades. Until February 8, when the Triple 7 Quest kicked off, she'd run a total of six half-marathons her entire life, but it's NBD: She apparently loves a good (sleepless) challenge.
Actually, I'll let her tell you why she signed up for the Quest:
Throughout my life, I’ve struggled with self-doubt—as have most women, as I’ve learned through my 51 young years. Not because I’m incapable of taking on challenges or due to a lack of success. In fact, there really is no reason. It just is.
I’ve found in my quest to always be MY best, I sometimes have confused that with wanting to be THE best. And if I feared I couldn’t be the best, I’ve shied away. I didn’t want anyone to think I am lacking. In anything.
Race Schedule at a Glance:
2/8: Melbourne, Australia (AUSTRALIA)
2/9: Abu Dhabi, UAE (ASIA)
2/10: Paris, France (EUROPE)
2/11: Tunis, Tunisia (AFRICA)
2/12: Long Island, New York (NORTH AMERICA)
2/13: Punta Arenas, Chile (SOUTH AMERICA)
2/14: King George Island, Antarctica (ANTARCTICA) (After the race, they'll visit a penguin colony and camp overnight.)
Total Miles: 91.7 on the ground, 39,464 in the air.
Most Challenging Race: Tunis! We'll be running 1 a.m. after the Paris race at 10 a.m….with no time to sleep in between!
Goal: To finish. To keep moving, and to carry the young women of Girls on the Run with me.
Number of nights she'll sleep in a hotel room during the Triple 7 Quest: 1. (The luxurious Hampton Inn in Garden City, NJ, if you're wondering. Before the Long Island race: Lincoln's Birthday Marathon and Half-Marathon.)
Jetlag plan: I’m hoping we’ll be traveling so fast I won’t even feel lagged. But I’ll drink plenty of water and stretch my legs on the plane whenever possible. But this will be a mental game: I will only think about the joy of the run ahead of me.
Nutrition plan: I Have plenty of peanut butter packs, protein supplements, and Bakers Breakfast Cookies, which have kept me nourished through my training. I haven’t stuck to a specific nutrition plan during my training, as I knew I’d be running on many different types of food during the race journey.
Packing list: Two pairs of broken-in running shoes are at the top of the list. I have running clothes for the 98 degree heat in Melbourne to the -26 degree chill in Antarctica. For the coldest temps, I have a balaclava, some heat packs, wool stocks, along with a wool hat and a wind-resistant jacket. I have three pairs of compression socks and will wear them on every flight. Layers are key, but being from Colorado, I’m an expert at that.
Inspiration, part I: My Mom. In May I did the Great Wall of China Half-Marathon with my sister and my mom. It was my mom’s first half-marathon—at the age of 74! She has always told me I can do whatever I set out to do, and she lives that example constantly. I also have an incredibly supportive group of family and friends who have pushed me and are rooting me on, which means the world to me!
Inspiration part II: Girls on the Run. If my crazy around the world race adventure can somehow inspire young girls to discover and reach their unique and full potential through running, then all the training hours, the miles and yes, the pain, will be worth it.