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: