Monday, August 24, 2009

I underestimated

So I am starting week 10 of my marathon training. I knew the marathon itself would be hard, but I completely underestimated how hard the actual training would be. I will be training for 4 months. School starts this week, so that will make training even harder. Currently, I am running 40 miles a week and running 5 times a week. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I usually have to do 8 miles and it's speed work. Those days are KILLING me! It's going to be tricky to try to fit in running 8 miles before my morning meetings on those days. I'll probably have to run them after school and I don't do well running with food in the belly. I will give myself props though for my long run on Saturday. Lately, I've been having to break my long run into parts so I was nervous having to do 16 miles straight. Last Thursday while running my 8 miler, I was dying and had to take at least 5 walk breaks. I think it was the time of day and running outside. On Saturday, I made sure to wake up early and the weather was great. Proudly, I was able to run all 16 miles without stopping! They were slow miles, but I kept saying to myself, "Slow and steady wins the race." I am the tortoise!

Another thing I underestimated when signing up was how hard a relay race would be. On August 14-15 I was part of a 12 person team to share the running responsibilities to cover almost 190 miles. How it works is, the 12 people are split into two vans of 6. The first van runs the first 6 legs while the 2nd van waits at an exchange area. Then the first van of people get to go eat, stretch, and rest while the van 2 runners go their 6 legs. You run 3 different legs over 2 days. Our race started on top of a mountain In Washington state at 7 am. I had to get up at 4:30 am to meet my team! Ouch!!! Our first runner got to participate in one of the races many contests: the wild wig contest. She had on a purple mullet wig with small little lights on the ends of the hairs. The second runner was in the wildest costume contest. Since our teams name was Team Roadkill, she placed a plastic bag over her that had stuffed animals with their stuffing hanging out of them all over it! I was runner #4 so I ran my first leg around 9:00 AM. My first leg was 6.1 miles. I had a sore tush from jet skiing the previous weekend so it hurt to run. The weather was not normal for August. It was actually a bit cold, windy, and we even got rained on. Not ideal summer weather, but with a van full of sweaty runners the cool weather was awesome!

We ate a light lunch at Subway before driving to wait at our exchange area. Normally, we'd walk around, lay out and stretch at this point. But it starting raining big time, so we all sat and waited in the van. Now running at race speed and then sitting for hours is not so great on the muscles. We all were stiffening up pretty quickly! I brought my marathon stick to try and roll out my muscles, especially the tush! When my 2nd leg came it was about 5:30 and it was getting stormy. The wind was blowing and then it started to rain on me. I didn't even realize I hurt myself, but when I finished running my 5.3 miles I had blood on the toe of my shoe. I guess the combo of bad socks and the rain caused a bit of blistering. When we all ran our 2nd time, we went for dinner this time at Applebees. I could have fallen asleep right there on the table. It was about 8:30 at night and I was ready for bed. We drove to our next exchange point where we were supposed to be able to roll out our sleeping bags to get a few hours sleep before our next run. The exchange point was at an amusement park. They said we could lay our sleeping bags out under their pavilions, on top of the picnic tables or on the cement and they were lighted. Since that didn't appeal to any of us we tried to sleep in the van. All 6 of us. Needless to say, none of us could sleep. We walked around a bit and waited for our next exchange. This was the best one yet. When our 2nd van came in our team all got to ride on a roller coaster as part of the race! It was 12:45 am, pitch black out, and foggy. I loved it. I loved it so much, I rode on it twice and held my hands up the whole time! After the roller coaster it was our vans final legs of running. It was now about 1:00 am. We were running on back country roads now in north Idaho. Now those of you not from around here, north Idaho is notorious for having a large hate ground compound called the Aryan Nations. Being a black woman, I cant' tell you how thrilled I was to be running in the middle of the night in this area! Our team decided though to send a rider alongside each of our runners for safety. SO when it was my turn to run at 3:30 am, I had a 6'4 tall white blond male as my rider. He's their kind of people so I felt a little better. My last leg was 5.5 miles. After that, I was supposed to ride 7.1 miles right after but I had a little mix up. When I was done running I had to hop on the bike and get my biking gear situated. Our runner didn't want to wait and he just took off. By the time I got ready, I had to pedal really fast. Finally I got to what I thought was my guy. I was talking to him, I thought he was answering me, it was all fine. Or so I thought. I rode at least a mile behind him when I came up on my van. I asked them what they were doing. They said they were pulling me off the bike, that our runner was way ahead of me and he was fine. I was confused. I told them that's not right I was with our runner the whole time. They said I was with a runner, but not OUR runner. I was a little delusional at 4:15 am I guess! After that leg I was out. I crashed out in the van, skipped breakfast to sleep even longer int he van. We got to our destination city where all of my team finally got to lay on some grass to get a few hours of sleep. They were giving mini massages 15 minutes for $15. Totally worth it! I was so sore!!! At one point, my reflex was almost to punch the guy because he hit a sore spot. But I did not. Then I set out to find COFFEE! I hadn't had any in 2 days!! I was dying. Our team ended up finishing in 29 hours. I slept a little bit more on the ride home. I probably got 3 hours total. When I got home I was done, I could hardly walk, hardly eat, and was so tired. It was a great experience, but boy did I underestimate it!


carla said...


Im really impressed and appreciate you sharing the story.

and for some reason now Im inexplicably interested in trying a relay. it seems like the perfect running thing for ME as running seems like such a solo endeavor at times.

hope you are (no longer sore and) still walking on air...


Anonymous said...

You got lots going on. The relay sounds like a great experience and hard too. Hang in there with the marathon training, you'll be able to fit it all in.

purple_moonflower123 said...

OMG! That sounds like an intense and tiring experience. You did it though! That's great.

As for Northern Idaho(only been as far as Moscow because we were visiting a friend in Pullman), I've heard about the whole compound there...not my idea place to be hanging either.

Congrats on getting 16 miles in for your marathon training! You go girl!

TB--Milwaukee said...

Good luck!!!

I am not a runner and will never pretend to be.

Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

Holy WOW!! That sounds like pain wrapped in tired served with a side of fear.. But a Roller Coaster in the middle, hey that is pretty cool Way to stick it out...and I am glad you had the TALL body guard..

FYI Pearl Izumi short Giveaway on my Blog if you are interested. I am trying to get to 200 comments, so I am doing some light recruiting :)

Have a great weekend...

Kate said...

I completely underestimated marathon training. I signed up for a marathon in april, and started training, only to hurt my foot soon after, so I never got very far, but it is oh so time consuming...especially for a slow runner like me!

L. said...

Wow! that sounds intense! good for you and good luck with the marathon!