Yesterday I turned 36, and to fulfill my promise, I ran 36km for charity: water . Earlier this year we were able to pull together enough money to provide clean water for 38 people. The goal was 36, so 38 is even better and I am quite happy about that. We raised the money, now I needed to come through on my promise.
So that left me with my 36th birthday party; me running around Edmonton for 36km. Here is the review of this experience.
I parked my car at the park at the end of Groat Road around 9am. I had a hatchback full of water, raisins, Gatorade, bananas, jam sandwiches, and gummy worms. These choices were a mix of a variety of sources of advice of what to eat to help maintain energy over this sort of distance. Before yesterday, the furthest I had every ran was 32 km. I try to not take an extra 4 km lightly, as silly and easy as 4km might seem, so I wanted to add some more calories that I could digest easily. I hold a small amount of shame in the fact that most of these items are pure sugar. I’ll get to how it all played out a little later.
I wore a hat, sunscreen, Mizuno shoes, my Garmin watch, Value Village shorts, and my shirt from my Montreal half marathon. I strapped on a belt with 2 small bottles of fluid, and an even smaller pouch for my car key, a Lara bar, and a few gummy worms.
And I was off.
I decided to do a bit of a loop, all the way down River Valley Road, across the LRT bridge, through to the Kinsmen Pool, and back. It was a loop just under 4 miles. I found that returning to the car every 40 minutes or so was essential. Without my stash of fluids and food, I would have been hurting for sure.
A couple of notes on the first 31km:
• First of all, that belt thing is awful. It needs to stay strapped tight so that it doesn’t bounce around, so with that I felt a bit uncomfortable around the waist for most of the morning. Tolerable discomfort, but discomfort nonetheless. Next time I would probably go with one of those vests that hold water bottles.
• Other than the belt, I felt great. It was a beautiful day, the birds were chirping, and a bunch of other runners were out there. I’m used to running on a country road by myself, so it was a nice change-up.
• My course was really flat, which was on purpose. I think that really helped me keep a steady pace. Circling up the path on the bridge got more and more difficult as time went on.
• I actually had great times all the way up to 31k. I was aiming for around 10 minutes a mile, and at mile 16 I was actually still pulling off 9:10 per mile! I felt good, I felt strong… I still had over 6 miles to go.
• I was 2 miles away from my car when I ran out of water. Bone head move. My only hope was making it over to The Kinsmen before I started to feel it. Well, crossing the bridge, I felt it. I slogged towards the Kinsmen, dry mouth and empty bottles, when a miracle happened. I found a public bathroom. Inside, I found the coldest water ever! It felt so good! It was so refreshing, and I fell like it was a big reason why I stayed positive during the coming trails.
I hit a pretty good wall. Or, as the author of a recent article I read put it, I ‘bonked’. My lungs felt great, my stomach felt amazing. My legs? Like they were ready to rot and fall off. At this point, I still had 5k to go.
Why did I hit a wall?
I have a few theories:
So I slugged it out with pain. My legs wobbled back and forth for a minute of running, then I would walk for 2, then run one more, then walk two, and so on. I prayed for strength. Still, it was tough sledding, for sure.
Eventually, I made it through that routine until the last mile, when I was determined to run until the finish. I am happy to say that I did it. 22.4 miles, or 36km. Time of 3:56.
My finish time was a disappointment. Again, I need to keep it around 10 minutes for the first 15 miles, then that should help me in the end.
The irony of running out of water is that I was doing a charity run for people who needed water. Believe me, this was not lost on me. I did not find it funny at the time, but looking back on it, it was a good thing to go through.
When I got home I told Barbara that it’s going to be tough to do this when I’m 72. 72km seems like a lot, anyway;)
Trying to share good words within a world of noise. Introverted, but I need people.