Monday, July 13, 2009

Birthday Run - Complete!

I'm happy to report that I successfully completed the 45 mile Birthday Run with the help of my supportive family and many friends.

I started just after 10pm on Friday, July 10 and finished around 9am on Saturday, July 11 for a total of 11 hours. The weather was beautiful overnight and into the morning with clear skies, a nearly full moon and temperatures in the low to mid 70s. It was still humid, but noticeably cooler than any recent day or night. Perfect for a long, slow run.

The run was great fun and I was kept motivated and entertained by all the people who helped throughout the night. A team of over 20 family members and friends helped, ran and rode bikes along side of me throughout the night and into the morning. I was so touched by the generosity, enthusiasm and willingness of each of these people to come out and support me on my adventure. Thank you all!
I've included an alternate way to look at the Birthday Run...a heart rate trace of the 11 hour period. For the training geeks, my resting HR is typically between 45-50 and my average for the run was 133 with a maximum of 165, which I hit when I broke the tape of the finish. My heart rate monitor said I burned 5,400 calories, but I suspect it might be a bit higher than that. You can click the picture below to see the details of my heart rate and mileage over time.
Here are some notable highlights from the run.
Warm Up Run - 10 PM - 12 AM - 10 miles
Assisted by Jill, Gail, Merle, John, Trudy, Mike and Bob on his bike. I quickly realized that brownies at the first rest stop were a bit of a distraction for some as we made two 5 mile loops. Also, taking pictures with my highly reflective safety vest proved tricky. Gained first nickname of the night...Tron.
Completed Miles: 10 - Feeling great!

Transition Run 1 - 12:15 AM - 1:22 AM - 4 miles
Assisted by John, Matt, and Steve and Bob on bike. Had to make up a little time due to a slightly late start and the brownie distraction. On a whim, Steve purchased a new bike that afternoon and worked on assembly during the final hour of the Warmup Run. It was worth it! Steve would ride with me from midnight until 6:30 AM and he had a really bright headlight and a Blackberry that plays music. Very nice.
Completed Miles: 14 - Back on schedule

Almost a Marathon Run - 1:35 AM - 3:30 AM - 10 miles
Assisted by Matt, Steve and Bob on bikes, Valerie on her bike, Estuardo running and his teenage daughter on her bike. Initially I thought I would only have one volunteer on this loop, but ended up with quite a crowd. The neighborhood security officer stopped us at about 2:45 AM and indicated that we shouldn't be running down the middle of the street as it wasn't safe. We politely agreed and continued running down the middle of the street. We didn't see many cars that morning. I had not met Estuardo until 1:30 AM, but quickly learned that he is a multi-Ironman finisher and he jumped at Steve's suggestion to join us. His daughter, who he called "coach", was equipped with a Fuel Belt with more bottles than mine and she rode happily along in the early morning hours with her dad and his new found friends. She was super-supportive and I got the feeling that she'd done this before. Thanks "coach".
Completed Miles: 24 - Felt like I'd almost run a marathon. Still felt pretty good.

Transition Run 2 - 3:45 AM - 4:30 AM - 3 miles
Assisted by Steve and Valerie on bikes and Lora running. Lora was the unexpected surprise at 3:45 AM when I saw her yellow Jeep pull in. She was able to make it out for the run and then get a lift back to her car. That was really nice! Thank you Lora. Valerie rode ahead of us and Steve lit the way from behind as we made our way down the dark, scary street of the run. As we slowly made our way, we were startled by the guard armadillo on duty halfway down the street. He heard us coming and charged towards the fence and I expected him to jump up on his hind legs and bark ferociously, but instead he snorted softly and then turned away, satisfied that he had protected his yard. Valerie also sacrificed for the team by riding through all the spiderwebs that crisscrossed the trail. Lora also did an interesting little "froggy jig" as she dodged a randomly hopping frog crossing our path near the finish. Nobody wanted to hear the squish, so we appreciated the fancy footwork to avoid our green friend.
Completed Miles: 27 - Re-energized by the short run

Park Run - Bandit Style - 5:00 AM - 6:45 AM - 8 miles
Assisted by Steve on his bike, Paula, Mark and Scott. We ran to the entrance of the park that contains a nice, soft trail around a number of lakes, but the gate was locked. No surprise, since the park doesn't open until 7 AM. Undeterred and a little giddy, we hopped the fence and gently hoisted Steve's new bike over and were on our way. Our pace quickened with the fresh legs of the new group and we made quick work of the park loop and were surprised to see that the gate was open when we left. I picked up a hitchhiker with 3 miles left to run in this segment...the singing balloon.

Completed Miles: 35 - Saw my wife again after 25 miles. She liked the balloon.

The Finale - 7 AM - 9 AM - 10 miles
Assisted by Mark, Scott, Paula, Luis, Rose, Rhonda, Robyn and Sandy and Laura on bike. Paula's singing balloon was a hit and I had it tied to my waist for the remaining 10 miles. When you tap it, it sings a little birthday ditty. When your friends punch it, it sings. When it hits a low tree branch it sings. When your running form is sloppy, it sings. Needless to say, I was serenaded for the next 8.5 miles until the battery started to go. Then the perky birthday song started to sound like a fat, sloppy, slightly drunk, Elvis impersonator singing the once perky birthday song.
We celebrated the passing of each mile mark after 40 with a whoop and continued to calculate the exact route we needed to take to get to 45 miles at the finish. Paula was in charge and I was thankful. Rhonda, Laura, Paula and I ticked off the final miles and soon made our way down the final stretch and at half a mile out, we could see the finish and the small crowd that was waiting. I picked up the pace and saw my daughter holding one side of the finishing tape with a big smile on her face. I saw my son and wife and many of the people that had helped on the run who had come back for the finish. I was running hard when I hit the tape and I raised my arms as I crossed the line. My heart rate monitor read 45.11 miles, but it felt like much more. It felt like an adventure I will never forget filled with sweat, fuel, fluids, heart rate monitors, GPS wristwatches, tech fabrics and expensive shoes. An adventure in training, planning, preparing, coordinating, e-mailing, blogging, Twittering and talking. But most of all it was an adventure filled with stories, laughter, smiles, friends and family who shared and cared about my goals and dreams.

Thank you all for the support!
Dave (Ironbirdlegs)

1 comment:

  1. Happy Birthday very late!
    Just wanted to say I liked you wearing your Bib number!