Monday, March 31, 2008

Soggy, Hilly 20-miler

Yesterday was our scheduled 20-miler, we have been doing most of our long runs on Saturday but with the Spring Fling we changed it to Sunday. The route and time was chosen by Vicki, apparently this particular route is a popular one when you are training for a hilly marathon. Unfortunately Vicki was not able to make it yesterday.

We knew it was going to be rainy, the weatherman had been warning us for days and he didn't dissapoint us. I woke up several times in the wee hours of the morning and would hear it rain, I would think good maybe it will rain now and then be over with by the time we start. So much for wishful thinking!!!

We met Bailey at Team 1 and then we all headed to the "old Austin meat packing plant" located right off of the Austin Exit. I have heard stories about this route and I was nervous, but I did do a lot of hilly runs with Cheryl while we were training for the LR Marathon.

On the way over Brenda called me, she said that Curtis had driven up twice and kept leaving, the first time he drove right up to her Honda but then backed out and left, the second time Cindy was standing outside and he still left. I didnt' have Curtis's # but Brenda had a Cruiser list and was going to call him.
Turns out it wasn't Curtis (poor thing couldn't come he was sick) it was Gary and he say's that he thought there were people in the Honda CRV making out.. he thought maybe the meat plant parking lot was some sort of Lover's Lane. It was hilarious to hear him describe it!!!! LOL

Originally Bailey and Jackie were going to trade off running and driving the support van... well with the rain neither one of them ended up running and I don't blame them one bit!!!! I can't even tell you how much of a difference it made to us yesterday having them "support"/"crew" for us.

As we were all standing out in the drizzling rain getting ready to get started we heard Thunder... oh great... but no lightening so that was good.
We all started out together but it didn't take long for Cindy and Brenda to dissapear from sight. The first couple of hills were fine but they were just one after another, I actually slowed down and started to walk on one of them but Michele and Gary pulled/pushed me up that hill!! It was nice having Gary with us for the first 4 miles, he is always so funny.
I had talked to Michele the day before and our plan was to try to run 10:30 - 10:45 miles, our thinking was that if we ran that pace and then had water breaks we would have an 11:15 pace more or less. We were both very adamant about the fact that we were going to run slow!!! I have made the mistake so many times of going out to fast and then ending up walking a lot at the end and I didn't want that. Of course it NEVER works out the way I plan....I didn't have my new Garmin set up properly so I didn't get mile splits but I know the first 10 were all under 11:00 miles.

The rain and the hills on this run were just relentless, everynow and then the rain would slow down to a drizzle and we would think oh yes maybe it's going to end and then a few minutes later it would just pourdown. We were soaked within a couple of miles, but we had on our dri-fit stuff so it wasn't too miserable. There were lot's of low spots on the road that would be flooded at first we would try to jump across or go slow through them but eventually it just didnt' matter.
About 5 miles into the run my stomach started acting up, I had been worried this might happen and thankfully I had followed Vicki's advice and I had put some toilet paper in a plastic baggie and brought it along. The shirt I was wearing had a nice big zippered pocket in the back. It had gotten to the point where I was having to stop in the middle of the road and cross my legs, much longer and I was going to have an accident. We were out in the middle of nowhere, no gas stations, fast food or anyplace that would have a bathrrom. I started scoping out the side of the road there were plenty of woods but with all of the mudd how as I going to get to them???? I could see just ahead a road and was thinking maybe I could get to the woods from there, I also saw a tractor and thought about going behind it but I would have been visible to passing cars. I found a tree squatted behind it and took care of business. It was my first experience of having to use the woods/side of the road as a runner. It was embarassing but having an accident in my shorts would have been worse. Once that was taken care of I felt great and thought that would be the end of it. Soon after that it started thundering again and this time there was lightening as well. Jackie had just driven past us when the lightening flashed, we jumped in the van for about .5 of a mile and then decided it would be safe to continue on. This caught us back up with Arland and we ran with him until we crossed over HWY 5.
Just as we were getting ready to cross over HWY 5 we say Robert drop Kelly off. A scheduling problem with Church caused her to miss the first 7.5 miles of the run. It was great to see her, but I also cautioned Michele that we needed to be careful, she had fresh legs and it would be easy for us to run too fast... not that we hadn't already been doing that anyway!! LOL
When we finally got to Indian Head Lake we passed Brenda and Cindy as they were finishing the loop around the lake. It was really great to see them, although we were jealous they were running prety fast and they looked like it was just a nice easy stroll!!! LOL
I had to take my second poop break at the lake, luckily the bathrooms were open, they were really gross and nasty but at least I had privacy!!
It was really pouring on us at the Lake and there was lot's of flooding, we had to wade through some pretty deep water a couple of times.
As we were leaving the lake a women popped her head out of her door and started yelling at us that we were CRAZY!!! But she was laughing and seemed to be getting a big kick out of seeing all these crazy people running in the rain. I loved Michele's retort she said "I've burned 1,000 calories I'll have a side of fries with my crazy" so then of course we all started talking about food!!!
That lady wasn't the only one who thought we were crazy, so did all the donkey's, horses, and cows that we passed along the way. It was hilarious the way they would look at us with their heads cocked to the side like what are these humans doing!

Bailey and Jackie did such a great job of taking care of us, we never went too long without seeing them, sometimes they would just drive by hand us our water bottles and then take off, other times they stopped and we would eat peanut butter crackers, pretzels, GU's whatever we needed they had it. It was so nice to not have to wear our hydration belts!!!!!!!!! It was hard enough with our clothes soaking wet weighing a ton, the hydrantion belt would have been unbearable! They were also great cheer- leaders, they would tell us how great we looked etc. Even if you don't believe it at the time it is great to hear and really helps to keep you going mentally.

Speaking of wet clothes... I was wearing my pink Nike skirt with compression shorts on underneath, well the skirt is too big, add the rain and I spent most of the second half of the run connstantly pulling my skirt up... eventually Kelly also had the same problem. Kelly and I had it easy compared to Michele, she had worn running pants and by the end of the run they were completely soaked... Jackie kept trying to get her to wear her running shorts but Michele was afraid she would get too cold so she kept her pants on, I know those things had to have added 10 pounds, not to mention the chaffing issues.

Just before we got back to HWY 5 my stomach thing hit again this time it was very sudden and I really thought i was going to embarass myself in front of everyone.. instead it calmed down and I thought everything was ok, that is until I saw the van head across HWY 5, it was then that it kicked in again and I knew I was in trouble. We were about .3 of a mile from a gas station, but it meant running on HWY 5 which is very scary, it's kind of like running along a major interstate the way people fly when they are driving... but I didn't have any choice. Michele went with me and Arland and Kelly went on to find the van and ask them to go pick me up. It was very embarassing to walk into that gas station, I was soaked and water was just pouring off of me but I didn't have any choice. My shoes were squeaking when I walked and I was leaving huge puddles behind, but oh my thank goodness for that bathroom!!! Luckily that was the last time!

The hills on the way back were just as big and relentless as on the way out, after each one you would think ok I think that's it and then nope there is another one. We did have one really nice long downhill, I yelled out to Michele and asked if it reminded her of when we ran Kavanaugh. This route was definately as hilly probably even more so than the Rahling Rd. route and the Kavanaugh route that we ran during the Little Rock Marathon training runs.

Poor Arland had been running by himself for a good part of the run and I was starting to feel bad that he was alone so I decided somewhere around the last 5 miles that I was going to finish with him. I circled back and we ran the rest of the way together... he would sing cadence and other silly things to keep us going. The hills had really knocked the stuffing out of him but he kept pushing and I was really proud of him.
We had some really killer hills the last few miles and one was so steep I couldn't even think of running up it, heck just walking it took my breath away!

We caught up with Michele during the last 2 miles and we pretty much stayed together for the last part. Each hill each turn I would think are we there yet??? Finally Arland saw the Trucks and we were all hooping and hollering when we got back to the parking lot. Jackie and Bailey drove in at the same time and they were honking, it was awesome!!!!
Brenda had waited to make sure we all made it... I don't know how long she had to wait on us, but I know it was over 30 minutes maybe even longer.. but I'm so glad she did, I was so happy when I saw her little white CRV was still there.
Ginny had also driven by us during that last mile and was cheering us on... it was great to see her!!!

Kelly's car was parked at her Church about 3.5 miles away and she decided to run to her car to try to make up some mileage. I offered to run with her, but I knew I would slow her down and she said NO. I really hated seeing her running on 367 all alone so we kept circling back to check on her. Hwy 367 has no shoulder and is pretty busy, but she was ok and manged to get in 16.5 miles which was great.

It really was an awesome run, I know that sounds crazy considering the conditions and the course but I wouldn't change a thing. I know if I can run in that I can run anywhere!! It also gave me a little confidence that I can have a good Marathon.

I am so thankful to all of my running friends for making it such a great day!!! I am very blessed!!!

After we got home I took a hot bath.. I know that is supposed to be a big No No, but let me tell you I have felt so good ever since, I am a little sore but nothing like I usually am so I think I did the right thing.
Arland took me to Colton's and I had Steak and Broccoli and then we shared a yummy dessert. It was an awesome day!!!!!


Anonymous said...

Annette - your big smile at the end was WELL WORTH me waiting for you guys. I loved it that everyone had a good run - WOW with that Route, conditions etc. we are ALL READY FOR NASHVILLE - Bring it on!!!!

cheryl said...

I saw the pictures Arland posted of the hills and what can I say, OMG, you should do great in Nashville!