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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
    WOW Iron woman! Just to get up in the middle of the night, I am in awe!! You really rock!!
    2840 days ago
  • VICKI1215
    Loved reading about your ghost runs! Thanks for sharing! I hear you on the heat and humidity....I'm in SC and have found it hard all summer to get out as much and run. You did a great job!
    2847 days ago
    Rock Star!!!!!!!!!
    2847 days ago
    2849 days ago
    You are a ROCK STAR! Wow, you are like the energizer bunny - you just keep going and going! emoticon
    2850 days ago
    Regardless of the heat, you did great!!! I love the idea of being a ghost runner. How cool!
    2850 days ago
    what a great thing to do!!! congrats!!! I am thinking of moving to FL but we won't be there until the winter THANK gooodness!!! I am not looking to excerise the first summer.
    2850 days ago
    I loved reading this thanks for sharing. It has been so hot here and in the middle of the day you go girl. What a great ghost you are !!!
    2850 days ago
    WOW! What a blog!!!!! Great job!
    2850 days ago
    Suezette, I am in AWE of you! What a fantastic ghost you turned out to be! Your last leg was killer and I know that you gave some of your energy to Penny, 'cause that girlie was haulin' a$$ for her last leg! Hope your calf is 100% now. And give your DH a big hug from me for his willingness to send you out here for HTC! Next year......
    2851 days ago
    Come to Victoria, BC 10-10-10? 1/2 marathon? Please? Trish, Mike, Kim, Nancy & I will be there and I'm SURE there are more... please Mr. Suezette, please let her come, too!!!
    2851 days ago
  • AUNTIE65
    What a great blog Suzette! It was fun cheering you all on and keeping up during the race on FB!

    Way to go!!!
    2851 days ago
    That is so emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2851 days ago
  • JUNEAU2010
    I admire you so much! Wimp or no, amazing! I am still at the walking stage of fitness. I hope to start running...some day...
    2851 days ago
    Suzette you know that there is no cold water in Florida at this time of year just hot and hotter. But when you come in from the heat it does feel like it is cooler but it is still warm. Congrats on the run too. Enjoy your ice cream you earned it. emoticon
    2851 days ago
  • MARIE625
    Great blog! If Florida feels anything like VA has felt lately, I'm proud of you for surviving that last leg. And please, tell me that wasn't a gator in the 2nd lake picture.

    But hey - you mentioned Vero. Are you in Vero? My MIL has a place there - can't remember what her subdivision is called but it's on 12th street a few blocks off the coast. The kids go down to visit her a couple of times a year and I always stay home, but maybe next time......
    2851 days ago
    Wow Suzette---loved reading every word of this....amazing!!!! I think they will have to have a couple more teams next year......

    Congrats on a great weekend!!!
    2851 days ago
  • DANGEL117
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    To me that sounds totally insane, but I'm not a runner! Sounds like you did beyond your best, and your on heck of a woman for it!
    2851 days ago
    I wonder if your 2nd leg calf incident was the same time we heard a scream from the back seat. Poor Penny had a terrible cramp. Maybe you two had a vicarious moment. Can't believe you ran in that weather, you are a real trooper!
    2851 days ago
    emoticon runner can travel. Great Job.
    2851 days ago
    You are FRIGGIN HYSTERICAL!!!!!!!

    How cool to be a ghost runner..(now I finally know what it IS) lol

    I love all the pics - and indeed, felt as if I was there with ya sharing in all the agony!! Great plan if there ever is another ghost running experience coming your way to KEEP IT ON THE DREADMILL!!!!!!! Arrghhhhh!!!

    You are such a total inspiration to me!!

    > emoticon

    2851 days ago
    wimp? Yeah, I don't think so! You pretty much ran in a convection oven - yikes! My water FROZE on my belt once, never too hot to drink - yikes! Congratulations on getting all three legs done - you ROCK and are my new hot-weather hero!
    2851 days ago
  • TIGGER622
    Suez!!! You did great!!! I just did a relay the week before you and I tell you, even without the heat, that third run was TOUGH!!! You did awesome!!! SOOOOO Proud of you!
    2851 days ago
    HAHAHA, what a great blog, Suezette!! Way to power through, I know your "Coastie" appreciated your support!!
    2851 days ago
    You did Awesome!! emoticon
    2851 days ago
    Love your blog! Hope you have recouped a little from the heat! We lucked out-the weather was perfect (okay Nancy may not say that when she was waiting for me in the 44 degree nightime run) You and Penny did awesome!
    Can't wait to see you at WDW! Polly
    2851 days ago
    WOWZERS! I'm proud of you!
    2851 days ago
    emoticon Cos you are one strong lady, I take my hat off to you!
    2851 days ago
    Suezette, I could feel your pain. I also live in Florida and I am a whimp too. I get exhausted running in the heat and humidity. You did a fantastic job and I also wanted to thank you for commenting on my picture. Cynthia
    2851 days ago
    Oh Suezette!! This blog just makes me love you even more emoticon I got a nasty cramp after my second leg, too. Trish massaged it out for me (after she stole my pants). My third leg of HTC was warm but nothing like you had.
    Thanks SO much for being my ghost, I've replayed your voicemail a dozen times now. One of these days we WILL run together. Then you can tell me all about that non-printable conversation we were having in your head. SMOOCHES!!
    2851 days ago
    You make me laugh!!! I had a similar experience on my 8 mile run Saturday (and I ran it between 6:45 and 8:30). I thought I would die before making it home. It is just too hot and humid here. I really hope I do better when the weather cools.

