What better way to celebrate a birthday than by running an ultra marathon for your birthday?
I talked myself into running 30 miles for my 30th birthday a few weeks ago. Figured hey, it only happens once, right? As the day got closer, I began wondering if I even should, if it was a smart idea given the risk of injury while already training for more upcoming marathons. So I decided to dial back the pace and make it more of a, ran the distance, but not for race pace or a 30 mile PR or world record. To be very honest, it went much better than I had anticipated it would.
To be fair, the first 12 miles were a joke. I used my wife’s hydration vest that has the bungee pouches on the chest to store 2 water bottles and the pockets to store your things..and boy, that thing was annoying. I found myself completely focused on the sloshing sounds of the water bottles basically the entire time, what a horrible form of torture that is! It was convenient to store my gels and a blinking light I stored on my back for the early morning, but the water drove me nuts. My wife and little brother met up with me at mile 12 and I immediately ditched the vest and went with a hand-held water bottle pouch instead. The night before we went to a 311 concert out in Salt Lake City, and of course we were jumping around and singing and yelling the whole time, while sweating for 2 hours, so most of the run, my body was still trying to re-hydrate from the night before. I drank more water than I ever thought my body could consume without having to stop for a pee break.
So my little brother did about 7 miles with us before he had to go to work, and my wife did the last 18 miles with me, due to the fact she had to run 17 miles this weekend anyway for the scheduled training miles anyway. It really made it much more enjoyable for myself to have those two join me for a good duration of the mileage, such troopers to run with this old man on their Friday morning! They will never fully understand how much it truly meant to me to have their legs pounding the pavement beside me while I was attempting to complete a goal I set my mind to. My wife had originally set up a packet pick-up at our house for me the day before, where when I got home she was sitting at the top of the stairs at a table with balloons and a packet filled with a custom shirt with my photo on it to celebrate my 30th birthday run, some race day goodies, and a custom bib I put together to make it have that race-like feel. Completely unexpected, but it just made the experience that much more memorable and enjoyable. She is one incredible supporter and she really doesn’t receive the recognition she truly deserves for all the things she does for me.
Being able to commit and complete an event such as this is something I never would have thought years ago I would be any part of. To run an ultra marathon still doesn’t make sense to myself, but now having added one to the resume, I’ve been pondering what other stepping stone goals to dedicate training to.
I had a riot. I wouldn’t have and couldn’t have asked for a better way to start off my 30th year of existence by pounding out 30 miles.