Completing 50 in 20 – Firsthand Experience from Carter Holland

Since many of you are planning to tackle the full 50 in 20 Palmetto Expedition distance, I thought it would be helpful to hear firsthand experience from others who have already completed a 50 in 20 challenge without the structure of a formal event and of their own accord. Fortunately, I’ve contacted several individuals and fortunately have had a good response. So today, you’ll get the first installment of Completing 50 in 20 – Firsthand Experience. Today’s experience is shared by Carter Holland.

Enter Carter…

Walk 50 miles in 20 hours or less? Sometimes (not always), the best ideas start off sounding like the worst. Who, in their right mind, would willingly submit themselves to this misery? Most people still don’t understand what possessed me to walk 50 miles, let alone establish a time limit for the event. However, I now know myself. I know what I can do. I have experience pushing past my perceived limits. I know how to fight it out. I know my fears, how I think, how to roll with the punches. Much of life is about how much you can take, how hard you can get hit and keep moving.

My Experience

Attempting to walk 50 miles in 20 hours or less was not my favorite thing I’ve ever done, but it does give me a sense of pride. My final time was 12 hours and 20 minutes and my schedule went something like this:

  • 5:10 a.m. – started walking
  • 12:00 p.m-1:00 – took a break for lunch
  • 5:30 p.m. – finished

To keep things simple, I mostly walked around the University of Alabama Birmingham campus using the Runkeeper app. Miles 20-30 were the worst, and I never knew this, but your butt cheeks will actually start to chafe around mile 40. I ended up using medical tape on my inner thighs to fix it. I managed to stay hydrated, which also meant that I had to pee about every hour or so, but I guess that’s better than kidney failure. I would strongly recommend a kick-butt playlist or an audiobook that you’re really been excited about to distract you. The more you can shut your mind down, the better. I would also recommend coming up with a reward for the finish. Mine was to go to Five Guys and get a bacon cheeseburger and a shake. All in all, I feel like this is really more of a 3 day challenge. While the actual challenge is only 20 hrs, the recovery time is a booger.

So if you really want to know how much you can take, take your 50 in 20 bad idea to the bank and see what you can get for it. By endurance, we conquer.

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