    Anyways, way to go on getting it done! You really do rock.

    emoticon emoticon
    2851 days ago
    One TOUGH COOKIE, Suezette!!!!! You pulled through!!!! :D
    2851 days ago
    You're hilarious Suezette! I knew you had a hard time based on the e-mails but now I REALLY know what you faced on that third leg! I guess I won't compalin about how hot my first and third legs were as Nova Scotia is never as hot as Florida, ever. So glad to have shared this event with you and can't wait to do it in person in Miami! :)
    2851 days ago
    Suzette, your blog was awesome! What an expereince this has been! defintely an expereince I will never forget! Made some wonderful friends and I feel like you ghost runners were there with us. You guys rock. HTC was fun! but you know what it was hard! I mean hard! It is one of the most challenging things I have ever done! I did it and we did it as a team! tema of 12 runners and 17 ghosties!

    thanks for being a ghost and for staying a wake, sleep is the thing during htc that doesn't happen!

    2851 days ago
    Fantastic job and thanks for sharing. I agree, running in the heat and humidity is a killer. I am glad you made it and you are OK.
    2851 days ago
    What a race report, if that's what you would say?!? I think you did fantastic and it sounds like you had a lot of fun!

    2851 days ago

    Shoot, my co-workers must know I'm not working because I was lterally laughing out loud!

    Great Blog.

    emoticon formerly emoticon
    2851 days ago
    WOW Suezette!! What a blog of your experience!! You are SO my running-in-humidity-hero!!! Love it!! emoticon emoticon
    2851 days ago
  • TAMTAM64
    Right now... I can't type... as I am laughing my A$$ off...

    I absolutely just L-O-V-E you!

    2851 days ago
  • GIGI1222
    I loved this blog!!! I am totally with you about the heat and humidity!! I proudly wear my WIMP status.
    2851 days ago
  • ANDREA0301
    Absolute emoticon blog!!!

    Thanks SO much for sharing your experience with us. You continue to inspire me daily.

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2851 days ago
    Loved this blog my fellow ghostie. It was hilarious, especially the tongue picture!
    2851 days ago
    I loved, loved, LOVED reading your ghost report!! I feel like I got to run vicariously through you and be apart of the HTC adventure!! :) Thanks for letting me know you posted this, I hopped right to my computer when I read the message :).

    You ROCK, lady!!

    2851 days ago
    You had me at "hello" & kept me captivated throughout this blog!!! LOL you are SOOOO funny!!! I love love love the pics; the close up & final shot tells it all!!!

    I had that same convo with Kim during my one & only 95 deg run; how is it the temps top out at 7pm?? Must have come from Orlando!! And how is it that even .20 (2/10ths of a mile) remaining can feel like 20 miles!!

    You did an awesome job my fellow Ghostie! You did our team proud :) Think I'd have been tempted to jump in that lake (beautifully scenic b/t/w) at the end of that run afterall!! WELL DONE!
    2851 days ago
    Great job! So proud of you for sticking it out in the horrible weather! Thanks for sharing all your pictures and story!
    2851 days ago
    YEAH! Great blog and pictures. You are one amazing lady moving onward thru that heat. I'm so thankful you're okay! Dedication to the team,you soared thru that!
    You look absolutely fabulous,btw!!!!
    2851 days ago
  • TEDYBEAR2838
    You scare me with that HR not coming down. I hope you are ok out there by yourself and have cell phone etc handy?

    You did good to finish. I'm proud of you!

    2851 days ago
    Suzette, if I ever need a relay partner, it would definitely be you. Your determination is amazing. I don't think I would have been able to handle the heat as well as you did. You are MY running hero! Loved the pictures, too!
    2851 days ago
  • DEE797
    Thanks so much for sharing your blog and pics with us. YOU are emoticon
    2852 days ago
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