Monday, August 25, 2008

18 miler

I awoke at 4:30 on Saturday morning to the sound of crashing thunder. "Oh, f***," I thought. It was the day for my 18-mile training run, the longest distance I'd ever gone. The idea that it might be canceled due to lightening (thereby postponing the inevitable) was worse than the idea of actually doing the run. As I slathered Body Glide all over my usual chafing spots, I muttered profanity to the dog about the thunderstorm. He tilted his head from side to side and wondered what the hell I was talking about.

My dad, who is training for a hiking trip in Wyoming, accompanied me to the meeting place and strapped on 40 lbs. of hiking gear. As our coach was making announcements on his bullhorn, he introduced my dad and said "he's a big lightening rod with that backpack on, so stay away from him."

I took off with my usual pace group and witnessed one of the most beautiful sunrises ever. The lightening was still there, but it was far in the distance and no longer a danger to us runners. Gentle raindrops created a refreshing reprieve from the usual heat and humidity we've experienced the past few weeks. The first 5 miles were unnervingly easy, but my confidence was soon shaken when I started having unpredictable spasms in my hip/butt every few steps. I was only at mile 6, and the prospect of having to conquer the 18-mile distance at a later time was something I didn't want to think about. To my great relief, the spasms stopped as abruptly as they began. I chatted with the other people in my group as much as possible, trying to keep my mind off the fact that I was running 18 freaking miles.

A few hours later, when it was all over, I was in a fair amount of pain. I popped a couple Tylenol, had a hot shower, and tried to drink as much water as possible. Just like when I ran 16 miles three weeks earlier, I was feeling mentally out-of-sorts...kind of loopy and emotional. I'm not sure why that happens to me, but it's a side effect I'm not too fond of.

Even though I've gotten used to the fact that I've lost all this weight and can actually run, sometimes it hits me just how nutty it is that I can run long distances. During those awful fitness tests in high school, I couldn't run even half a mile without stopping to cough and wheeze. Now I know I can run 18 miles. Yeah, it hurts like hell, but I can do it.


desertrunnergirl said...

Great job on the long run! I know exactly what you mean about wrapping your head around what you have just done...when you get into those distances it becomes such a mental challenge. When is your marathon?

MizFit said...

and Im in awe.

Mandy said...

Great run on Saturday Morgan. Since I run with you I can brag about what a super star you are!! I love checking out your blog after hearing about your great accomplishment on our weekend runs. See you next Saturday - for "just" 12 miles!! - Mandy

Topher said...

18 miles?! That's so freakin' far, and awesome! I'm not quite there, but not far behind you.

SuperDave said...

Much admiration!
I still haven't fathomed the whole marathon thing when my half marathon training is kicking my a**!
Great job Morgan..

Binx said...

great job! I can't even imagine myself running 18 miles someday. Eve n now, after running 6, I get "loopy and emotional", so I can relate in that regard. :)

Congratulations on everything you've accomplished so far!

Linden said...

Way to go on the 18 miler even though you were in pain!! I hope you get that figured out and that it doesn't haunt you.

Isn't it amazing?! I just completed my first ever 20 miler on Sunday. But today I was entered data into LogYourRun from when I first started running. I remember thinking those 1.5, 2, 3, 4 mile runs were so hard. Now anything less than 10 seems like nothing. Amazing what the context of being the middle of marathon training does to your perspective of distances!

kate said...

18 miles is a long way, sister! Congratulations, you should be proud of yourself.