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My Legs as a Ghost Runner

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Let me just begin by saying that there is so much I could write about the Hood To Coast (HTC) and what it’s meant to me over the last few months, but I would be typing for days, and considering typing is my job, I don’t do so much of it when I’m not working.

I know my husband is probably happy that the HTC weekend is over. I’ve done nothing but talk about it for the last couple a weeks. He knew how excited I was. This should explain how much he knew.

Last week I said to him, “Oh no! Robin can’t run the HTC. They have to use an alternate.”

Within an hour, my husband said to me, “I found you a round trip ticket to Oregon, you can leave in the morning.”

Uh, say WHAT??

I didn’t ask him if I could go, he was just willing to send me. He knew I wanted to be there that badly! (I will definitely have to remind him of this next year.)

I had to tell him (rather reluctantly) that they already had an alternate. But, oh boy, let me tell you, I almost risked lying to him just to be there!

So, briefly, what are Ghost Runner’s for HTC? It was a group of people here on Spark that wanted to be at the *real* relay but couldn’t. So when the call was put out that the *real* HTC Spark Team Runner’s wanted a *ghost* to shadow the real runner’s, I signed up in a flash. I was going to run/ghost one of the runners.

My first runner was to be Jackie, but after some juggling, my runner was now Penny.

I found that to be quite ironic as Penny is a running hero of mine. She is totally awesome and she is my main inspiration for running hills (or should I say bridges since we have no hills in Florida.) It was Penny’s a$$ (literally) that got me going. She took this picture for me.

So, anyway, with the excitement of weeks of emails, texting, Spark, FB, etc, the weekend was finally here.

So this is what I looked like right before my first leg.

And this is the route I took.

My first leg started around 2:43pm and was 7.42 miles. I finished in 84:32. There’s not much to say about this run except that it was pretty boring since I really hate the treadmill (or was that DREADmill?)

Unlike the *real* runners, I did get to take a shower when I was finished.

My next run wasn’t until 2:16am. Oh yeah, I had a middle of the night run!

I knew if I went to bed I wasn’t going to get up so I figured I’d just say awake till I was done.

There was a lot going on with the Ghost Team though to keep me busy! Email after email was coming in about other ghost runners and their runs, text from the real runners, text from fellow ghost runners, Facebook and Sparkpage updates, Oh Yes! I stayed busy!

As it started getting later, I was getting tired.

But then, thanks to some texted pictures and a phone call from a fellow ghost runner, I got a second wind!

I must admit, that those pictures will forever be etched in my memory. emoticon

I heard from Penny briefly before my second run. We texted mostly about said pictures that she also received.

Not much later, I received a text from Kate simply stating GO!

My second leg started right around 2:25am or so. On the dreaded treadmill once more. I finished 4.15 miles in 47:48. But something weird happened during this run…My calves started feeling tight. Hum, that was a new one. I stretched them out with no problems and took a shower.

The last I heard from Penny was around 3:00am or so texting Stop! I tried texting her back to find out what she meant but I didn’t hear anything after that. I’m thinking she survived and is still partying!

I got to bed around 5am.

I woke up around 10 the following morning to the WORST feeling I’ve ever felt in my calves before! It felt like I was having double charley horses in both legs. OH MY GOD! That freakin’ hurt! I’d say it took a good half hour to walk them out, stretch, rub, massage, walk, stretch some more, rub some more, deep massage……

They finally felt better and no problems since.

For the next two hours, I looked at the treadmill with dread! I did NOT want to get back on it. It’s not that I didn’t want to run, I just didn’t want to get on THAT treadmill!

I kept looking outside and checking the weather. I was due to run again at 1:30pm or so.
At 1:00 the temp was 87 degrees, with a heat index of 99 degrees, partly cloudy but the humidity was only 70%.

EVERYONE knows I can NOT run in humid weather….YES, Jackie, I am a wimp….LOL

I kept looking at the sky and there were LOTS of clouds and a slight breeze (yeah, right, more on that later…).

I kept looking at the treadmill....going outside...treadmill....outside

I made a decision!!

I was going to run my last leg outside!!

I mean really, it was ONLY 5.35 miles…..I've run 3 half marathons for God's sake, how bad can it be to run 5.35 miles outside??

5.35 miles of pure hell would be more like it! I mean it was seriously hot.
But I digress….

Since no one had heard from any of the real runners in hours, I decided to start my run at the appointed time…..1:13pm.

And here I go! Notice that there really ARE clouds in the sky!
However, the clouds were only where the sun wasn’t! I don’t think there was a break in the sunshine my entire run! That shadow of mine also ran with me the entire time!

This is the first trail I went down. Take note of how the clouds are starting to break up. This was the one and only time I got a little break from the sun. It lasted all of about 30 seconds.

I ran for about 3/4 of a mile when I realized I might have made a big mistake. The walk breaks finally started here and I was doing 3:1 intervals.

Same trail as above but I still have about a half mile to the end.

By the time I finished this road, 1.5 miles, I knew I was in trouble. I couldn’t get my HR to stay down past 180.

I live in a community called Vero Lake Estates and this is one of the lakes. There are about 8 total.

It took all my willpower NOT to jump in!!

This is the trail that could be either long or short depending on which route I took. If I took the shorter route, I would have only ran 4.2 miles and since get 5.35 miles, I opted for the longer route.

Yet another mistake on my part.

I was running INTO the wind! And one would think that the wind would feel good….NOT SO!

It was a HOT wind, in fact, it was stifling hot.
And hard to run through.

