This is one of my favorite youtubes ever, credit going to LARunner , where I saw it the first time.  Unfortunately, in yesterday’s run, I was the guy that stopped.  That didn’t get going.  I let my head rule the run.

The title is called unprepared.  My partner was unprepared, but really I thought I had enough water for the both of us, so I also did not have what it took to finish this run.

On the schedule was 17 miles.  I was so nervous, that I did nothing in the morning.  I didn’t go to church.  Was sort of paralyzed, really.  We had planned to go at noon, but that will be the last time.  Morning runs are key.  For one thing, you’re done, and the other, mid-day, mid-sun runs are never good for me, and I should have known that. (Mistake #1)

Kim and I went out strong.  Good 11 mile or so pace, trying to stay slow, so as to finish.  We went over the Green Bridge to Salida, then to the mall in Modesto.  All along the sidewalks.  Lots of Sunday traffic, but smiles.  I was feeling good.  Took a salt tab at Mile 5, and it was working for me.  I felt free, breezy, light.  I told her she could have half of my water.  I carry two bottles in a fuel belt, and thought it would be enough for the both of us. (Mistake #2)

We went over the Standiford-Beckwith overpass, down into the country, and what we thought would be a straight shot home.  This was mile 7.5, and things were still on track.  At Mile 8, I looked at her.  She had no hat, no sunglasses, and was sweating.  We were running into the sun, into farmers’ fields, and I started to worry about this.  We chose to go into a field rather than fight the traffic on a 2 lane road. 

Suddenly, we found ourselves in the middle of bees.  Lots of bees.  White boxes where they were living.  And, before we could think I said, “We gotta get out of here, quick”.  So, we had to turn around, and run over a cement bridge that was 1 foot wide.  Not pretty.  Not fun.  As we ran along the other side of the canal, farm dogs were charging toward their fences.  Finally, I saw a street, and thought we were headed back.  This whole debacle slowed me down considerably.

At mile 9.7, I turned and saw that Kim was vomiting in the ditch.   Here’s where the mistakes start to pile up.  I couldn’t leave her.  I knew that.  However, I decided I would give her my bottle of water, because it was the right thing to do.  She told me to go on, and I would take one with me.  (Mistake #3?) I’m not sure what else I could have done, but suffice it to say, it was the best I could do in the moment.

Mistake #4 is trying to find the road to take me by Salida Middle School, and I couldn’t find it.  I ran into a residential area, and it was way too crowded with Sunday peeps washing their cars, smoking, dogs, kids.  Finally I asked someone how to get to the Middle School, and they pointed back OUT.  When I got out, I could see Kim going further down a road that I didn’t think was the way, but at that point, I couldn’t get her attention.  I could see Fiscalini Farms, where my friend Heather lives, and thought, if all else fails, I can go get her.

Mistake #5.  I ran for a little bit.  Then, I simply stopped.  I laid down on grass in the shade, because I couldn’t take the sun, and I had less than one inch of water left in my last bottle.  A car with two guys came up, and the driver said, “Are you okay? Do you need water?”  I said yes.  He brought out a half bottle of Dasani, and rather than drink it, I asked him to pour it on my salt lick arms.  Mistake #6, because when your internal self needs water, and you put it on the skin, your body works to cool down the skin, not hydrate YOU.  I looked to see what he was looking at, and it was blood.  I had bloody nipples on my cute new pink top.  Mistake #7.  Wearing a top that isn’t tight enough to prevent this.  I had only heard of this happening to men.  However, I will only be wearing this for short runs, or yoga from now on, so not a total loss in the *lessons learned* department.

I was done.  And it was only mile 11.5  I could see the freeway.  Could see the Salida exit.  Could see the joyous run from only an hour ago.  And, I didn’t know where Kim was.  We had originally planned for her to walk, and I would continue and get the car.  But, since I didn’t know the area, I had no clue where she was (Mistake #8–always drive the route, as my friend Shannon says).

