Saturday, January 14, 2012
Ever since I joined Pearland Area Road Runners, there has been this date looming on the calendar. It was the day that we were scheduled to run 16 miles. Being that I only wanted to run 3 miles easily, I laughed when I saw this, and I knew I would never, EVER, run 16 miles.
Well, the schedule moved around, and the calendar changed, but the day arrived where Kelly and I were to run 16 miles. There was lots of stress this week leading up to it. Fear. Stress and fear. But mostly fear. Kelly was really nervous about it. The way I looked at it we would run 16 and then we were done. We would never have to go any further. That would be the record, and we could be happy with that.
Most of the group was running in the Houston Marathon on Sunday, so as far as we knew, we were the only ones running Saturday. We decided we would do our 8 mile route twice, and we would start at 5:30.
And we did. Actually it was 5:45, but since it was just us, we weren't worried about being late. We had planned on taking it easy and just completing it without worrying about time, although we thought it would take us about 5 hours. So off we go. It was a very cold 33 degrees, but it wasn't windy. This was good. It didn't take long to warm up and we found a groove pretty quickly. As we approached mile 2, we stopped at the gas station for a quick bathroom break. They guy is used to us stopping there now and wished us luck since he would be gone before round two.
The first loop of 8 miles went by without a hitch. We felt pretty good, and we stopped for a quick stretch break before starting the second loop. We stopped again at the gas station. We split a Cliff bar, and off we went again. We turned again into this neighborhood that has a man made creek on one side of the road. We haven't ran by the water since the very first time we ran this route, and that time it was dark. So I asked Kelly if we could move over to run by the fountains and get a better view of the ducks that we always hear. We crossed the street and soon enough we were approaching the ducks. They scattered and quacked at us, and then we saw the goose. He was not moving. He sat there, and Kelly said he would hold his own and probably chase us. Sure enough, we got closer and he just stood there. We got even closer and he honked at us, but he didn't move. In fact, he defecated right there on the sidewalk as if to let us know what he thought of us trying to invade his space. Not only did we go around the goose, I actually had to look behind to make sure he wasn't chasing us. Then we noticed all the poo. The sidewalk was covered with poo! Duck and goose poo everywhere!
Next time, we'll stay on the other side of the street.
Around 11 miles is when we notice the temperature had warmed up, so layers started coming off. When we passed the 12 mile mark, Kelly got a notice on her Garmin that the battery was low. I thought I could set mine for the intervals that we were doing and it would keep my miles, but I was wrong. It reset the mileage. On top of messing that up, my Garmin was not doing intervals. I don't know why, but there were no beeps to be heard. I tried a couple of times. So now, I have no idea where we are on the miles. And we're starting to get a little tired.
We got to the point where we are thinking we are at 14 miles. We stopped for a stretch break, and apparently my brain took a break too because I couldn't add the distances together to figure out where we were. Kelly suggested going straight and heading back which would be 1.6 more miles. But I just wasn't convinced that that would get us there. If we turned and made the same exact loop, we would be guaranteed to reach 16. "Is that what you want to do?" Kelly asked.
It was. I was tired, and 1.6 miles sounded much better than 2.7, but I wanted to get to 16 miles. I wanted to reach 16 miles. So we took a deep breath and started again. Immediately, my body went into protest mode. My legs were tight and I felt like my hips were trying to lock up. I laughed and said to Kelly, "Oh gosh, I hope I didn't make the wrong choice!" Soon enough the Garmin beeped to give us our walking break. I took long steps to try to work out some of the kinks in my hips, but before I could even take a second, our minute break was over and the Garmin beeped.
"Oh, fuck you." I said out loud.
Kelly cracked up. That's what I was resorting to. Cursing at a Garmin. And there she is laughing at my pain. ;)
We continued on. Another mile went by. More minutes go by. We were not talking. All we could hear was the sounds of our feet on the pavement. Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump. We were in our last mile. And it hurt. I found myself biting my lip. I had a blister on my left foot. There was pain through the numbness, and we still had half a mile to go. But never was there a time when I doubted that we would make it. I knew we would, because that's what we do. We just keep going.
I looked up, and there was the end. We had made it, and we could stop in just a few more steps.
Kelly had the biggest smile on our face as we high-fived. I hate to think of what my face looked like, because although I was so happy, I think it was scrunched up in pain and agony.
When we got back to the cars, I laid down in the middle of the parking lot to stretch. Yes, in the middle of the parking lot. It's a professional building, and I wondered if anyone would come out to check on me, but no one did. I stretched my calves. I stretched my hips. I did everything I could think of, but when I got up, I was still feeling stiff and sore. I could have easily have stayed on the ground for a few more minutes or even an hour, but I got up to head home.
I had a hard time getting out of the car. It was like back in the beginning when I was sore all the time. As I hobbled into the house, my husband had breakfast ready for me. I was thrilled, and I devoured it in no time.
So now, I have reached a record, and it will be my record for some time. My friend, Lynn, posted on my facebook that 26.2 was next, but I can honestly say that after this 16.23 mile run, I have NO desire to run another 10. And since it took us 4 hours and 50 minutes to do 16, there is no way I could ever meet a time limit to run a full Marathon anyway.
No. 16 is where it's at for now. Sweet sixteen as my friend Dianne says. And I feel pretty damn good about it.