Sunday, August 22, 2010

32 miles on my 32nd Birthday

This is the second year I tried this, running the number of miles of the year I am turning.  For example I turned 31 years-old last year so I ran 31 miles on my birthday August 22.  (I got this idea from the book Ultra-Marathon Man by Dean Karnazes, a must read for any long distance runner) Last year was different though I was about 30 pounds heavier and I had some friends help me (Tim, Matt, and Ed).  Each one of them ran a set distance with me and they traded off cars and met back at my house, so everyone got back to their car without a problem.  One other thing last year I didn't have a beautiful new born daughter, and was glad I was able to run the 32 miles this year.

This year was very different since my daughter's due date was suppose to be the day before my birthday August 21, I didn't even plan on doing it this year, but my daughter came 9 days early and after speaking with wife she encouraged me to do it.  I was thinking about calling my friends up and asking if they wanted to help, but I figured it was such short notice I didn't want to bother them with this crazy idea once again.  Also I planned to do this at extremely early in the morning, this is so I could get back, before my daughter was awake and if she needed fed, or just held I could be there for her (I was thinking any time before 9 should be good).  I got up around 3:00 am and went to the bathroom and packed my Camel Back hydration pack (I packed some money incase I needed to stop somewhere to get something to eat or drink, my mobile phone, some gels, and some Jelly Belly Sport Beans).

I started with a loop around my neighborhood at 3:30 it was drizzling when I started running and I knew it would only get worse as I went along. The run around my neighborhood is about 4 miles or so then I was debating with myself if I should go the same route I took last year or head east like I normally do on my bicycle, I headed east on US route 22 and was headed down toward PA Route 934, which is the Fort Indiantown Gap exit.  I have rode my bike down there a number of times, this is a normal bike route for me it is about 26 mile round trip so I knew as I was heading down there I would have to add a few loops at the end to equal the 32 miles.  US-22 from Mountain Road to PA Route 39 is actually moderately populated you have a few 24 hour stores on the way down, but after PA Route 39 there is one restaurant and that is it, and that isn't open at 4:30 am.  So after passing the stores on 22 I told my self I have to get by with the stuff I brought (water, gels, and sports beans).  I wasn't to worried about it, and I told myself I would be okay.

On my way down it was pouring, and I was soaking wet.  At some points the rain slowed down a bit, but would come back to a pouring rain.  I ate two Sports Beans about every two miles, and I was feeling just fine, except for being soaking wet.  I made it down to 934 without any major problem, I was down there around right around the time I believe the sun was to come up, the sun really didn't appear, the sky just got lighter.

So nothing major happened on the way down, it must of been around 6:15 or 6:30, I wasn't really paying much attention to the time of the day it was, but the mileage that was on my watch.  I was at mile 17 maybe 18 (I wasn't pay that close of attention and really I am writing this 12 hours later) when I turned off at the Fort Indiantown Gap exit. and ran to the other side of the road and was back on US-22 I had a long way to go to get home, and a long way to go to see a store, where I could give myself a small break. I told my self don't stop running till you get to the Turkey Hill which is about 4 miles from my house.  The rain slowed down on the way back, and eventually stopped, I then passed the 26.25 mile marker (this is about a marathon, and about one mile from the Turkey Hill it turns out) it was just under 4 hours (this is a pretty good time for me for a training run, which is what this was for me).  I kept running till I got to the Turkey Hill, I stopped and got a gatorade.  I walked about a little bit and drank the gatorade (Fruit Punch) and when I finished I was off running again, I stopped later to throw the bottle away at some banks recycle bin.  I was going between a 9:30-10:30 pace at this time, my legs were sore but not too sore, I knew I could finish this.

I made my way down 22 a little bit further studied my watch and figured out if I can kept a 10 minute pace for the rest of the journey I could finish this in under 5 hours (This was 30 minutes earlier than last year).  I though to my self that would be crazy I should take a moment to catch my breathe and walk up a few of the upcoming hills.  Then I told my self my daughter and wife are waiting for me to get home, I should give it everything I got to get home for them.  Hell, my wife let me do this crazy ass adventure anyways, so I was off holding a pretty steady pace around 9:15 or 9:30 I believe, and I kept telling my self I can do this. I ran past the Sheetz (I was dying for one of there Mochas, or maybe just chocolate milk, but I skipped that and kept running down 22)  I noticed that there was a number of people leaving Holy Name of Jesus Church (The Catholic Church in the area) and was wondering do they have Mass this early, it was around 8am Mass must of started around 7am or so?  I guess they do because they had a number of people leaving.  I turned left onto Arlington Ave, and into the shopping complex there.  I was on my 31st mile and I knew if I just run through the shopping center and though the park I should be at mile 32, before I got to my house.  I did this and I ran a loop around one of the parking lots in the park (adding about .2 miles to the total), and then I ran through Lori and Mollie Drive to ensure I would make the 32 miles.  At this point my legs were hurting a lot more now, the blisters on my feet were awful, I was running with soaking wet shoes and socks, and I was dying for this 32 mile journey to be over, and then it, was my watched beeped the final mile was 9:00, and I stopped and started walking back to my house.  I took off my Camel Back and checked my phone and made sure I didn't miss a phone call and thankfully I didn't.

