(left): The End.
Ok, so whoever invented this method? Is. A. Genius. Thank you Mr. Galloway!
It was awesome and I kicked butt. (Well, in Jeanne's world, I kicked butt.)
Let's start Friday night. My friend, R., suggested I watch an inspirational movie, which I did: "Touching the Void." (You want ouch? Watch this movie. You have no idea.) Got to bed at 10:30 (little later than I'd hoped, but there was so much to prepare, it was really ridiculous.)
Got to the site at 6 a.m., half hour before I needed to, so I listened to a few tunes in the car (Midnight Oil, and Indigo Girls) til it was time to walk to the site. It was pitch black, the stars were still out. I peed in the bushes (you knew I would). I got up at 4:45 a.m. to do, you know, that other thing, which sadly, did not happen.
All the National AIDS Marathon Training Groups in D.C. (there are four sites, I think) came together for this pretend (ha ha, how many times can I say "pretend" when referring to a real, honest-to-God TWENTY-SIX mile run? We'll see), marathon, which took place outside of D.C., in East Falls Church, on the W &OD trail, which is a converted train track. (For you history buffs, see a Washington Post story about this 45-mile trail.)
My friend, R. God bless her, came to wish me well and see me off. She's responsible for me getting involved in all this nonsense. Thanks R.!!
The trail is long, straight, hilly, largely treeless, hot, hot hot, and not all that interesting, and oh yes, hilly. (Did I mention we've done zero hill workouts? Bad bad bad.)
Ok, here's the short version:
It took me 6 hours and 9 minutes. Which result, since I had planned on seven hours, I am thrilled with.
And even better, did my knee/thigh/calf hurt? They did not. Well, right leg hurt a bit during the first 2-3 miles, and my pace group, which I like to think I have had some small hand in training, kept asking me was I ok. How awesome is that. That, my friends, is the real victory (no, it's not really). Still. Nice. But after three miles? My leg was fine. (I did take ibuprofen beforehand, and then during, so that may have helped, but mostly it was that awesome brace, I think.)
So what did hurt, you ask? Around maybe mile 15, the soles of my feet started hurting. My shoes are ever-so-slightly too big; to compensate I tie my laces super-tight. Oh what a good idea.
We ran 2/walked 2 (minutes, not miles) for a long long long way. This was a training run and speed was most definitely discouraged. Fantastic support! We had tons of AIDS Marathon staff, plus tons of volunteers, riding bikes back and forth (it was a very busy trail), plus aid stops every two miles, and the volunteers all had a different "theme" at each aid station (don't ask me, I can't remember anything except one group wearing giant playing cards). Whatever; it was fun, water, gatorade, food was plentiful.
I hung at the back of our small pace group of seven people for quite awhile, running with W., a 50-ish gal with a few college-aged kids. She was struggling. She'd forgotten her water belt, so had to carry her bottle, plus had a clip on thing for her belt, which had to go on her shorts, since no water belt, and which was pulling her shorts down. Plus newish shoes. Ah, that's three too many things to cope with. Around mile 11 (?) she told me to go ahead, she just couldn't run anymore (my miles are all off, I have no idea what mile it really was.) By then, our pace group was long gone. Then, (oh, i love love love this part!!) I hooked up with a faster group (a minute per mile faster!) and they were doing a run 3/walk 2 ratio, and I hung on with them til I met up with my group again, around mile 14.
So I ran with my group, for oh I dunno, a few DAYS, and then about mile 21, I got my mojo back (which in my delirium, I called MO-HO—I told you, I am a nerd). And I took off (well, took off for me, remember, it's all relative) and left my group behind. They were walking up the hills, I was running up them!!
Look at me!!! I amazed myself. Because by this point, my dogs were a-barking. No, they weren't barking, they were howling and growling.
Around mile 23, I switched back to a 3/2 ratio, and kept it going, despite feet which now felt like they were literally on fire, when lo, suddenly, there was the finale, with a lovely balloon arch, and our coaches giving us medals!! (We all got medals, we are all heroes!!) and the best PB&J sandwiches I have ever had in my entire life.
I was second in my group to come in, the rest got there around 10 minutes later (am I bragging? oh give me my moment!)
I walked around, not out of breath AT ALL (thank you run/walk God!), and my knee still felt fine in its Cho-Pat brace. I literally could not believe how good I felt. Right up until someone suggested I lay down and raise my legs straight up against a tree, which I did, and then: ut-oh.
Imagine someone dousing the soles of your feet with gas and then lighting a match. OR, imagine you are frostbitten and come in to warm up. You know that feeling? Yeah, that, times 2,000. I almost cried, my soles hurt so bad. They were burning, like I didn't think I'd ever walk again, until some other wise person said, uh, maybe your shoes were laced too tight and your feet NEED blood, so put 'em down.
So, unlaced shoes, brought feet down and pain immediately lessened. Got home, took ice bath, took two bags of frozen peas which I attached to the bottom of my feet (necessity ... mother of invention, etc.), and settled down for a short 2-hour nap. Right now, at 11:30 p.m., they are still feeling like they have electric currents flowing thru them. Weird, and disconcerting, and yeah, a little painful. Time for Tylenol P.M.!
Plus, I went to dinner at a friend's house and managed to skip a step on his stairs, landing hard on my right leg. So, right leg is all fubar'd again (look it up, little ones). Am icing it like mad, and will see PT on Monday anyway. And oh yeah (cuz this post isn't long enough), I have an enormous bruise at the top of my right foot. Guess laces were a little tight. It's a big bruise. Large.
Moral #1: BUY NEW SHOES, cuz even though these are just four weeks old, they ain't working.
Moral #2? It was an amazing day, and I am so proud of myself, and right now I'm thinking, like WTF, I have to do this AGAIN in four weeks?? Aiyeeeee.
Here's my favorite shot, next to an aptly named creek bed:
See the sign? "Difficult Run."
Yeah. Coulda been a whole lot worse, though.
I'll stop now.