I remember when I was a new runner. I blogged about every. single. run. The 3 milers, the 5 milers, all of them. It’s been a long time since I did that, and hardly ever in this training cycle.
Today though. Today simply must be acknowledged. I had a 16 miler on the plan, and I had been doing some pretty decent runs since I recovered from the upper respiratory illness. In fact, I’m still on antibiotics. However, I am so not a fan of the long run. I don’t care that they are important. I dread them.
I carb loaded last night. Like, a lot. Not overkill, but I really wanted to nail this run. My first step out the door should have been a huge sign to me. I was slow. Tired. But. Since this is a LSD run, I had no fear. It’s supposed to be long. Slow.
At mile 1, I stopped at the gym, where a long time friend…the friend who helped me see the truth in 2007…she was there and said “Oh My God…we need to catch up…LOTS going on…right?” And honestly. I’m happy. It’s fine. However, it’s not the way I wanted to start this run.
Mile 2 & 3 took me over the green bridge. I was on my way to Modesto, and had planned to run 8 out and back. At mile 4, at the end of the trail, there was a LOT of mud. Or a huge puddle. I chose to turn around and come back.
I was okay at mile 5 and had a restroom stop and was not in the mood to keep running. I realized I was at that moment that you know you have a helluva long way to go to NOT be in the mood. I ran through Spring Creek, and longed for the Garmin (hereby known as Nuke LaLoosh) to tell me I was in the single digits, but no. On and on this went. I weaved in and out of neighborhoods.
Did I mention it was raining and windy? Like, the whole run? At mile 7, it stopped, but started again at mile 7.5. Wind, rain, bad music on the iPod. More wind and cold. My shirt was heavy with water. My hat was dripping. My gloves and arm sleeves were heavy. It was ugly, people.
I got to Mistlin Park, and was just at halfway, and depressed. My legs were lead already. How did this happen? This training cycle has been KICKASS and I have never felt better. I took my second Clif Shot and was running on bricks, and it was here I stopped and stretched. My legs were wooden boards, and I was hurting. Plus. Did I mention the rain?
I got to the truck stop, very slowly. I smiled at one of those homeless dudes with a cardboard sign. It was really my only contact with human life the whole run. I got into town, resigned to 5+ more miles. Trying to suck it up. At the corner, I crossed with the light, just as a dude texting in his lap rolled into the intersection. He nearly hit me. I stopped, and raised my arms in disgust. He slowly drove by me and flipped me off. I stopped in the intersection as he burned out. In the rain. Total tool.
On and on this went. Running. Walking. Drinking water. on and on and on. I got to the golf course, and started to cry when Dolly Parton’s, “I Will Always Love You.” came on the iPod. This was the song that was playing the last time I saw my Granny. Right before she died, I was looking into her eyes, and it was playing in the hospital, and I started crying and she held my hand and said “I love you Linny.” So, I start crying right on the trail. Wailing. I miss her. And, in most marathons at about mile 20, I imagine she says to all her brothers, “Ok, get up and stop playing cards. Linny needs us.” And I imagine her with her broom and blowing me on my way. Sorta like the wind. It helps.
At one point, I thought about why I’m running. I thought about my Grandpa. How much I loved him. I thought of all the people who are dealing with cancer…and you know what? It didn’t help. I was knee deep in self pity.
2.5 more miles to go and I want to cry. Third Clif Shot. This is misery. My feet were numb and wet, and I was remembering the LA Marathon, and how the hell did I do that? I finally turn down my street. I had been at a 13:25 pace for a little while, what with all the walking. But. With every training run in this cycle, I do two things. I never walk hills, and I always sprint the last .2, just for that last push in a marathon. You know. When you see mile 26, there is still so much further (farther?) to go.
I nearly threw my Nuke LaLoosh in the garbage. I could barely walk. I pounded down a cup of chocolate milk, and made a Nuun. A bowl of spaghetti later, a nice conversation and texts from friends…but the best of all…a text from Harley Guy.
Me: Even though I’m a shit runner?
Him: Baby, you are not a shit runner, but I would love you if you were.
I feel terribly shaken. The only thing worse is knowing that I have to do 7 more miles tomorrow. And the day after and the day after…I’m hoping my mood…and my legs improve.