Holy crap, what an end to a crazy weekend. The rest of our marathon training group did this last benchmark before the marathon on Saturday. Many of the other coaches did it yesterday. Since we had plans for both days, today was the day for us. I took a vacation day to run this - how sick is that? Maybe I should have taken a sick day!
Another coach Trish was set to join us. I was surprised that yet another coach, Jo, joined us for the first part of the run. She just did a marathon last weekend!
We met at our store at 7 am, all a little nervous, but ready to go.
I had planned the route - it was two 10.5 (give or take) loops. I'll admit, it was a hilly route. Seriously hilly. What was I thinking??
We started out our route, all 4 of us together. Jo was going to run the first loop with us and then go to work. Trevor is faster than us, so he was going to run ahead on his own. I felt badly, 21 miles is a long way to go alone. He stayed with us for the first three miles or so. We were on a path where lots of other people run. Some man, we didn't know, was running with us and Trevor started to talk to him. He ran with us for a bit and we told him what we were doing. He said that he had never run more than 9 miles. We kept trying to convince him to go the full distance with us. He and Trevor kept talking and started to pull away from us. I was hoping he would go far with Trevor, so he wasn't alone.
Around mile 5, we made the turn to the first hill. And it is a doozie. We got up it this first time without issue. The three of us, me, Trish and Jo, were all together, enjoying the day. A car passed us and honked and waved. It was Karrie, one of the members of our training group and yelled out that we were crazy. Well, duh!!!
Earlier in the morning, Trevor and I had stopped and dropped some gallons of water at a corner as a water stop. That was about mile 7. Very welcome! Then it was down hill, another turn and another big hill. I do love that hill. I run it often and I always enjoy it. Today was no different.
We made our way back to the store, finished up the first route and said good-bye to Jo. I kind of wished I was going with her, but wished more that she was coming with us!!
Trish and I kept on moving. We got down to the path and stopped to fill our water in the fountain and use the restrooms. Trish squirted me with some water and I told her I wanted her to do that for the next hour and a half. There was another woman there, on her bike, and she said, "If you guys run for an hour and a half, you're crazy". Trish and I looked at each other and laughed, I said to her "we've been going now for two hours and twenty minutes, and have another hour and a half to go...so, yes, we ARE crazy".
We kept on going! Earlier, around mile 9, my right leg had been bothering me. That happens sometimes. If its going to hurt, it always starts around then. Usually, I only have one or two miles left, this time, I had 12 miles left! I pushed it out of my mind, but by mile 14 I was feeling it. I stopped every now and then to stretch and that would help.
We made the turn to go up that big hill and it actually felt better on my leg to do that. I ran the entire hill. Once it flattened out, my leg was very unhappy. I just kept going. What else can you do?
By the time we got to the water stop, I was needing it. The sun had come out and it was HOT! Downhill, then up hill. Remember....my favorite hill. Walked part of it. Ugh. 1.5 miles left. I knew it was almost done and just tried to enjoy it all. As silly as that may sound.
I got to the top of the hill and Trish yelled to me - she was over to the left and there was a car pulled over. It was our friend DOUG!! He had come to check on us!! That was the best pick me up! However, after stopping for 5 minutes to talk to him, I was more stiff and we still had miles to go!!
I did a little walk/run/walk/run for the rest of the way. Trish was a bit in front of me. We were almost back to the store, Trish turned around and came back to get me, she said "I started with you, I'll finish with you". I loved that.
So we finished our 21 miles. Sweaty, stinky, sore, hungry and proud.
One of the other coaches commented that now our entire running family was ready for the marathon. What a great way to put it. Over the last five months, we have been able to get to know the most amazing people. All crazy in their own ways. So funny, caring, thoughtful. Just good people. We are better people because of them. We are at home with their insane-ness. The best part is that everyone thinks the others are the crazy ones. When the truth is...we are ALL crazy.
21 miles - 4 hours. I even made finishers medals!!
After we were done, we stopped at Target to get a latte from the Starbucks. In the parking lot, we ran into Ike, one of the other coaches!!! It was such a great day. Four hours of running. Wow. Marathon, here we come!!