That is what 38 miles looks like.

Yep, you read that right.

1 run.
38 miles.
8 hours.
And 1 birthday celebrated properly.

When a really good friend wanted to run her birthday age, I was all for it. It required a really early start time and some good coordination.

Here was the plan:

  • Start at 3 a.m., run 25 miles.
  • Meet other runners (at the reasonable hour of 8 a.m.) and run the final 13 miles.

Having fresh legs in the group can really energize and carry the pace for long runs.

As you can see, we would be taking it really easy for this run. With most of us being able to run close to (or under) a 4-hour marathon, allowing 5 hours for 25 miles meant we were going to take it smart and conservatively.

We started a half hour late (my fault). But when we started, the miles went by pretty easily. When you are running at 4 a.m. through the streets of San Francisco, it is pretty quiet outside of a couple “walk of shames.”

The goal was to make it to 38 miles. We walked when we needed to. Made bathroom stops when we needed to. And arranged a couple spots to refuel with some snacks and water. Running that long requires being prepared.

The first 20 miles went fairly well. When I looked at my watch and saw we were at mile 19, I couldn’t help but laugh and think “half way.” I’ve never attempted to run this far and knowing I still had almost 20 miles to go was somewhat “demoralizing,” but I tried not to think about it and just kept moving. This was a good way to mentally train for the 50.

When I reached 32 miles, it was a distance high for me. I’ve never done anything over that, so this was uncharted territory. I kinda stopped looking at my watch and just went with the flow. I’ll have to admit that I sort of “checked out” of the group conversation and just put it on auto-mode. I was definitely thankful that we had friends with us willing to carry the momentum and conversation.

Since we started late, when our friends were done with their 13 miles, it left me and the birthday girl to finish the final 5 miles. It was the perfect way to end the adventure. We were determined to hit 38 whether it was running, walking, or crawling. I had some coke (the soda) and it picked me up as we headed into the final leg of our birthday adventure.

My conversation voice came back and we talked about everything and nothing as we made our way to the final mile. Once we hit that magic number it was lots of smiles and a super-duper high five. It was done with and for someone very important to me. Someone that showed me how to love running. How it can make you a better and stronger person. That has been there for me when I have been healthy and smashing races and someone who has been there for me and with me when they come tumbling down. Running for nine hours with her is easy. It’s fun… and oh ya, it’s a little crazy.

After 38 miles, I still keep it classy.

38 freaking miles.

Still can’t believe we did it and am so happy that we didn’t stop. It wasn’t fast, but it was the perfect way to celebrate a great friends birthday and something I’ll never forget.

What is the farthest you have run?

Have you ever attempted to run your age on a birthday?