My intervals are now at 2.5:1. And my HR wouldn’t go down past 150 during the walking part so once I started running, it climbed rather quickly.

Once again, notice the clouds breaking up and not a shady spot in sight on the trail.
To the right of the road is a drainage ditch with a deep drop off….I wanted to just….Ah well, let’s not go there!

Do I look like I’m dying? I know, not a good picture but eh, why not share my torture??

I’m parched! But because I only took 16 ounces of water, which normally last me 6 miles, I had to conserve my supply! I still have over 3 miles to run!

The above trail used to be my most favorite! Whenever I ran it, there was nothing but shade for the entire 1.75 miles. I had many Reflective Runs on this road. I’ve solved many problems there. I used to call it the Trail of Tranquility.

Henceforth, it is now known as the TRAIL OF TERROR!

Penny and I had a conversation going on in my head on this trail….Sorry I can’t repeat it, but the conversation ended with:

“I’m going to finish this damn run if it kills me just for you Penny!!”

Note the clouds, or lack of them.
By now, I’m doing 1:2 intervals, barely running 1 minute and walking for 2….HR just will NOT drop!

I think it was this road that I started feeling a little dizzy and wondered if I would make it home. I seriously considered calling my husband to pick me up but then remembered he was at work.

I was having doubts I was going to make it home.

But, for Penny and the whole HTC team, I kept going!


When I got to this trail I though, hum, since the wind was in my face on the other road, it would be at my back on this one.

NOT SO! The wind changed directions and even got a bit stronger!

BUT FINALLY, it was on this trail that I hit 5.35 miles!
I did it in 68:27.
THAT was the slowest I ever ran that distance. I ran faster than that when I first started running!

The story doesn’t end here!

Because of me taking the longer route on that one trail, I STILL HAD TO WALK HOME FOR 3/4 of a mile!!

I barely had any water left and the water I did have was boiling….it was NOT drinkable.

So I poured it over my head…

It was so hot, I got a second degree burn!! (Just kidding but it sure did feel like it at the time.

I made it! I’m home! And I finally found some shade!!
I check the weather and it was 95 degrees with a heat index of 103 with 65% humidity and it was still partly cloudy (Yeah, right!)

It took me a few minutes but I finally got up, went inside the house, got some chocolate milk, and hit the ICE COLD SHOWER!! I was in there for I think almost 45 minutes!

I would have taken an ICE BATH but the ice would have melted immediately upon hitting my skin….I was that hot! (and I didn’t have any ice)

I was going to treat myself to a Dairy Queen Blizzard after I got back to normal but I sat down on the couch and that was the last thing I remembered. I passed out.

So, now we know, not only can’t I run in the humidity but I can’t run in the heat either!!

Jackie, I will wear my WIMP status proudly!!

What did I learn from this??

That I would do it all again for Penny and the rest of the HTC team….I love them that much!


I will do it on the treadmill….

The treadmill is my friend!

Life IS Good!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    This is an awesome post. I felt so much energy and excitement in it. The pictures were also great! They were a great addition to the post. You have some serious heart and determination! Keep it up! Here is to all the ghost runners and the HTC teams! Great job! Woohoo!!!
    2584 days ago
  • JSOL170
    You sure are a great friend to your HTC team-mates. I have never heard of the ghost running... how fun!

    That was an awesome race report with all the photos. I really enjoyed the last one.

    2584 days ago
    I am with you about running in the heat ALL THE WAY! (stupid MS!)

    But the weather cooperated and I got to run all 3 of my ghost legs outdoors here in PA!

    I'm sure all of our spouses are glad HTC. LOL (except maybe Bobby & Anne;-)

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2584 days ago
  • BOBBYD31
    LOL suezette or maybe new nickname the wimp. no seriously you did great, it takes alot to keep going when all you want to do is quit, your a strong woman. felt like i was on the run with you as i sit here in my AC set at 75(think i need a blanket)
    proud of you finishing the way you did. we are.....ghosts!
    little tip if you start running outside in the spring and run thru summer you will probably get used to the temps at least that is what they say
    2584 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2584 days ago
    Wow, what an adventure! Sorry to hear that your time on the trail of tranquility/terror was so rough. 103 heat index - YUCK!

    You are amazing - congrats on being part of the HTC ghost runners!
    2584 days ago
    ...and here I am fearing temps in the low are truly amazing...great job!
    2584 days ago
    Wow. You really pushed through that - Good job!
    2584 days ago
    Hahahaha Suezette - my hubby agrees with you that your hubby will be happy the HTC weekend is over. But I would definitely have lied and taken the ticket. What a sweetheart your hubby is to do that for you.

    Great job on comleting that run. And you definitely deserve that Blizzard - hope you went out today and got one.
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2584 days ago
  • MONTY68
    What a blog and what an awesome runner you are. I was amazed as I read what you wrote. It really is hard to believe that you could do that. You pictures are great. I think my body ached for you. You have one of the most positive attitudes I have ever seen. If there was a reason I had some kind of team and had to pick someone ,it would be you.
    Now I am a little clearer of what you were doing.
    Thank you for sharing .

    Monty emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2584 days ago
    Ahhh are an amazing woman! I HATE running in the heat too! And we live in PA! But you did it and you finished. Way to go girl! Great pictures too....speaking of pictures.... emoticon ...he,he,he
    2584 days ago
    Suezett, I'm so proud of you. You did it!!! You pushed through the pain, heat and humidity to get the job done. I would love to be able to run but I think I will just run vicariously through you LOL.
    2584 days ago
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