Cross Country in 61 Days: The Journey of Mike Wardian

San Francisco, California to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. A total of 3,232.88 miles. If you enter this into a Google search, you will find that it takes 43 hours by car, 80 hours by bus, and if you’re crazy enough to run the entire thing (We are looking at you Mike Wardian!), 1487 hours (61 days & 23 hours). What would compel someone to run this far? What type of toll does this take on the body? How does someone maintain motivation to continually run 50 miles/day for 61 straight days? Below is a description of what was pushing Mike Wardian forward, and what his body was going through along the journey.

Raising Money for a Cause

When starting on this journey, Mike set out to raise money for the World Vision Charity. This charity helps children in poverty through multiple means. Mikes main focus was on helping individuals in the U.S have access to clean water. While this is something many of us take for granted, there is a need in this country to ensure all children have access to clean water. Mike was able to surpass his goal of $100,000 raised throughout his journey! With having a larger mission than just his own accomplishments, this kept Mike motivated each day to keep moving forward. With so many individuals struggling for life’s basic needs, Mike saw an opportunity to raise funds in his own unique way.

Equipment

Throughout Mike’s run, he trusted equipment that he knew would hold up throughout the 3,000+ miles. The two key items for Mike were his COROS VERTIX 2 watch, and his HOKA running shoes. In an incredible display of his watch’s battery life, Mike only charged his watch 5 times while running across the United States! Along with the battery life, his watch also monitored all of his metrics (seen below) to ensure he stayed on pace, and could manage the workload. As for his shoes, Mike went through 6 different pairs, but primary used his 3 sets of HOKA shoes. A pair of his HOKA Bondi’s had an astonishing 1,500 miles on them!

Interesting Stats

It goes without saying, there will be a few eye-popping stats over the course of 3,232.88 miles. Here are a list of interesting facts regarding Mike’s 61 day run.

Total Time: 61 days, 23 hours, 50 minutes

Total Miles Run: 3,232.88 Miles

States Run Through: California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia

Average Miles per Day: 52.14 Miles per day

Most Miles Run Per Day (last day): 104 miles, last day sub 24 hours for 104 miles and fastest mile of entire run was 6:16 in last mile

Least Miles Run Per Day: 49.85 Miles

Calories Burned Per Day: Appx. 5,000-7,000 Calories 

Starting weight: 146 lbs

Ending weight: 134.4 lbs

Hours Run Per Day: Appx. 12 hours per day

Number of People Run With: Appx. 300-500 people 

Number of Medications Used: None, didn’t need to take a single pill during trip

Number of Times Charging COROS Vertix 2: 5 times TOTAL….

Money Raised: $111,947.55 for World Vision USA!

Training Hub: Physiological Metrics

All of the below metrics were pulled from Mike’s COROS Training Hub. Having run 61 straight days and over 3,200 miles, the data tells a story of fitness, fatigue, and pushing human limits!

Base Fitness & Fatigue
Mike Wardian’s Training Management Chart

What’s interesting from this chart is we can see Mike’s total Base Fitness increase steadily from 100 to 260 over the course of 61 days. While that isn’t surprising, what may catch some off-guard is that his Fatigue actually starts to fade around 30 days in. Due to his body normalizing 50+ miles a day, and his Training load from each day remaining constant, his body adjusted and Fatigue started to dissipate. While his Fatigue never managed to get below 50, he was in a far better place from day 30 to 61 vs where he was between days 5-30!

The other notable feature of this chart is the final day. Mike finished his trans-con attempt with a 104 mile day. This resulted in 788 Training Load and spiked his Fatigue back up to 86!

Resting Heart Rate
Mike Wardian’s Resting Heart Rate Chart

As can be seen from the chart above, Mike’s Resting Heart Rate (RHR) rises up to a peak of 65, before settling off and maintaining mid 50’s. If you look at Mike’s Base Fitness and Fatigue charts, you will notice the same trends from days 1-30, and days 30-60. A large ramp up in Training Load on the body causes the body to fatigue and not recover as well. With RHR being an indicator of fatigue and readiness, it’s of no surprise that once Mike’s body adjusted to the daily stress, his body was able to lower its RHR and recover a bit more each day.

Conclusion

61 days after starting in San Francisco, California, Mike Wardian touched the Atlantic Ocean in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Along the way, Mike made countless running friends, saw 13 states, ran 3,232.88 miles, and raised over $100,000. Having made this a lifelong goal of his, he was able to accomplish this feat through determination and grit. The next time you set out on a difficult journey, keep in mind what the human body is capable of. It’s easy to get comfortable in our day-to-day lives, but what’s the fun in that? Head out the door and challenge your own boundaries as you explore perfection!

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