Saturday, September 6, 2008

The 20-miler (aka- Children of the Corn)

You may have noticed I don't use profanity much in my writing. This is for two reasons. First, I'd rather not offend people. Although I cuss like a sailor in my private life, I usually don't feel the need to assail the ears (or eyes, in this case) of my blog readers with my bad language. Secondly, if I'm going to drop an f-bomb on you guys, I want it to really mean something. I want it to be special. With that said, I can sum up yesterday's 20-mile run in two words:

Holy fuckballs.

Ah, that was cathartic. Now, for my report.

I woke up at 5 a.m. and got way too familiar with a stick of Bodyglide, then I hit the road. The run was in Lawrence, Kansas, which is where I started (but not where I finished) college many moons ago. The 4-mile warm up was basically one big hill- it's known as The Hill, actually. Seeing some of my old haunts was wonderful in some cases, and surreal in others. It brought back both happy and painful memories being there. Once we got out of the city and onto the levee trail, I was feeling better about being back in Larryville.

The trail was surrounded by cornfields. Corn, corn, and more corn. Some soybeans, then more corn. I was ready for an Amish-looking kid to pop out of one of the rows and yell "Outlander!" at me, just like in the Children of the Corn movie that I used to love (don't ask me why).

I was running with 4 girls who I've come to know pretty well. When you run miles and miles with people, you learn a lot. There's something about running long distances that brings out total frankness and honesty. It seems like nothing is off limits. We usually start off talking about everyday stuff, like politics, work, marriage/boyfriends/girlfriends, kids, etc. Then things move on. Every week, without fail, we talk about personal bowel habits at least once. After mile 10 or so, we're all tired and semi-delirious. We're not shy at that point.

It was shaping up to be a great run. I was in no pain and had plenty of energy. Then, a problem presented itself. As we approached the later aid stations, I expected there to be GU. Typically on these long runs, GU is provided, but there was none to be found. I should have brought my own, so it was really my own fault. But, this now meant I wouldn't have my usual calorie source during my run. I think that directly contributed to the events that followed.

At mile 14, I was struggling big time. My hips and butt were crackling and grinding with every step, I had a mild headache, and my sweat was becoming grainy and extra salty. I was dehydrated and I needed salt. At the aid station we found some pretzels and I grabbed as many as I could and scarfed them down. It helped a bit, but the next few miles were pretty damn miserable for me. I was getting really emotional. At only 16 miles, I was hitting the wall.

Those last 4 miles were the hardest miles I've ever run. My feet were barely lifting off the ground. It was more of a quick shuffle than a run, really.
I was in a lot of pain, and all I wanted was for it to be over. If my group-mates hadn't been with me, I would have given up. So, I'd like to say thank you to my "running ladies," Ellen, Mandy, Marcela, and Pritha. You carried me through yesterday, and I can't thank you enough!

When I was done, I was in pretty bad shape. I was freezing cold, achy, emotional, and just totally spent. We all walked to a nearby restaurant to have a very late breakfast. Out of the 5 of us, I seemed to be the only one doing the "zombie walk." As we walked down Mass street, I felt people looking at me. I'm sure they were wondering how big of a stick I had up my butt. After a nourishing salmon sandwich I was feeling much better.

When I arrived home 40 minutes later, I was so stiff that it literally took me 5 attempts to get out of my car. I then ate a bowl of ice cream the size of my head and took the best shower of my life. I sounded like the girl from the Herbal Essences commercial.

I'm really proud of myself for finishing 20 miles. I've been apprehensive about this for months, and it's finally over. I got a small glimpse of the physical and mental anguish I'll experience on October 18th. Of course, I'm not done yet. I have a 22-miler in two weeks, and then I'll taper down until the marathon itself.

It won't be pretty. It will hurt like hell, but now I know I can do it. I can finish the marathon. All I have to do is get to the starting line.


Virginia said...

Congrats on your weight loss. I too had serious weight loss about two years ago. I started out around 225 and I now weigh between 135-140. I am in the maintence stage, but it's hard!

elife said...


desertrunnergirl said...

Great job! You did it! Sounds like you made some nutrition mistakes that are easily fixed for the next long run...and I wish I could tell you how amazing your marathon experience is going to be. It is!! It's so different than the training runs. Just know that, tuck it in the back of your mind and keep moving forward!

Kelly said...

Morgan, you are doing amazing!!! I love hearing about your runs since I will be going through it a couple of months after you:)

cindy said...

wow, you are amazing as everyone has already stated. man, i could never or wouldnever want ot run a marathon, but kudos to you. you're so funny: i laughed at 1) the Amish-looking boy sentence and how you liked that movie and the herbal essence part. funny!! and good for you. it looks like you're beating the binging. you go girl. hopefully i can beat it too.

Linden said...

Wow. Holy fuckballs is right.

I just gotta say... HUGE PROPS FOR KEEPIN' ON!!! You learned a lot during that run, no doubt. And you'll be stronger for that 22 miler.

deanna said...

Wow, 20 miles, that's so impressive, good for you!!!!

Anonymous said...

Thought you looked and ran the 20 MUCH better than I did... my knees are still f***ing screaming for mercy!

Thank you and to the other girls for keeping me going. I kept you guys in view the entire time I fell behind from mile 14-20!