I'm unofficially an ultramarathoner! I finished my 50K challenge on my 50th birthday on May 18.
A HUGE shout-out goes to Sean, an extremely talented ultramarathoner who's training for a 200 mile race and slogged with me for many of the first 26.2 miles. Thank you Sean for the great conversation and encouragement. And, for joining my sister for a walk while I had to take an emergency trip home to deal with some GI issues, but I'll get to that in a bit!
Even though I never knew Bruce Barnes, Sean is the perfect example of someone like him. Sean is both an amazing athlete and a super nice guy who gives back to the sport by volunteering for races and training programs . . . always there with a smile to support everyone else on the course. We're so lucky to have Sean in the Charlottesville running community. You're an inspiration and role model. Thank you!
So how did it go? I couldn't sleep well because for two full days beforehand I had severe burning gut pain and GI issues (I'm 50, time to schedule the colonoscopy!). My twin sister and I grabbed the cooler and supplies and started walking the 1.28 miles to Darden Towe Park at 4:28 a.m.
On Monday, I chalked my sidewalk and part of the trail with inspirational messages a couple friends sent me (thanks Ryan and Kayla!) as well as a few others that motivate me. It was great to see those as I headed out the door!
I told Sean I might be cursing him later because I knew I ran those first 6 miles too "fast." Then around 10K I realized I was having the need to find a bathroom, but the portapotty was gone and the bathroom doors were locked. Sidenote: one of the reasons I chose to run on the Darden Towe side of the Rivanna rather than Riverview Park was because of real bathrooms, however I forgot they wouldn't be accessible until the park was officially open. Whoops! I debated what to do, but talked it over with Sean and decided to run home since it was only about a mile away.
I'll spare you the details, but suffice to say I didn't make it back to my own toilet and had to find a tree to hide behind to take care of some emergency business in a plastic bag that I fortunately had with me. My predicament reminded me of my dad's "glad I had that jar of peanuts" traffic jam story that always has me on the floor laughing when he tells it. This was a "race" so I never stopped my watch and lost about 12 minutes changing clothes and trying to pull myself together before I got back out on the road again.
Around mile 20 I took another walking break to change clothes and use the bathroom. It was at that point that I was trying to do the math to figure out if I would be able to finish the marathon portion of the challenge under the finish time of my 1st marathon (5:17:03). My Garmin was starting to show the low battery warning so I new I was going to have to stop it and switch to Strava for the rest of my challenge anyway. After talking it over with Sean I realized if I kept at the current slog pace under 12 minute miles I could definitely do it if I hustled a little and that's why mile 26 was the fastest mile since mile 6. I hit 26.2 at 5:16:26.
I thought Malinda would appreciate it if I stopped my Garmin at 5:18:00, but it actually added a second, doh! Of course now I think it would have been even cooler to have the full date, 5:18:21, as the first segment of my challenge, but oh well. :)
I took a few selfies with Sean and said goodbye and gave myself the greenlight to just walk the rest of the 50K because it was getting warm and I didn't feel like pushing it.
Luckily Fran finished his grading and was able to drop off a Starbucks Venti Caffe Misto with whole milk, 6 packets of Splenda, 6 pumps of Which Chocolate Mocha Sauce and 4 shots of espresso. This is my go-to free 50 stars reward drink. Normally, I only get 4 pumps of sauce to save on calories, but I was starting to get HANGRY!
As I walked my last 5 miles I mobile ordered a lot of Thai food and started to catch Pokemon. My sister was in therapy and my husband was grabbing the food, so I finished my 50K with 5.18 miles on Strava all alone in front of my house. I looked again at the messages I wrote on the stairs:
OUR DOUBTS ARE TRAITORS
The past year has been quite a journey and I am so grateful that I was able to spend my 50th birthday walking with my best friend (my twin!), running with a great guy (Sean!), raising almost $2K for Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, and receiving so many awesome Flat Twin photos from friends and family across the country.
Thank you to everyone who helped celebrate this milestone birthday. You have no idea how much your support means to my sister and me. It gives us such joy and comfort to know people care.
It's not too late to share a photo, positive message, or donation. We like to think of it as our "Birthday Month"!
My 50K on garmin and strava...