44 miles for my birthday? Part 1

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Ok, call me insane.

No, I am serious, really please do.

Earlier this year I read somewhere on the web about some runners that ran their age in celebration of their birthday. Also, I remember at Disney during the Dopey challenge a lady want it to run additional miles the next day to complete the 50 miles over the 5 day period for her 50th birthday celebration. Since that weekend was her birthday. So, I was going to be 44 years old this year and my birthday is in the month of July (Yes, I also know that here in NC it is hot and humid in July) But if I want to do something similar either I will have to do this in another state up north or Canada or change my birthday to another much cooler, runner-friendly month. Neither option was possible. So I decided that within a span of 24hrs (Or a specific day in July) I was going to run 44 miles.

At first, I mentioned to my friend, kind of like a joke. I was testing the water, we want it to do an Ultra Marathon one of these days, 30 miles, 40 miles a 50 miler perhaps. But other than mentioned it during early spring, I remained quiet about it for a while. In secret mode, I started to do research, read blogs and watch videos about ultra running. The challenges with the distance, solitude and body breakdown. It became clear to me, especially after the two marathons during the spring season that a controlled early fueling was key to the success for me. I am a diabetic, so it is critical to understand when to fuel and when to a dose/bolus of insulin. What high sugars will do after been running that long? and how quickly I can recover from a low? What was I going to do at the “aid” station? Emergencies, how I was going to deal with something going wrong? Hopefully not horribly wrong.

There were lots of unknowns, but slowly I started to understand that after running for more than 3 hours my body was going to get into a recovery-please mode. At this time if walking was the norm then walking had to be.

The Plan:

I divided the run into manageable segments.

  • 1st segment very early in the morning to cover at least 16 miles. When it was going to be cooler.
  • The second one around 12 miles with the morning sun.
  • The third segment another one of about 12 miles.
  • And finishing with a 4 miles run, two miles out and back.

That way, once completed the first two segments I will have cover and passed the halfway point to gain some confidence that I will be able to finish this thing. The course/route was the American Tobacco Trail. This trail was almost flat the whole way, providing stretches of 10 plus miles in both directions from where I was going to park and have the “aid station”

Now to what do I need at the station, for running:

  • Two additional pairs of running shoes
  • Some additional running shirts
  • Towels
  • Body Glide for just in case.

For aid station food:

  • Some protein bars
  • Sandwich
  • Salty chips
  • Plenty of Poweraid Zero (No calories, no sugars just for electrolytes)
  • Some Gatorade G2 (Has some sugar)
  • Water
  • Energy gels (This divided into three bags, one per stop)

For Medical:

  • Glucose Meter
  • Glucose tablets
  • Band-aids
  • Alcohol swabs
  • Glucogen pen
  • Tynelol & Advil

Misc:

  • Sandals
  • Extra food
  • Chips
  • Extra iPod (MP3 Player)
  • Additional headset
  • Plenty of ice
  • A bucket
  • Extra sunglasses
  • More towels

I send out an email to friends and other runners that I have run with before to let them know and invite them to keep me company me especially during the latter part of the challenge. The email went out something like this,

“Running friends,

On Sunday, July 26, I will be attempting to run a self-imposed challenge. Weather permitting, I will be running 44 miles in a day, but even though I am giving me 24hr to completed this challenge, I can assure you, I will not start running at midnight. Also, I would not like to spend the entire day running. Even though is going to feel like it. It is going to be an easy long, long run.

The route will be at the American Tobacco Trail (ATT) see the plan below. If you happen to be running, biking, walking that day during the time and area I am going to be around, you are welcome to join me for a half mile or more. Keep me company, chat a little bit to keep my sanity in check or to drive me insane either way it would be nice to see familiar faces. Since my pace will be very slow all runners are welcome (also do not mind people cycling next to me either).

I divided the run into 4 segments (in and out segments) departing from an “aid station”  (back of my truck). I am not concerned with the first leg of the challenge since it is going to feel like a normal long run. But after that, the story might be slightly different especially leg 3 and 4. I am going to be very tired and might need your mental support.

Here is the plan,

Location: American Tobacco Trail (ATT)
Starting and end point at “Aid Station” located at the ATT Pittard Sears Rd. parking near the water fountain.
American Tobacco Trail
Pittard Sears Rd
Durham, NC 27713

Timeline:

1st leg going North* at the ATT (Estimated Pace: 9:30 to 11:00)

7:45 AM – 8:05 AM Arriving to “aid station” from 1st leg

2nd leg going South* at the ATT (Estimated Pace: 10:30 to 11:30)

10:35 AM – 10:50 AM Arriving to “aid station” from the 2nd leg

3rd leg going North* at the ATT (Estimated Pace: 11:30 to 13:00)

1:00 PM – 1:15 PM Arriving to “aid station” from 3rd leg

4th leg going South* at the ATT (Estimated Pace: 12:30 to 14:00)

2:40 PM – 3:00 PM Arriving to “aid station” from 4th leg Challenge completion (I hope)

Trying to be realistic, I know there will be a lot of walking especially at the later part of the challenge so pace wise for third and fourth leg will be slow. At the “aid station” I will have water and some snacks to share, plus my stuff for the run. I will have some notes with information regarding which way (North or South) and the following timeline, departure from the station, estimated turnaround time and estimated mileage to cover for that leg. That way you will have an idea if I will arriving soon to the “aid station” or if I left already you might be able to catch up or see me on the way back.

Anyway, shoot me a note if you have questions (Because I am still wondering why I am doing this) and/or if you happen to plan to be at the American Tobacco Trail. I will be happy to see you there.”