Monday, August 9, 2010

Last long run...18.75 miles

We had been referring to it as the "18 miler", when it was, in fact, 30k - which is more than 18 miles. This was our last long run before Ironman. This was also the benchmark run for Vancouver Fit, our marathon training group. It was nice to have a group of people to run with. It was even better to have volunteers out on the course and water/bathroom stations!

I love the group of coaches and members at Vancouver Fit. Trevor, Doug and I ran this one, others had run the day before and volunteered to work the course. What a blessing those people are. Really, a blessing.

It was an early start. 6 am, which meant we needed to leave home well before that. I hit snooze a few too many times and at one point Trevor said "we have to leave no later than 5:45". We left the house at 5:56. We were a little late, but honestly I was proud that we even made it. In case I hadn't made it clear yet...we are exhausted.

My group left, I hit the restroom, got myself together and off I went. It is funny how desensitized I have become to these long distances. I wasn't nervous about this run at all, it was just another day. I didn't think about what a long day it would be, I just started running.

We did a little out and back and so I got to see Trevor and Doug and all my other running and walking friends at some point. I love that. 6 miles down. yay. I stopped to use the restroom and refill my water. When I started back up, my low back felt a little tight. I was very concerned that my back was going to start giving me a problem that would turn into spasms and a bigger issue. I thought good thoughts and believed it wouldn't.

Because I am so exhausted, I was really having a tough time engaging with other runners. Some wanted to talk and I really just didn't have it in me. I wanted to be alone with my thoughts. Awful, I know. I tried to give encouragement where I could, but really it was all I could do to stand myself for 3 and a half hours of running!!

The thing that kept me going was all my friends on the route. I kept wondering who I would see next. Who would be at the next corner directing us? Who would be at the next water station. I have my favorites and I couldn't wait to see them. Familiar faces make things like this easier.

I was having a hard time around mile 12 and up ahead I see my friend Greg. This made me smile and feel happy because I knew what was coming. He was cheering everyone on, but as soon as he saw me he yelled "SWEATY!!!!" That is what he calls me....because....I sweat alot. He does too, so its okay. But its funny to me that he always yells that in a group of people and I love it. I gave him a big sweaty hug, he gave me some words of encouragement and I kept on going.

I saw Carrie, out there for the longest run of her life. She was with Jo - I wish I had been on time today so I could have run with them. I love to run with Jo. She is a powerhouse. Carrie always makes the time pass quickly! I saw my Angel - I ran with her for a bit, then saw her later on. She always says how I inspire her. I love that. She is awesome.

I saw the rest of the crew too, everyone that I love and that really made the time go faster. Countless others who cheered for me when they saw me, gave me water, took my picture, made me laugh and helped me keep moving.

As we were approaching mile 16, I saw Pete. I was at the low point of my run and I got happy when I saw him. Then he said to me "what? Are you training for an Ironman or something?" That was all I needed to hear to get me through the next 3 miles. Thanks Pete. I needed that.

I finally made it across the finish line and was so happy to be done. I did a quick check of my body to make sure all my parts felt okay. My back was a little tight, but I didn't think it would be an issue. My legs were tired, but overall, I felt good.

I said to Doug and Trevor "the next time we run this far, we'll be at Ironman". Doug quickly replied "and we will have swam far, biked really far and still have 7 more miles to go". Shut up Doug!

I wish that all my friends could be at Ironman with me. I wish they could be stationed in boats along the swim, yelling encouragement to me. I wish they could be out there on the bike, handing me water and I really wish they could be there on the run telling me how proud they are, how much they love me and how I am going to do it. I know that I will envison them with that day. They are such a part of my life, they have been such a part of our training. I don't think they realize what they have meant to me, how fortunate I feel to have them on my side. I know I will carry them with me every stroke, pedal and step of the way. They sure did today.

Long swim - done, long run - done. Long bike ride comes tomorrow....

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