I was just about 500 feet or so from my house and decided to walk there hoping to give my legs a small rest.  I then got home took of my soaking wet shoes and socks and checked my feet out, there were a few blister nothing major, nothing I needed to pop.  I checked in on my wife, Lisa, and my daughter, Bex, and they were resting in bed comfortably and happy.  I jumped into the shower and then joined them for a little R&R, and about 20 minutes later my lovely wife cooked me breakfast and the day started like any other normal day for me.

I then had breakfast with my lovely wife, and then off to dinner at my Mom's house, my Aunt Sue came down from Allentown, and I had a great time.

Thank you Lisa and Bex for letting me do this wacky adventure this year.

Keith Evans

This is the data from my watch if anyone want to take a look:  http://connect.garmin.com/activity/45627384

Monday, August 9, 2010

Fort Ritchie Triathlon

This was the first year they held the Fort Ritchie triathlon.  There was two triathlon a sprint distance and the olympic distance.  If you know how I am, you know I did the olympic distance.  The olympic distance included two laps in Fort Ritchie Lake, 750 meters each.  The lake was dirty, like most man made lakes, and this one had an unusual amount of undergrowth (I use to just call it seaweed).  The first 200m of the swim was awful for me, I could not get into a good rhythm with my stroke, and was being clobbered by other swimmers.  After the second buoy I got into an open space and got into a rhythm, and then was attacked by the "Swap Thing" (a.k.a. the undergrowth).  It was explained to us in the beginning of the race to swim through it, if you stop swimming you sink into the undergrowth, so I just kept swimming, and kicking, and finally made it to the last buoy.  Then I swam to shore ran across the beach (or some sand they put there and called a beach), then to the pier and jumped in.  I did see a few people from the earlier waves before trying to catch their breathe on the pier, but no wasting time for me, I jumped in and started back into the rhythm.  I got into a rhythm quicker this time, and the second leg seem to go faster than the first, but all and all it was a slow steady swim for me.  I finsihed up with the swim with a time of 35:46, not a good time, but I wasn't the last out of the lake.

I quickly ran up the carpet and ran to the transition area, dried off my feet, put the socks and biking shoes on, swallowed a gel pack (GU chocolate), put my race belt on and took my bike off the rack and off I went. Put my ass in the Saddle and I was off.  The hill climb was first, steep hill, but not to long, and down we flew.  I was probably around 35 - 37 mph down the hill, then it got technical and I needed to slow down, and into the valley.  I kept moving through the valley with some rolling hills and then I made a right and went away from the mountain, then to the turn around, and back toward the mountain.  I did here people say it was about a 5 mile climb, and I thought they were joking.  But they were not I started climbing at a normal pace, passing some of the other riders.  The climb was tough, but wasn't that bad, I have climb worse in practice, and I finally did get to the top.  I went down the hill at a fast pace, and then a quick left turn and back into transition.  Bike time was 1:22:47, not that bad since most of it was hilly.

I quickly changed shoes, and I needed to hit the porta-john.  Took about 20 seconds in the john, and then was very relieved and I was off.  The run was two laps, through a hilly, rough course through the Fort Ritchie community.  Caught up to my friend, Jason, around mile two and half or so.  Then we hit the turn around and I didn't see him again until the end.  I was met by some nice people saying good job on the run, and my reply was the only one I could think of "This is the only sport that I am somewhat good at."  I caught to some 18 year old, and tried to pass him around mile four and failed.  We held a small conversion, and I learned he wasn't a runner, but he was going at a good pace though.  We went up the last big hill of the run and I told him just hang on my shoulder and we will be finished in no time.  Will he couldn't hold on I flew past him near the end of the sixth mile, and finished the race strong.  My run time was 46:09 not the best 10K time but the course wasn't that great either.

My final time was 2:47:48.3, not the time I wanted, but a time I will live with.  I know I still need to get better with my swimming, and the only way to do that is to keep practicing.  I will need to get ready now for the New York City Marathon on Nov 7, Eagle Man Half Iron Man in June, and the biggest event in my life my new daughter, Bex, which is due any day now.

Keith Evans