2 ALTRA ATHLETES. 2 NEW FKTs.
Two Altra R.E.D team members, Sergio Florian and Anna Albrecht, claimed FKTs, running around the 135-mile perimeter of O’ahu...coincidentally on the same night...and in the same shoe.
Hear from the Sergio and Anna themselves about their individual experiences on the island’s route.
“The Islands have always been kind to me. I grew up working every summer on O’ahu and the outer islands. I’ve walked door to door selling books to every neighbor on the island. I got to know the people and the culture. Being from Argentina originally and growing up in California, it was a dream to have the opportunity to live in Hawaii. I graduated as a physical therapist and got a job at a local hospital in 2007. That’s when my life changed.
Fresh out of school, I started working with people suffering from major disabilities. I now own my own rehabilitation facility called Wellness Neuro. I’m a neurophysical therapist, which means my job is essentially to help people who can’t move, move! This is what inspired my “movement is life” mentality. I saw how hard life can be for some of these people and how the simplest movements are so difficult, so I try to help. That’s why this island and its people are special to me.
Three months before Feb 27th was when the wheels were set in motion to take on the perimeter. The The 135-mile route is essentially a loop around the entire island of O’ahu, including Kaena Point where there are no roads, only a trail. You can start anywhere along the route.
On O’ahu, because of the pandemic, there are no races or endurance events going on at all. And I had just caught wind of Jeremy Killeen getting the record. The perimeter run had been on my mind before, but not necessarily the record. My coach took this and ran with it. He told me I had the ability to do a sub-24! I didn’t believe him, but I wanted to challenge myself. And I needed a challenge.
I didn’t believe [my coach], but I wanted to challenge myself. And I needed a challenge.
To make the challenge official, I announced it three months before on Strava and social media. This was on purpose, to add a little pressure on myself. Little did I know, the media would catch wind of it and get the entire island involved.
Training for this run went great! We did some long runs, but the focus was speed. Speedwork helped to increase my stride length and make me more efficient over the 135 miles. Speed workouts also mimicked the fatigue I would feel during a run but a lot faster. All of my workouts and notes, as well as pictures, are on my Strava.
As for shoes, I trained and raced in the Torin 4.5 Plush. For shorter runs, I trained in Escalante Racers. The Torin is a solid shoe as it’s very stable and offers a medium amount of cushion. It’s a great workhorse kind of shoe for those long training runs. What I love most about the Torin 4.5 Plush and Altra shoes in general, is that they allow my foot to do what it’s meant to do. By providing a comfortable, and accommodating footbed, my feet can act naturally. I have always worked on running form and this shoe really promotes a neutral foot strike for me, lessening the impact of the road on my body. I also didn’t get a single blister.”
About the Author:
Sergio is an Altra R.E.D. Team member and founder of Wellness Neuro &SCI.
Follow his Instagram and to see what “Movement is life” means to him.
“I ran the 135-mile perimeter of O’ahu in 31 hours and 9 minutes. This was the furthest and longest I have ever run, and my third attempt at completing the route! I started at about 4:30 pm in the Torin 4.5 Plush. I’ve had really good luck with this shoe so far and ran a 100-miler in them on New Year’s Eve with no blisters or feet problems, so I knew they’d be reliable for the start! I ran the first 40+ miles in them, up the west side of O’ahu and around to the North Shore.
I changed into an older Torin model after that and put on my moon socks to match the full moon that night! Those older shoes are a lot softer, and it felt good to have some squishy cushion under my feet when they started to ache from all of the concrete. I ran solo for most of the night, cruising and jamming out to music. My friends crewed me in a big white van and would pass me hydration and calories and tell me bad jokes. The sight freaked a couple of people out because they just saw a girl running by herself in the middle of the night and a white van following closely. At one point, there was a guy who yelled, “Miss! They are trying to abduct you!” Being abducted is not funny but those interactions really made us laugh and I appreciated people stopping to make sure I was okay!
I brushed my teeth and changed shorts and shoes again after sunrise at about 75 miles to start the new day fresh. I put a pair of pretty much brand-new Torin 4 Plush on and it felt super good to have some fresh youngs on! (I like to call my new shoes “my fresh youngs!”) Unfortunately, as soon as we took off on mile 75, it started raining sideways and my feet ended up getting soaked. I should have put some dry shoes on when the rain stopped but I didn’t want to take the time to switch shoes again!
I took it pretty easy in the late morning/early afternoon because I ran pretty much all the way through the night. At mile 100, I took another break and changed back into the Torin 4.5 Plush shoes that I had started in and I wore them for the last 35 miles!
Completing this run meant a lot to me. Two years ago, I attempted it with a friend, and I stopped at 102 miles. It was the first time in my life that I ever quit something that I set out to do. In October, I attempted it again with a lot more ultra-experience under my belt but stopped at 107 miles because finishing probably would have meant rhabdo and a trip to the ER. But this time I was determined to finish, no matter how long it took me, and luckily, I have some really amazing friends that were willing to crew and pace me for as long as it took!
I learned from my last attempt where to push and where to hold back and it felt so good to finally get into those higher miles that I had not yet experienced. Turns out, when you get past 100 miles, everything just hurt more, in case you were wondering. The last 20 were the hardest miles of my life but I’m really proud of not stopping during any of them and maintaining a faster-than-death-march pace.
I keep describing this process as a really hard video game that you work hard to get far in, but then all of your progress gets deleted, and you have to go back to the start. Recover, train, repeat. Get past all of those boss levels that kicked your ass the first time, then keep going.
It’s amazing to see how far our bodies can take us if we listen to them and have the right mindset.
Ultrarunning is hard! But this experience reminded me why I love this sport so much. It’s amazing to see how far our bodies can take us if we listen to them and have the right mindset. The community is incredible and so many people came out and just wanted to show their support and to see me finish. I’m honored to be a part of this community, and I hope my experience of trying again and again can inspire people to keep working toward their goals, even if they fail the first, second, or third time. We learn, we get stronger, and we keep moving forward.”
About the Author:
Anna is an Altra R.E.D. Team member, ultrarunner, and former marine.
Her feet are her favorite mode of transportation. Follow her Instagram to see where they’ll take her next.
Congratulations to both Sergio and Anna for their record-breaking victories and for leaving it all on the island!