How I Celebrate Getting Older

There is some point in people’s lives when they begin to look at each birthday with dread. That particular age varies for everyone. Until that time, people celebrate getting older in various ways.

For me, I started a little tradition last year (I didn’t know I would think about making it a tradition when I did it!) to celebrate getting older. I turned 31 last year and, a couple of weeks before that, decided I would celebrate it by running 31 miles on my treadmill. The distance of 31 miles equates to the metric distance of 50K which is a popular race distance (and the shortest race distance that is considered to be an ultramarathon – distances longer than the marathon). You can read about that at this post.

This year, I had no such goal. I knew I had a busy day on the day that would be my birthday (today), so I just thought I would do a regular, shorter run. However, I had forgotten that yesterday is a holiday here in Greece (they have a lot of them – I sometimes forget which ones are when!), so I decided on Monday that I would celebrate turning 32 the same way I celebrated turning 31 – running my age!

celebrate getting older

My birthday route

The problem is that I have only been running 10 miles a few times a week lately and have not run anything longer than 16 miles since Tel Aviv. The other problem is that the roads around here are not always the safest and I normally run solo distances like that on the treadmill. This would be my first time running over 26 miles not on a treadmill in a couple of years. So, I started thinking that maybe, since I was in Europe, I would run the metric distance of my age – 32KM (equates to just about 20 miles). That would make it easier! But, I figured that was no way to celebrate my birthday, so I committed to running the full 32 miles.

It turned out to be a beautiful day and the roads were empty since nothing was open in honor of the holiday. There were a couple of roadside stands open that I used as my water stops, and that was helpful. The nice thing about running an out and back like this is that you know you will hit the same places on the way back and you can handle your fluid intake by that knowledge. Another nice thing about running a long distance out and back is it is amazing how much ground you can actually cover! I went from my home all the way over to the other side of the city (and I am a few miles outside of the city).

It was a really nice run. There was some elevation along the way that really took it out of me, and a groin muscle started to really give me some discomfort around miles 18, but I was able to plug away and get it done. I had setup my Garmin 620 with Garmin Connect before I left (I kept forgetting to do this before), so my family was actually able to track my progress live – including heart rate, elevation, pace, and distance all on the map! It made me wish I could watch it happen!

In the end, my overall stats were:

  • Time: 4 hours and 42 minutes
  • Distance: 32 miles 
  • Pace: 8:48
  • Marathon Split: 3:47
  • Avg. Heart Rate: 155 bpm
  • Avg. Cadence: 172 spm

Now that I have a tradition, we shall see if I will be able to continue it each year. At some point, I will switch to the metric distance for my age – who knows when that will be! I think I can make it to the 50 year point, but who knows?

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.

1 Comment

  • That is an awesome tradition! My friend turned 30 last year and he did the same thing — running his age. There is a 1-mile loop near where I live and he invited his friends to join him for a mile or two (or more) around the loop one morning and it was AWESOME! I joined him for the first 6 miles and then rested in a picnic area where we had balloons and refreshments for everyone. We’d cheer on him whenever he passed by every 8-10 minutes or so. Overall it’s a lot of fun.
    Enjoy Greece! I ran the Athens classic marathon (running from Marathon to Athens) back in 2005 as my first marathon back when I was 22 and am thinking of perhaps running that race again next year in 2015. We’ll see. Hope to meet you in Seattle! Oh and happy birthday!