I decided to take the day slowly, run then rest, then run again. It was another hot 95 degree day and I knew it would be a long one. I didn't expect it would be that long.
38 miles isn't that far, I figured. I've run 100 miles, multiple 100k's, and several marathons and 50k distances. So this wouldn't be too bad. What I underestimated was how different it is to run in a race versus my own planned run. There were no other people, no volunteers, no aid stations, and no stakes. It was just me trying to do something I was stupid enough to announce on Facebook. In fact, at mile 14 I looked down at my watch and thought, "If I hadn't told everyone I was doing this, I'd quit right now." To my credit, that's why I posted about it. I knew it would force me to finish.
After a little cooling off and getting my bottles full of Tailwind, I took off for the next set of miles. I'd take my nice route out of town around Celebration Park. It would usually end up around 9 miles and would get me a little further in my total. I was trying to get 26 miles done before 3:30pm when my friend Matt was going to run with me for the last 12 miles as he trains for his first marathon. This was not going to happen as I planned.
My solo run was rough. It was getting hotter outside and I was feeling the miles in my legs. I don't think I'd run further than 13 miles since May when I ran the Booneville Backroads 100k in the heat. I really wasn't physically trained for this run.
When I got back to my house at around mile 17, I was over this idea. I'd already considered quitting so I took about an hour to eat some lunch, drink a lot, and cool off on the floor. Finally I convinced myself it was time to go again.
As I reached the Gardner trail turnaround by I35, I got a text from Matt. He was home from work and ready to go, with Jolie on her bike to join us. I was only a few blocks from their house but I wasn't going to be at 26 miles. I was only at 21.5 miles at that point, so I would owe 4.5 miles to the roads even after Matt's 12. We got together and took off for a slow slow run. We ran back to my house to meet up with my son Carson who wanted to do some miles with us.
So I had an idea... We'd finish Matt's 12 miles at his house, Katie would pick me up, and we'd clean up to go to KC Joe's BBQ. Then, after we got home, I'd knock out the last 4.5 miles when the sun had gone down.
Joe's was a wasted trip. I mean, it was good company and everyone else had a great meal, but I was too nauseous to eat much. Running all day in the heat had taken too much out of me.
When we returned home, Katie decided she would go with me for the last bit of running. I always love having her with me to finish, so it was a great idea. But unfortunately the break from the heat wasn't coming. Though the sun had gone down, the humidity had gone nowhere. Katie and I ran a humid, difficult last 4.5 miles to finish my day at about 10:30pm.
It was just under 7 hours of running separated by cool downs, bottle refills, and BBQ. But I had done it. 38 miles on my 38th birthday. And one major question was answered: could I go further than 26.2 miles in my Vibram FiveFingers on concrete. My V-Trains kept my feet comfortable and blister-free all day, even on hot blacktop and concrete.
Maybe next year I'll run my age in kilometers instead. ;)
PS. I'm so proud of my son Carson, who a week later ran his age on his 12th birthday. He killed it.