About 6 months ago, JD told me that he wanted to run 30 miles on his 30th birthday. Yesterday, we made it a reality.
It was the Exercise Trifecta. At 6am, I worked out with my personal trainer. It was a frustrating day there and I left almost in tears. I don’t really want to talk about it but needless to say, I came home feeling a lack of confidence which was not what I needed given what faced me.
But at 7:30am, JD and I started running. He was going 30, and I was going to run 20 and then bike alongside him for the last 10 miles. Perfectly normal right?
The weather was amazing. 60 degrees. Low humidity. My hands were cold. MY HANDS WERE COLD! It was just plain lovely out. So off we started. My pace is significantly slower than JD’s but he did a good job of letting me lead. The one thing I was concerned about was conversation. Neither of us brought our iPods so we relied on each other for entertainment. And after 3 weeks of running with many girls, I knew it was going to be a different animal with JD. It was mile 4 when I first snapped. “I just had a full on conversation with myself. You didn’t respond to a single thing I just said! I should have brought my iPod!” Easy girl. That was the only argument we had throughout the entire run, which is pretty impressive given the fact that we spent 4 hours together under physical stress.
We took multiple water breaks and kept a solid pace around 9:30-9:45/mile. We turned around at mile 9 after both taking down some nourishment (me eating “Cars” fruit snacks and he doing Gu). I felt really good until mile 12. Only 8 miles left to go but I was tired. My legs hurt. My hips were tight. My body just lethargic. One guy on a bike called us assholes because he apparently didn’t like how we passed a fellow runner. A 60-year old woman stopped to talk with us at a water stop. We were making friends and enemies and I kept trying to find long, deep conversation topics so that I didn’t focus on my tired legs.
But the last 4 miles were pretty much silent. Each mile marker we’d pass I would exclaim “Only 3 more miles!” “Only 2.5 more miles!” But then I realized it was a jerk move given that my hubby still had 10 miles to go after I quit running. When we finally hit mile 20, I was ecstatic. I knew I still had 10 more miles to ride, but being off my screaming, burning feet was amazing.
Now normally after a 20-mile run, I am immediately in the shower, then do my favorite post-run routine. I curl up in bed, naked, lots of covers, lights out and I take a nap. This time? I changed into shorts and hopped on a bike. JD was feeling pretty good and I was shocked when he started running. I guess I just thought I would be easily riding alongside him. But I forgot how fast he is. The minute he started running his fast pace rather than my slower one, I started pedaling. This wasn’t going to be the lazy ride I expected.
Neither of us knew how far north the Monon went but we found out today. For the record? It’s about 13 miles north of Broadripple. We found gravel roads. And hills. And a crane flew across the trail right in front of us. The sun was beating down and JD had taken his shirt off long before because of nipple chaffing (One benefit of being a girl, no bloody nipples!) I held onto the water and encouraged him to stop when needed. But he was a rockstar. I felt like someone manning the video camera at the NYC Marathon, following the elite runners. He was running fast, and I was trailing behind. I was just in awe of him.
When we get to end of the Monon, JD turned to me and said “We’re almost at the distance we need to turn around and no, we aren’t stopping. We are going off-roading.” So that’s what we did. Grass. Parking lots. Busy roads. We found the distance, and then we soon found this:
It was a mini water park for kids. And JD ran around the water with such glee, he emerged a new man. Five more miles to go.
At mile 26.29, we stopped to take a picture of JD at the longest distance he had ever run.
From there on, I did my best to entertain him. I asked him if he wanted me to sing “No.” So I continued talking about the most random things. On the occasion, he would turn to me and say “Mile 25. At age 25, we got married…” He looked at every mile as a reflection of his age and walked through the best times of each year. It was fun reminiscing. He seemed grateful for my company as he was clearly getting tired. The sun was out. Every part of him hurt. Me on the other hand? Despite still moving my legs and being exhausted, I actually felt ok. The only issue I had was the fact that I don’t ride enough to have strengthened those “seat” muscles. In fact, it was mile 27 when I told JD that I am surely barren after sitting on that bike for this long.
With one mile to go, JD turned to me and said “Let’s open this up.” And then he started running faster. A 6:11/mile pace to be exact. I pedaled fast to keep up and took pictures along the way. This was a big day for us both. I am so proud of him for doing 30 miles. And I am proud of myself for completing my first 20-mile run in training, and adding on not just 10 miles of biking, but a personal training session to boot.
Some people go into 30 with nerves and anxiety. I turned 30 and wanted to spend my night wearing sequins and drinking cocktails with my closest friends. JD? He wanted to prove to himself that he could run 30 miles. And prove it he did.