Monday, May 11, 2009
This past weekend I ran my farthest distance to date - 21 MILES!!! Well, to say I "ran" it is probably an overstatement but Kelly and I walk/jogged it. Let me just say that it was tough but I think 18 was tougher!! Having a great running partner really makes things more enjoyable. Especially when at mile 17.5 your running partner looks at you in the eye with enthusiasm and says "It is only about a 5k from here...we should run!!!" Ummm...I would rather walk!!! HEHE!!! She pushes me and supports me and I would like to think that I do the same for her.
So, let me start at the beginning!!! This was our running group's second and final train run. We parked our cars at the Solana Beach Train Station and then get on the train at 6:45am and ride it to the Oceanside Train Station. This adds a little bit of excitement to the morning because buying tickets can be a little bit crazy and the train waits for NO ONE!! LOL!
I stopped and picked Kelly up and off we drove to the station. We got out, got our things together and hoofed it to the station!! We had to park pretty far away...even that early! We were rushed but were able to get 10 people together for the discounted rate. We bought our tickets and proceeded to meet up with the rest of the group at the platform. We got there just in time for the train to pull in and this really rude train employee lady to give us some TUDE!! LOL! We loaded the train and off we went. We found seats and chatted for the quick 15 minute train ride to Oceanside. The rude tude lady came and collected our ticket....lucky us! We chatted with a nice guy on the train and before you knew it - it was time to get this running party started!!
Kelly used the rest room, they took a group photo and then off we ran. It was slightly counter intuitive because the train ride leads us about 16 miles from our cars so we had to go north and run about 2.5 extra miles north (away from our car) in order to hit the 21 mile mark. We started out with the group and it was crowded. We took up some of the street until we hit a bike trail. It was right next to the San Luis Rey River and it was pretty cool. Spirits were high and everyone was chatting. We got into a pretty good groove and hit the 2.5 mile turn around point. Yes! Now, we were headed in the right direction...toward the car!
At around the 4.5 mile marker I was feelin great. Had energy and had already knocked 4.5 miles off of that 21 mile goal! Yes! Kelly and I had decided we would try and focus on running to the next aid station where we could stop, get a drink, some pretzels and possibly walk for a little bit. Once we stopped, chatted for a couple minutes and ate some pretzels and drank some Ultima, we were off. Right as I started to run I noticed the pain in my knee. I was like "oh no!!! This can't be happening!" The knee pain had subsided for the most part in previous weeks and I could barely walk. It was slow and painful but Kelly encouraged me to do what I needed to do. We took a short bathroom break and it started to loosen up some. Now, we were pulling in the rear of the whole running group but I couldn't think about that. I had to focus on the knee pain. I would hate to do something on this training run that would keep me from completing the race. We started back at it and the pain became more manageable. I blocked it out and we jogged our way to the second aid station (mile 9). We stopped again, had some pretzels and drank some Ultima (good stuff, btw!) posed for a few pics...one with a pretzel hangin out of my mouth!!!! Sure enough, when we started to walk again my knee started hurting!! URGH!!!! I hate this!!! I was getting frustrated. I just wanted to be able to walk/run this mileage and not worry about my stupid knee. It loosened up again after quite a bit of walking and we started jogging again. I was jogging very slowly and I could tell that this was going to be tough. I just focused on trying to get to the third aid station that was at Moonlight Beach. I love the scenery of the runs near the coast and I really tried to just focus on other things. If I focused on running, the pain would get the best of me. We hit the aid station (mile 13) and they had this awesome stuff called Cool N Fit!!! You spray it on your legs and it works magic. I HAVE to buy some of this stuff before the marathon. It has some cooling agent that helps the muscles. I don't know exactly HOW it works and I don't really care!!! All I know is I love that stuff!!! They sprayed us down and I was super grateful for that. It gave me the energy to keep going!
We walked for a bit and ate some Shot Bloks and Sports Beans. We started jogging again and while it was slow going we were busting through those miles. Only one more aid station and then we would hit the car. YES!!! Around mile 16.5 I was ready to be done and at that point it was Kelly's furthest run ever!!! She was doing an awesome job and my injured knee was slowing us down but she never complained and was super patient!!! LOVE HER! We were plugging away and focusing on the last aid station which was at mile 17.5. Man, I was getting tired but we kept our conversation going. We started talking about my status about the 21 miler being eazzzy schmeeezy and that led us to eazzzzy breeezzzzy and eazzzzy peeeezzzzyyyy and some how mac and cheeeezzzzy came into play. All I know is it had us laughing and as we neared that aid station, we needed laughs!! Otherwise, I think we might have just moped and maybe even cried!!! There always comes this point during long runs where you fear it may never ever end. It seems unobtainable but something in you knows...if you just keep going, you can do it.
Little by little we hit that last aid station. It was **only** 3.5 more miles!!!! We stopped, had some pretzels and some more mint flavored water and we started off walking again. Knee started giving me trouble but I focused and we start jogging. Then Kelly needs some nourishment and she pulls out her honey and pretzel sticks. We keep going and around mile 19.5 we notice Anne, a coach for the running group in her car. Kelly suddenly tells me she is shaking and doesn't feel well. She says if Anne pulls over she may need a ride back. Anne did pull over to talk with a couple ahead of us to make sure they were okay and didn't need a ride back. They waved her off and I ran to the car. I said, "please don't leave, I think my friend needs a ride." Kelly has this sad look in her eyes but I encourage her to go. I was going to tough it out. This gave me the gumption I needed to get my butt in gear and finish up the last 1.5 miles....running!!! I knew she would be at the car waiting for me and I didn't want her waiting for me, if I was walking. I geared up and off I went. I ran those last miles and it was tough. My body was saying "uncle" but I pressed on. I could do this....and I did!!!! I finished that running. I was proud and hurting but I held my head high! As I turned the corner there were about 6 road runners still there and they cheered me on as I ran past them yelling....it has to beep at 21 exactly before I will quit and it did!!!! The most beautiful sound is that Garmin ringing to let you know you have met your goal!!! I quickly went to find Kelly. I was worried about her! I headed to the car and right as I was about to arrive my car comes up behind me! She was trying to pick me up! How sweet!!! She didn't want me to have to go any further than was necessary!! We put our things in the car, I got my chocolate milk, banana and muffin and off we went! Kelly needed to be home ASAP to go to LA with her hubby.
All the way home we chatted about our accomplishment. I am VERY proud of Kelly for knowing her limits and not being afraid to take care of herself. That is such an important thing. She is doing much better now and sometimes these things happen so we learn lessons. We need to make sure we are getting enough nutrients in during those really long runs. Eating well and hydrating the night before is essential. Sometimes, when you are trying to lose weight - training doesn't always help the cause. You need to be eating adequately and cutting calories can impact your performance. Finding balance can be tough but this run definitely taught us about ourselves, what we are capable of and what we need to do next time to avoid the same outcome!