Since I started running in 2011 and quickly discovered my love for distance, I’ve always wanted to run my age in miles. I, of course, also wanted it to be a special year. When I turned 25, however, I was sick with Lyme disease – not knowing my diagnosis at the time. I could barely brush my hair without muscle fatigue, let alone run. So 30 seemed to be the last doable year as a milestone birthday. Not knowing what the future holds for me, I try to take every opportunity to achieve my running goals. It made my decision to attempt this that much easier. I just had to go for it!
When non-runners asked me how I was going to celebrate my 30th, I told them I planned on running 30 miles. Each time I answered, I got this look…
The next step was planning.
LOCATION. LOCATION. LOCATION. I had to remain logical in my decision. If I were to get sick or injured, I didn’t want to be stuck in the middle of a long route, regardless if I’d be with someone. Not to mention, since this wasn’t an official race, I needed an easy way to access additional water/Gatorade and fuel.
I chose North Park because it was the easiest option to work with, although we aren’t the best of friends. North Park is known for it’s scenic 5 mile loop around a lake. The ‘course’ is comprised of rolling hills with a slight canter along the bike/pedestrian path. Because of the slant in the road, I felt it would be best to switch directions after each loop to keep my hips from getting too angry. I’ve had hip issues in the past when I’ve participated in races held there, which stays in the same direction for the entirety of the event.
Next, I needed a date and time. I couldn’t do this on my actual birthday because it fell on a Wednesday this year, so I picked July 21st. And since my birthday is in the dead middle of summer, I wanted to start early to try to beat most of the heat. I LOVE LOVE LOVE my sleep, so at the risk of being a zombie, I chose to begin running at 7 in the morning. I live roughly 1 hour away from North Park, and I was already going to be awake at an ungodly hour. “Maybe I could get most of my run done before my body wakes up and realizes what’s happening,” I wishfully thought.
I created a Facebook event and invited my closest running buddies to help pace me. There was absolutely no way I could tackle this distance alone. There is strength in numbers! Unsurprisingly, my friends were all VERY supportive and chose to help – whether they wanted to run, crew or do a little of both. I also needed to make sure I had at least one person for each lap to not only keep me sane, but to keep me from running too fast. You’d think after 7 years of running, I’d have this pacing thing down.