I got up, and started walk/running.  I ditched my fuel belt.  I had one Gu with me, but no water, so it would be pointless to take it.  However, it would have been better than nothing.  I ran to the Fire Station to get water.  There was no one there.  I turned on Ciccarelli Road…and found a little bit of heaven.  I stopped at three orange trees.  I peeled and ate.  Peeled and ate.  And, I knew I was done.  I was doing a 22 minute mile here with all the walking, but I didn’t care.

Finally, I could see the overpass that would take me into Ripon.  I sat down at one point.  I couldn’t move.  Oddly, I ran over the Hammett overpass.  Huh.  I walk the whole way, and run over the overpass.  A biker stopped, and he waterfalled some of his water.  I asked everyone if they had seen a girl in a blue top.  At this point I was worried that she was out on the road waiting for me, or that I couldn’t make it home.

I forgot to turn on Crash Davis.  But I think it was 15 miles in all.

I made it to the Shell station.  Out of gas, dehydrated.  I went in, and the attendant gave me a Gatorade.  Never tasted anything sweeter.  She said, “You’re training for a marathon, aren’t you?” She knows, because the Shell station is where I stop every day for the bathroom…Most days.  I had no money, but told her I would bring her some.  Then she let me call Kim’s house.  This is when I knew I was in trouble, because I couldn’t remember her phone number.  Finally got it, and she came and got me.  She paid the attendant for the Gatorade, and got me up and we got in the car.  She felt horrible.  She was so sorry that she had taken the water, etc.  She is not a long distance person…AND, she is an awesome partner, but I know I’ll be doing the longer runs by myself.  I do not fault her.  At all.

We drove back to get my fuel belt.  We drove down Ciccarelli Road and laughed at all the orange peels.  It was like Hansel and Gretel. 

Unprepared.  I was unprepared for this run in many ways.  I have to take care of myself and my fuel.  When I run with someone, I have to make sure they are ready too.  I don’t listen to what I’m supposed to do in the fuel arena.   Last night I was so dejected, I decided not to do the Los Angeles Marathon.  Really.  Today, that part is over, but I feel hungover at best…

And, I have 3 weeks to figure out if I have what it takes.  Or if I’m going to be the girl that stays behind.  Stay tuned.

6 thoughts on “unprepared

  1. You are NOT to be the girl left behind! You ABSOLUTELY have what it takes…Nike already proved that! You will conquer and kick ass! We all make mistakes…it’s what makes us better. Stronger. More appreciative of the runs that actually go right. You are not a quitter. You are a fighter. I told you last night, and I will tell you’s not about what you DID…it’s about what you do AFTER what you did. Learn from this. Apply that knowledge to your 20 miler this weekend. Show that bitch who’s boss! The road doesn’t own you; you own the road! Get after it, missy! I believe in you…even when you don’t.

    Do you remember this:
    If someone hurts you, I’ll knock them out.
    If you jump off a bridge, I’ll be on the ground to catch you.
    If you cry, I’ll let you cry on my shoulder.
    If your kicked out, I’ll take you in.
    If your drunk, I’ll take your keys.
    If your world comes crashing down, I’ll be standing right next to you.
    If you cry because of me, it’s because I made you laugh too hard.

    Well, add this line..
    If you bonk on a run, I’ll be there to cuss you out and get your ass moving again…like you did for me at mile 14.

    It’s what we do!

    You rock, Linda!!!


  2. You know what? You are awesome. Even though you view this run as a sort of failure, what you learned about yourself and just going through it and coming out the other side will prove to be invaluable.


  3. Hey, as long as you learn from your mistakes, you’ll do fantastic in three weeks. If it was all easy, everyone would be a marathoner, not just us awesome people!

  4. Omigosh! Talk about the run from hell! I’m so sorry you had to experience this! But now you know what not to do and I’m sure you’ll never have to experience this again.

    Thanks for writing this, it was captivated through the whole thing, picturing the scene.

    I have my long-distance runs coming up in the next few weeks and will be sure to learn from your experience.

    Keep you head up – I think you’ll kickass in LA!

  5. My Nike AD! This ad reminds me of when I started running trails and I would cry every day. Look at how far you’ve come!

  6. You will look back on his adventure in a couple of months and smack yourself on the forehead…..

    You’re not writing this like you’re giving up. Way to pick up the pieces.

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