Monday, June 6, 2011

Birthday Run Challenge Complete

Well, it took a lot out of me, but I will never ever forget the weekend I was turning 31 years old! Early last week, I set up a Birthday Run Challenge, where I would run 31 miles the weekend (June 4 and 5) of my 31st birthday - my actual birthday is today, June 6. That link has a nice write-up on the motivation and purpose of doing this as a run. But basically, I hadn't done more than 19.75 in a day before this weekend, and I'd never more than 32.6 miles in a week (this challenge would put my week at 40!).

I invited friends to please come run with me Saturday or Sunday to help me celebrate. I even created a Facebook event for each day with directions to the run locations and the route. I felt so loved all week as people RSVPed for this crazy plan.

The plan was 22 miles split into two 11-mile loops through gorgeous Allen, Texas. I'd run it before and love this route... this very unshaded route.

For the first loop, I had Amanda, Cruz, Dana, Fiona, Marcie, Robin, and Shannon there to help me out. Dana came from Justin, Cruz from Kennedale, Shannon from Lewisville - I so appreciate the extra effort and time it took to come all the way to Allen!

Snickers Marathon Ambassadors (and friends), Amanda and Marcie - we looked so excited before the run! ;-)
I got up at 3:30 am (ugh), and we started at 5:30 am to try to beat the heat, but it was already 71 degrees when we started... AND HUMID.

About 9.5 miles into the run. It's starting to get HOT already!
By the end of the first 11 miles, everyone was a little less chatty as it got hotter and hotter. It was now about 80 degrees at 8:15 am.

First loop, 11.25 miles, done, with great friends!
I bid farewell to most of the group and luckily Trish had arrived to run the second loop with us with her fresh legs. Trish drove all the way from Roanoke - so again, all my friends need to move closer! So this loop was Cruz, Shannon, and Trish. 3 miles in and the heat and lack of shade were starting to really affect me. I know I had hydrated well all week, but when we stopped for water 3 miles in at my make-shift aid station, I was a little dizzy. So we turned around and headed back. At this point, I started adding nausea to my list of symptoms. It would not have been smart for me to try to complete that kind of distance without shade in the heat that early June day presented. I wasn't thinking through it too hard about whether that meant I had failed the self-imposed challenge or not.

A moment of trying to look like strong runners. 16 miles into the run.
So finished with 17.3 miles completed. As I'd so been looking forward to, a group of us enjoyed some In-n-Out burger immediately afterward (planned it out to be right by the start/finish location). Cruz, Shannon, Fiona, Erin, Greg, Gretchen, and Jon all made it and we enjoyed our well-earned food on the patio while we watched the hour long drive-thru line (walking inside, the line only took 5 minutes). Fiona had a good idea that I could extend the challenge a day to my actual birthday to give me another day to make up the 4.7 miles I hadn't gotten in.

I got home, did ice bath #1 (30 lbs of ice used), and sat and reassessed. I thought I'd give it a try to make up at least some of the missing miles on the treadmill at home. I hopped on and did 1.2 miles. Later that day, I was able to do another 2.0 miles. So Saturday's total was 20.5 miles. I ended the day with ice bath #2.

5 am wakeup for a 6:30 am 9-mile run. Corina (drove all the way from Arlington) and Mike (drove from Richardson) met me at my community pool for another beautiful route in a different section of Allen that I'd mapped out. It utilized a few different pieces of Allen's trails and went through 9 neighborhoods!

Near the beginning of the run!
I was dragging a little but was amazed the first few miles went by quickly, and on pace. It fell apart around mile 6 when I started to feel a little sick to my stomach and just overall hot. Those two dear friends helped me through it, and we finished in the heat of a Texas June with 8.9 miles. I only needed 1.6 more miles to hit 31 for the weekend!

8.9 miles, and 29.4 miles for the weekend, DONE!
What happened next was Ice Bath #3, some breakfast, 1 mile on the treadmill, a 3 hour nap, then 0.7 miles on the treadmill. Challenge Complete! 31.1 miles for my 31st birthday weekend.

The day ended with Ice Bath #4. I'm a huge believer in the power of the ice bath for recovery!

I Feel So Loved

I feel so thankful for all of my friends. This was so much more fun than a party. I will never forget this wonderful weekend! And I really appreciate all the other friends who piped up that they would have been there except for a list of things that were very very legitimate reasons why they couldn't - it's summer and we all have busy lives - I totally understand and value you all!


  1. Very inspiring!! Great job! Makes me want to go out and kill a few miles now!

  2. Awesome job, Libby! Trying to run in this extreme Texas heat, even early in the morning, is so tough. I can think of better ways to spend a birthday . . . Kudos to you on getting the job done.

  3. I'm very proud of you Libby!! You're an excellent role model who knows how to listen to your body.