Several weeks ago I was looking at my training plan and realized that on Sept 6 I had 30 miles scheduled. Well, my 35th birthday is Sept 4 and I have the day off work, so I decided I could just do 35 and call it a birthday run. It's something I've wanted to do for years, even before I was running ultras. I made a route, stashed coolers, made plans, etc. I was ready to go. The biggest snafu leading up to it is that my Garmin watch died....again. So I was going to have to run it not knowing my pace. Yay! I was still set to go. The weather forecast looked awful as it was going to be really hot and really humid. I talked my partner in crime, Deanna, into going with me.
3 am rolls around and Deanna showed up. She had a present with her. I opened it up and she had given me the most hilarious present I've ever received. Toilet paper, wet wipes, vaseline, and bath salts. The first three are things I often use on a run and the last was for after the run. Perfect! I laughed a lot. We took off for the first section, which was a 4 mile out and back. Nothing exciting. Just ran. It was really hot. At the end of the 4 miles I was already dripping sweat. I put on my hydration pack, ate a small snack, and off we went for the rest. Within a few blocks my stomach was shaky. I didn't know what was up. I kept running, thinking it would settle down. For a couple of miles I really struggled. I just felt gross. Six miles into the run I threw up. Great. I still had 29 miles and I was already puking. I started again and still didn't feel great. I was worn down, just completely exhausted, sweaty, and my stomach hurt. Yuck. I kept going thinking it would get better. It didn't. I whined. A lot. Deanna finally said maybe I should go home and finish the rest that night. I didn't want to as it felt a lot like failure. I decided I had a couple of options to keep going and at certain points it would be easy to just turn around. By the time I got another mile down the road I just knew it wasn't happening. I could have kept going, but hey, it was my birthday. Why spend it completely miserable? I turned around. I was almost home and had to stop again to throw up, but this time it was mostly just gagging. So much fun! I got 15 miles total and just felt awful. I got home, went to the bathroom, and laid down on the bathroom floor. I was dizzy, the room was spinning, and I was wondering what the hell was wrong and why the hell I do this to myself. I then realized I was super thirsty and my lips were chapped. Had been for days actually. Sooo...my brain wakes up and I realize I'm probably really dehydrated. I had emptied a 20 oz bottle of water as well as a 2 liter hydration pack and a 20 oz bottle of gatorade on my 15 mile run. I had also had water before the run. That's a whole lot of water in a short amount of time, and I didn't have to pee. I kept drinking all morning. Finally at around 9:30 I had to pee a little. For those of you keeping track at home, that's twice in a few weeks that I did this to myself. Will I ever learn?
Late morning Deanna and I headed to Wichita to go to lunch at Olive Garden. My tummy was finally happy and I ate a ton. We also did some shopping and had a great time. I got home, napped a bit, then went to watch Ryan's first football game of the season. He scored a touchdown! I watched until halfway through the 4th quarter and went home to get ready to finish my run. All day I doubted my ability to do it. I know what a wimp I am and how tired I was. I got ready anyway and started. Miraculously, I felt great. I don't know what it was. I just felt good. I decided to just go with it as long as it lasted. The first 5 miles or so were uneventful. I was cruising and felt fabulous. Things sort of started going downhill at that point. The day had caught up with me. I was still doing ok though. Maybe 6 miles in I started noticing under my arms were chafed. I called Rick to see if he'd bring vaseline. He was sooooo excited to do it! Ha! While talking to him and not paying attention I almost stepped on a copperhead. In town. Eeeeewwww. I freaked out, then told Rick I had to go. I'm normally super scared of snakes (shocker, right?) but I guess I was too tired and delirious to worry about it. It wasn't moving, so I threw a rock at it. It didn't move. I decided it was dead. I ran up and through the country club, and Rick found me. I lubed up and took off again. On the way back past where the snake was I found out it was not in fact dead. It was gone. The only way for it to get off the road was to slither, so that meant it was alive. Aaaahhhhh! I got out of there ASAP. I was 8 miles in by then and just felt awful. I suggested to Deanna that maybe we could pretend I was 25. The meant when I got home I could be done. She wasn't having any of it. I think she was really ready to be done also, but she was kind enough to keep encouraging me. I finally got home and was 10 miles in for that run, 25 total for the day. Just 10 more!
I decided I would run as much as I could for the next 5 and Deanna said she'd walk the last 5 with me. Woohoo! I'd love to say I ran most of the next 5, but I'll be honest, I didn't. At one point I was bragging about my illustrious high school forensics career and unfortunately for Deanna, recited one of my pieces. I also tried to recite the Gettysburg Address, but she shot me down. Who doesn't want to hear the Gettysburg Address at 11 pm? It's exciting stuff! I think I also sang a little bit and who knows what else. I was way past the point of being tired. I just wanted to sleep. There was a lot of giggling. I got the bright idea that we could do the final four miles on the track. It's flat, I wouldn't have to carry water, and well, it just seemed like a brilliant idea. Deanna wasn't convinced of it's brilliance, but like the steamroller I typically am, I just ignored her and forced her to do what I wanted. It's shocking that I don't have more friends. I mean, who wouldn't want to be friends with someone like that? We got to the track and started walking. It was a blast! Ok, not really. I'm such a liar. It was awful. Then it was exciting! We were walking and suddenly see a lawnmower flying down the road away from the schoool. I mean, this guy was hauling. It was midnight. Why would someone be driving away from the school on a lawnmower in the middle of the night? We were sure it was one of the schools mowers. I called the cops and told them what was going on and they hurried to catch the guy. We felt all victorious, and like we had saved the school, etc. I call my husband to relay the news about his wife being a hero. He said "are you sure it wasn't soandso?" Ummm, who? He said the janitors get off work at midnight and one of them often drives his lawn mower to and from work. Oh dear. Well, surely it wasn't this guy! He was acting weird and driving super fast. He must have stolen it. Rick was laughing hysterically and telling me he's pretty sure it was the janitor. Huh. Well, maybe. Then Michael, my friend Misty's husband, (aka one of the cops in town) shows up at the track. The first humiliating part of this is that I wasn't wearing a shirt. I only had on a sports bra and capris. It was hot and the middle of the night, so who was going to see me? Well, someone did. The second embarrassing part was that it was in fact the janitor, on his very own mower, that we had called the cops on. Wow, this is humiliating. We talked to Michael for a few minutes and then started back on the track for the last couple of miles.
It was FINALLY time to head home. I live just 3/4 of a mile from the school. Longest 3/4 of a mile ever. I think I might have sang a couple more songs on the way home. I don't know. I know I was almost home and got really cold and was shivering. Since it was around 80 degrees outside I'm thinking it wasn't due to the temperature. I finally arrived at home with 35 miles complete!!! Victory is mine! I took a bath and crawled in bed and passed out. It was an amazing birthday! I will NOT be running 36 miles next year. I'm retired from craziness like that. At least until Saturday when I have to run 30 miles.
I wish I had felt a little better at the end of 35 miles. I cannot fathom how I'm going to run 100 when 35 was so hard. It doesn't make sense to me. I know though that before my 50 and my 101k that my long training runs were brutal and I felt the same way. I just can't quite imagine how it's going to work. Maybe it's not? Maybe I'll fail? I don't know. I'm going to give it everything I have though.
Race in 39 days!!!!