Sunday, April 3, 2011
Enduring through 22 Miles
This weeks run was much different than last weeks. It was a warm, sunny day. I added hills to the route and I hardly thought.
Preparing for the warmer weather I sunscreened up and prepared extra Gatorade. About 6 miles into the run I was beginning to over heat so I decided to run just in my sports bra. At mile 8 I began dousing water on myself at the water stops. (I was about to type this is the longest run I have done in the heat so far- however this was the longest run I have EVER done.)
At mile 8 I finally felt like I was getting into a rhythm. I was averaging 8:40 pace. That is a little faster than the plan, but that is better than the alternative. There were so many people out with the beautiful picnic weather. As I would run I would notice things: A couple and a baby laying on a blanket, the same lady from last week with her dog, a cyclist I saw earlier in the day and the spray painted trails. I noticed things. I didn't really think. I didn't play games to pass the time. It was just as if I was running and taking in everything around me. Maybe this is what people mean when they say in the running zone.
At mile 12 I round a tree to take a water break. There stands Ryan with Gatorade to replenish my stock. He encourages me and tells me I am doing great. More than half way done! The hills are still awaiting me. I take off ready to hit the hills at mile 16. I talk to myself about the hills. I have done these hills a handful of times. Its a fun run. And they are not that bad! I feel as if I am ready to go. I make it up the first hill and recover down hill. The next hill starts and I have a sudden overwhelming feeling of, "I don't want to do this. Just get me back on flat." I tell myself I need to do this to train for hills on tired legs. That is what race day will present. My pace starts to decrease and my legs are getting heavy. I realize I need a round of GU and water. I know that short break will help and re-energize me. However, I have to push a half mile more before I'll let myself stop.
All the sudden, I see Ryan's car drive by! The right signal light comes on. I am over joyed that he is here. I didn't expect to see him again. What a great surprise and when I needed it the most. He is at mile 18 where he gets me some water and I take the GU. I stretch out and he rubs my shoulders. Again he encourages me. Only two more miles of hills that are the easier end and then run it back home for 2 miles. Almost done! Ryan (and the GU) provided me enough energy to run out the last four miles hitting 8:30 pace a good portion of the time.
Once I got home I made my way to the bathroom for an ice bath. (The ice bath is almost worse than running 22 miles!) I looked in the mirror and at the moment I realized why people were looking at me so strangely. My black sports bra and shorts had new decorative white ripple salt stains, along with my face being as red as a tomato from all the sun.
Although the run was tough, although there was a point that I wanted to quit, although people looked at me strangely and although I ached for hours afterwards I endured through 3 hours and 14 minutes for my 22 mile run!