Long Runs are just not fun

My first 20 miler before the San Francisco Marathon was yesterday, I haven’t mentioned it because if I dwell on it, I just stress out, it didn’t help, I still had a 20 mile run that was not that great, we did it, but oh heavens, it was hard, I guess they are supposed to be hard or everyone would be doing them, right?

After last weeks disaster, Leah, one of the Little Rock Marathon training people suggested we meet her at 4:45 to run 5 miles prior to the 6:00 am regular start and then run 15 miles, this sounded great to us, run early when it’s not so hot and get done earlier too.  But, this weeks meet spot was the Arkansas Arboretum and the parking lot is closed until 6am, and it’s up close to Pinnacle Mountain, so there is no where else to park, so that plan was nixed.  We met at the 6am normal time, with extra water, hats in case of rain, OFF since we were pretty much in the woods, sports beans, sharkies, Luna Moons, we were set.

This morning we received a treat from Hobbit and Tom Singleton, they had those rubber arm bands made up for the “Crackheads” that show up every Saturday morning and run with them.  The armbands said “Crackhead  – Little Rock Marathon” there were 3 different colors to choose from, Kim grabbed a lime green for me and purple for her, it was sweet, they are very nice people.

Today was an out and back course, we were to run up to Hwy 300, turn around and then run down to Two Rivers park, do both of the 3 mile loops in the park and then return.  Well, probably the first 3 miles are hills and then it’s flat, thank goodness, until we had to come back through.

The first 9 miles weren’t bad, it was very, very humid as usual, I think it was in the 70s when we started, humidity in the 80% range.  We kept a good pace, there was one huge hill that I walked about half of, oh well.  Then we ran the rest of the way to Maumelle Park where there were bathrooms.  We were running with a few people, but after we stopped at the bathroom, we lost sight of everyone, we were on are own.

It was a long way to Two Rivers Park, but thank goodness it was flat, the miles went by pretty quick on the way there, I guess because we had never been on that route and there were new things to see, when we got to the park we had a little over 8 miles, we knew that we needed around 14 before we left the park.  Somewhere in the park I started feeling fatigued, I had this pain in my side, not a side stitch,  but a muscle pain in my abs, it would not go away, it still hurts today, but only when I cough, like a sore muscle.  And then my kneecap was hurting and then my feet started hurting and I was just tired.  If you have ever run, do you get that thought in your head like “will I ever be back in my vehicle driving home?”  I then I would think, no, be positive, nothing comes from being negative.  So I would think only positive thoughts.  But, we were in this park doing this loop and there was nothing, nothing but a field and a paved trail, it was pretty boring, thank God I had Kim with me, I would have just thrown in the towel.

When we left the park we only had around 12.5 miles, we knew we were going to have to make up some miles and knew where we might be able to do so and we headed back.  I love it when you know you are on your way back.  I was really feeling worse though, my pace had slowed tremendously, but I was still moving, we were doing our fuel every 4-5 miles, but it seemed to not be helping much.

Here’s a kicker for you, around mile 14, one of the guys that was doing 14 miles came to check on us to see if we needed anything, if we’d been smart we should have asked if he had any cold water, ours was definitely not cold and I would have loved some COLD water, the sun was beating down on our backs on our way back.  But, we thought it was really thoughtful of him to come check on us.  We were in the middle of nowhere!

I stopped when I saw some blackberries on the side of the road and took 3 or 4, they tasted wonderful, I didn’t want to eat too many I was afraid they would upset my stomach, but the flavor in my mouth was incredible, I can’t describe it, just something different than gummy crap or water.  They were delicious!

There was this house right by the side of the road that was for sale, it looked like it was brand new, it wasn’t 10 feet from the road so we needed mar a walk break anyway and decided to peek in the windows, there was one of those alarm signs in the front yard, but we paid it no mind.  We were looking in the window when all of a sudden we heard this low eeeee and then OOOOOOO and then RRRRRRRR, Kim’s face was priceless, I didn’t know what the noise was, I thought it was an alarm, she thought it was Cujo, and then we heard the rest of the noise, it was a donkey across the street.  We laughed so hard we were bent over.  We needed that little break.

Off again on this long stretch of two lane road, when it was time to turn, we went straight to make up some mileage, I hate making up mileage, you want to get back, but you know you need the mileage too, it sucks!  We finally turned back around and started for the home stretch, we were around mile 15.  We needed to be at mile 18 when we got back to Maumelle Park.

When we got back to Maumelle Park I didn’t know if I could run the rest of the way back, it was only about 2.5 miles, but most of it was hills, I was done, my feet were killing me, I need new shoes and have got to get them this week.  Kim went to use the bathroom and I was too tired to even go to the bathroom so I went into the park office to make sure we were on track for our mileage back to the Arboretum, we were going to be a little short, but there was a road we could use to make it up, damn.  Isn’t it funny how you can’t do simple math after you’ve been running awhile?

We were close and my pace was slow, I was going to make it, but I wasn’t sure how, I could see the hills, but I could remember there were 3 hills and I was thinking to myself, run the downs walk the ups, but I did manage to run halfway up some of the hills and the last hill I had to run up because it’s at the entrance to the Arboretum.

Kim was having a great run and on the last hill I told her to go ahead, I saw her turn into the Arboretum and I heard cheering and clapping, I just smiled, I knew it was Tom, Hobbit, Leah and whoever else was still there waiting on the last of the runners to get back (us).  So I had to run that last hill, there was no way I was walking in, knowing they were there waiting on me.  Up the hill I went and yes I received the same warm welcome, cheering and clapping as I rounded the corner, it was like I had won a race!  A great way to end a 20 mile run!  Tom said we looked fresh, like we had taken a shower, he must need glasses, we were both soaking wet and I’m sure pretty stinky.  There wasn’t a dry spot left on my body!  We thanked them all for waiting and they were genuinely happy to do it, they said they had not been waiting long, some people had run trails and had just recently gotten back.  There were about 6 or 7 people sitting around drinking water and diet cokes having a good runner talking time.

Kim and I stretched, got our own Diet Pepsi and the best frozen washcloths!!  Thank you Kim!  They felt like heaven and they smelled good too.  It was so nice to get my shoes off, my feet felt the relieve immediately.  We then headed to Starbuck’s for a Mocha Light Frappuccino, which cooled us off even more, then some light furniture shopping, we were both so tired we called it a day.

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One Response

  1. You have a lot of drive to do that long of a run in the summer. The humidity saps my motivation.

    Good job on the 20 miler. It doesn’t have to be fun, it just has to be over 🙂 I really envy your running club. It sounds like they are a very supportive bunch.

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