Sunday, May 4, 2008

Saturday Runday

so we were scheduled to run our 2nd to last long run yesterday, an 18 miler from Shelter Island to the Convention Center and back. i was semi looking forward to it mainly because it's a distance i've never even contemplated before. this was going to be a true test of my will, my strength and my pain thresh hold.

i woke up early, got in my morning stretch and core routine and headed out the door; i still had to pick up ice and water before heading down to meet everyone. Abby was slated to do the first 2 SAG stops and then Emma was going to come and meet her at the 3rd and finish it off. BOD was out of town for Wildflower (can i tell you how bummed i was to be missing my all time favorite race?) so i was in charge of the whole shebang. the course was supposed to be chalked for us, but Krista (the office manager of SDRI) called at the last minute to let me know she wasn't going to do it (surprise surprise). it ended up being fine though because i printed out step by step turns so everyone had something to go by during the run. i ended up walking out of the house without my run bottle (oy vey) so had to turn around and get it. i got to the start about 15 minutes late and Abby got to us 15 more minutes after that (thank God MAO wasn't there, he'd have fired us both!). we were finally off and running by 7:32.

the run itself ended up being a really great route. the scenery and breeze off the water made the distance and heat bearable. i decided to stick with Alexis for this run for 2 reasons - 1) i know that she absolutely hates running by herself and since Jenn wasn't there to do it with her, i thought she might need the encouragement and 2) we have both been having gnarly knee problems so i thought we could use each other for support when the run got tough...AND IT SOOOOO DID...

SAG couldn't have been worse. because of the Red Bull Air Races taking place downtown, they had a lot of streets marked off and shut down for automobile traffic. Abby was successful in getting to the first SAG area but didn't make any other ones through the rest of the run. BRUTAL. Alexis and i were seriously hurting with about 6 miles left in the run. i kept looking over at her with a huge smile and yelling "Alexis, we are going to do 18 miles! We are almost there! We're really gonna do this!" silly me, we were still a good 6 miles out. then it hit me in an all of sudden fast ball to the gut. i didn't even see it coming. i had been taking my shot blocks throughout the run (one every 20 minutes or so) plus drinking my Accelerade from my run bottle, but i had been dry for the past couple of miles and WHAM! i could feel the wall coming straight at me. i know most walls don't actually move, but this was a magic wall, with arms and legs and it was making a bee line straight for me. Alexis had been hurting for awhile before i even started thinking about it. she only had water on her the whole run and one PowerGel. i kept telling her that her and Jenn had to get better about nutrition on the course or they would be miserable come race day. both of them have issues about taking in the proper amount of calories on our long runs. i can't really say too much as i was horrible with nutrition before i met paul. i really tried to bring home the importance of it on this run. Alexis' eyes looked sunk in and her spirits were really low. we needed SAG in a bad way.

we came up the hill over by the spot where they have the San Diego International transition area set up and began the small climb over the bridge. out of the corner of my eye i saw Emma make a U-Turn and start heading back down the hill to meet us. i can't quite tell you how happy i was at that moment. i nudged Alexis and pointed. she nodded her head and we continued down the hill towards our soon to be happy place. Emma was out of the car and ready with fresh Accelerade and ice water, Alexis and i were drinking and eating like the poor starved Ethiopian children you see on the Discovery Channel. it was a sight to behold. i think Emma might have had a golden aura around her at this moment because she definitely saved us. the best part about it was that she happened to stop right in front of the Naval Anti Terrorist Warfare Training Center. a naval officer walked out slowly to greet us, gun in hand. so as we are stuffing our faces, this poor guy pops over from the side of the car and is like "you have to move! what are you doing?!" we were like, oh please officer, we have been running a really long time without support (like he knew what that meant) and we just need to refuel. please, we're almost done..." as we continued to rip open bags of this and pour cups of that. it was great. he went on to watch us in amazement and made Emma pack it up and move it out as soon as our greedy little bodies had gotten what we needed. we started off anew and waved fondly at the officer who decided to have pity on us.

the last 4 miles or so were awful. neither one of us could talk. when we finally hit the last mile home stretch, all i could do was concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other. i was in excruciating pain. every step felt more than awful. my IT was not just screaming at me, it was taking a knife and stabbing me to try and get me to stop. i learned two things on this run - 1) i have the strength and will of a cougar and 2) it is not wise to have an unreliable SAG-er on an 18 miler.

we were both a little overwhelmed at the end of the very long morning run. we ended up finishing in 3 hours 40 minutes (almost a full hour after the first group of runners) and luckily Emma stayed to the end to see us through. i just have to say thank God she was there. i couldn't stop telling her thank you and how much it meant to have her there. i was delirious at this point and Alexis and i just sort flopped down onto the grass near our cars and miraculously started stretching for the next 20 minutes or so. i gave her some instructions for the rest of the day - hydrate, stretch, hydrate, rest and hydrate...oh and hot tub to get the blood flowing into our injuries so it could start to bring the healing nutrients to the spots that were needing it most.

all in all, not looking forward, not in the least, to the 20 miler next weekend. not one iota...

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