Thursday, November 3, 2011

40 for 40

I did the craziest thing about three weeks ago. I planned a birthday party for my friend and running buddy. It had been an idea that we had been kicking around for about two years. My friend was going to be celebrating the big 4-0 and she wanted to run 40 miles to celebrate this occasion. I thought she was nuts. But I wanted to make this day possible for her. We have been training partners for the past 4 years. I give her credit for lighting the competitive fire in me a few years ago. When I first moved to Las Vegas 9 years ago I was a full time college student and I also worked a part time job. I would train for a marathon just to stay in shape and occasionally I would race shorter distance races. In 2007 during my last semester of UNLV I met my friend and a lot of things just fell right into place with my training. I graduated from college and I had more time to run. This friend helped me believe in myself and she encouraged me to try to qualify for the "Boston Marathon" (I had qualified over 10 years ago but, I never had the opportunity or the means to go to Boston). To make a long story short I qualified for Boston again at the beginning of 2008 and I ran the race that same year. Since that time my friend and I have raced together, raced against each other, hurt together during 20 milers in the July heat, and gossiped during many early morning miles. When I became pregnant she was very excited for me but, I knew my life would change and our runs would be more infrequent. Still the idea of 40 for 40 was there.

As much as I would have loved to run 20 of those miles with her, I knew that I had to be in charge of the logistics. I am a control freak when it comes to planning. I have to know: who, where, when, what, and how this was going to take place. Safety was also a big issue. Even though it was October the temps were expected to hit 90 degrees in the afternoon.We mapped out a route that was 32 miles long. My goal was to have pacers at the start and then there would be several meet up spots for others to join. I would then drive back runners to their cars when there were done pacing. I also set up aid stations every 1.5-2 miles along the course with water, gatorade, ice and candy.

 The day started early for the birthday girl. Since the route was only 32 miles she got up early and ran 8 miles before hand with one of her pacers to make sure she got the full 40 miles in. At 8am she met up with about 8 pacers to begin their climb up highway 159 heading north to Red Rock state park about 9 miles into the run more pacers joined.  By this time she had clocked 17 miles and was looking strong.Some of the earlier runners were done for the day and it was my turn to give them a ride back to the start.  At the 25 mile mark another set of pacers joined. I was a little worried about my friend because she did appear a little loopy. She assured me she was ok and she kept on running. The second half of the course seemed to be much easier for her. It was a downhill ride from Red Rock State park through the west side of the Las Vegas valley ending downtown on Fremont Street.

There were fresh pacers at mile 30 to keep her motivated. I kept expecting her to hit a wall eventually but it seemed the further along she was the stronger she became.  At the end of the day I was so amazed at how smoothly everything went. I was proud of myself for planning the event and it was incredible to see her run 40 miles.

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