Sunday, October 2, 2011

18 miles. This run will not defeat me.

I’m back in the blogosphere, at last. More on that later…

In 5 weeks, I’m running the New York City Marathon. My training has not been as productive as I had hoped, but I’m racking up the mileage.

Today I ran 18 miles. And it was one of the toughest runs I’ve ever done. Not because of the distance or the hills, which were numerous, but because of everything else.

Two weeks ago, I got a new pair of ear buds – yurbuds. And they are awesome. Can’t imagine running without them.

Yesterday I broke them. Pulled the left ear cord right out of the joiner thingy. So I had to run with a not so good pair.

Yesterday I let my four year old son play with my iphone. Big mistake. He somehow managed to mess up my playlists and as I started my run, my iphone would only play 1 song repeatedly. I figured there was an easy way to fix it, but I sure as heck couldn’t find it. After listening to the same song for 20 minutes, I was ready to scream.

So I called my all-things-technical husband. He didn’t answer my 2 calls on his cell. Then he didn’t answer my two calls home. I was mad. Even Lady Gaga, over and over again, wasn’t making me happy.

Then I hit the Big Hill. And it was only mile 3. It is a huge hill. Why I planned to run it at the beginning of my 18 miler, I don’t know. I walked up. Tried to run down, but my knees were killing me, so I walked down.

I was running a new route this morning, and I had mapped it out before I left. But I couldn’t remember if I had to turn left at mile 5, or the next left a half mile up. I opted for the second left.

Mile 6, hubby finally calls back, but isn’t sure of a fix of the phone, so he advised me to listen to Pandora. Ok, I can do that.

I made the correct left and headed down “Shades of Death” Road. Yes, it’s really called “Shades of Death” Road. It’s a beautiful rural road with quite a history, ranging from murderous bandits, malaria carrying mosquitoes, ghosts and husband-killing wives.

As soon as I headed down the road, the mosquitoes attacked. I must have gotten bitten almost a dozen times in a matter of minutes. Hope they weren’t carrying malaria.

Then my blood sugar started to drop. Seriously drop. This happens to me if I don’t eat enough protein. I get shaky and disoriented. And today it came on fast. So I had to call my husband for help as I wasn’t carrying the right food with me. He wanted to know which way to come – should I go Allamuchy or should I go Great Meadows?

I don’t care, just get the f*%# here.

I passed by some fields and nearly got run over by a tractor turning in front of me.

I passed under an overpass. On the side of the road, a dead mommy deer with her dead baby deer. Baby was missing its head. Oh. My. God. I was on Shades of Death Road, after all.

Almost at mile 9, not even half way home. All I wanted to do was collapse on the side of the road in a flood of tears.

Hubby showed up with 3 kids in the minivan, protein bar in hand. Thank you. Thank you.

My eldest son asked if I wanted them to give me a ride home. That’s when it hit me.

I am not letting this road, these hills and all the other stuff beat me.

This run will not defeat me.

As I watched the van drive off, with its pink 13.1 and 26.2 magnets fading in the distance, I decided to hit the reset button. Time to start again. I was half way home. I could turn this around.

But boy was I dead. I was a more than a half hour off my goal.

But I kept going.

My body and mind kept telling me to quit.

But I kept going. My heart told me to keep going.

I walked the big hills. I couldn’t run them. But I kept going forward.

Mile 10, 11, 12, 13 passed by. Painfully, slowly. But they passed by.

Then an ambulance approached me, lights flashing. I actually seriously thought that some kind driver passing me on the road had called 911, reporting that a 40-something woman was staggering on the side of the road. But it passed me by.

Mile 14. I was running up a hill, distracting myself as much as possible from the pain in my legs and the emotional noise in my head with music screaming from my phone. As I moved my right arm back, my hand hit something furry. And that something furry licked my hand.

Now I live in bear country. I see a few each year. And I was running, alone, in bear country.

So I screamed. I screamed very loudly, thinking I had just punched a bear in the face as it came up behind me.

But no, it was a very friendly lab. A dog that I didn’t hear or see coming up behind me because I was too absorbed in my pain. Don’t worry, shouted the guy in the yard I was passing, he’s harmless.

Yeah, thanks buddy.

Mile 16. I was getting close to home. But close to home meant that everything was pretty much uphill from here. I needed Lady Gaga more than ever. So at mile 16.5, my iphone died. No more music. Great. Now I had to listen to myself puffing and panting as I limped forward.

Then I tuned out. And headed home. My driveway was in sight…I checked my Garmin, which told me that I was at 17.75 miles. I had to do 18, and I wasn’t going to skimp out on the last .25 mile. No way. Not after the run from hell. I was going all the way.

So I ran up and down my drive until the number 18 glowed on my wrist.

The run hadn’t beaten me. It came close, but I was home.

18 miles, check. I know there’s all sorts of emotional analysis I could do, but I’m too darn tired.

Can’t wait for 19 next week.

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