Saturday, September 20, 2008

The 22 Miler (aka- Taking chafing to the next level)

I was determined to make today's 22 mile run a better experience than the disastrous 20 miler from 2 weeks ago. I brought GU gels (Chocolate Outrage flavor, if you're interested). Tylenol made a preventative appearance before my run even started, as well as at the halfway point. across all my usual chafing spots. Sadly, there was one place I neglected, but we'll get to that later.

Since I was going 22 and my friends were going 20, I arrived at the site early and ran 2 by myself. The temperature was hovering around 60 degrees, but it was already humid. Fog hung low to the ground and created an eerie, autumn-like start to the run. The cool weather wouldn't stick around long, though. By the end of our run, the temperature would reach 80.

When I got back to the starting point (inside a shopping mall), there were probably 200 people standing around, waiting to get going. I weaved through the crowd and found my friends, and we talked about our expectations for the morning. It was Pritha, Ellen, Mandy, and me. These were the women who got me through the 20-miler from hell, and I was happy to be running with them again.

The pacers from the Kansas City Marathon were running with us today, so my friends and I decided to run with the 4:50 pacer. That means that, if we followed this girl, we'd pretty much be guaranteed to finish the race in under 5 hours. Even though this was just a training run, we wanted to try an "official" pace team to see what it was like. We would also be running 9 miles of the actual marathon course that I'll be running on October 18th.

The first 2.5 miles took us through local neighborhoods. I was feeling good, but we were still having trouble keeping up with our pacer. She seemed to be going way too fast, and a couple Garmin GPS units confirmed this. At mile 3, Mandy was in a lot of pain from an ankle injury, so she wisely decided to call it a day. Runners are great at giving advice about resting, taking it easy, and carefully nursing injuries. But, few runners have the smarts to know when to take their own advice. Mandy does.

We got on a gravel trail and wound our way north. All the pace groups somehow got jumbled together at this point. The 4:50 group was way ahead, while the 4:30 and 4:40 groups lagged behind. We were all in a big pack, and it felt good to be with such a large group of people, so we just went with it and didn't try to catch up to the 4:50 girl.

In all of the literature I've read about marathon running, I've always read that a rookie mistake is to get cocky and go too fast early in the run. So, of course you can guess what I did. Leaving Pritha and Ellen behind, I effortlessly (or so I thought) caught up with 4:50 and stayed with her for quite a while. I knew my friends were close behind. Then came the hill.

I knew it was coming, and I knew it would be hard. I drive by Sunset Hill (yeah, it even has a name) twice each day during my work week. Since I've been in training, I've always looked upon it with ominous dread while driving past. Today, Sunset Hill and I officially got acquainted.

I kept my eyes straight ahead, pumped my arms, and got to the top of that damn hill. Even though I'd made it, I was exhausted, and I knew that I'd made a mistake in going out so quickly. At the 10 mile marker (12 miles for me), I met back up with Pritha and Ellen. Pritha's knee was hurting, but it was manageable. Ellen was having a horrible time breathing, but she kept going. We were all in pain, but we ran anyway.

As the mercury climbed, so did our chances of finishing with the pace group. They were long gone by this point, but that didn't matter. We were there to go the distance, nothing more. An 80 degree day is wonderful if you're out doing yard work, going to the zoo, or having a picnic. If you're running, 80 degrees is f***ing hot, and it's dangerous. If you don't drink enough water and sports drink to replenish the electrolytes you're losing, bad things can happen. You stop sweating, then the condensed sweat already on your body turns to solid salt. Then you get goosebumps. Sometimes these problems can still arise even if you take proper precautions. Pritha had plenty of fluids, as well as electrolyte-replenishment tablets, and still had salty skin and goosebumps by the end of the run.

The last 3 miles were really hard for me. I wanted to walk, but walking hurt just as much as running, so I decided to just suck it up and finish the damn thing. When we got back to the starting area and I felt the air conditioning hit me, I was oh so happy. Pritha was right there with me, and Ellen came in a few minutes later. Mandy had gone home, taken a shower, packed up her baby daughter, and come back to meet us for brunch. Eggs, potatoes, and wheat toast (no butter). Delicious.

When compared to my 20 mile run, I was in much better shape afterward on this one. I'm still walking like a zombie, but I can deal with it. The one thing I wasn't prepared for was chafing. Or, I should say, I thought I had prepared for it perfectly. However, the Bodyglide apparently didn't make it to one very important spot. Ready for this? TMI on the way... my buttcrack. Yup. When I got home, got in the shower, and the soapy water hit the area, my yowls of pain were reminiscent of a cat going for a car ride. If you're not sure what that sounds like, click here.

Buttcrack pain aside, I'm doing great. I'm proud of myself. 22 miles! If you'd told my 264-lb. self that I'd be running 22 miles, I would have thought you were playing a cruel joke. Now the only cruel joke is that I waited this long to be the person I now am. Can I get a WOOT WOOT!


runnergirl said...

AWESOME job!! You must feel great. Are you starting to believe you can really do it in just a few weeks??!!

Courtney said...

Holy crap Morgan, that is awesome! I read your blog a lot and I'm so proud of you! Wow, I can't wait till I can run 22 miles. Go girl!

SuperDave said...

WOOT WOOT! Love the chocolate GU.
I have been apprehensive about the body glide until I (TMI) sloughed off my right nipple last week.
"Bartender? That would be 2 Bodyglides, 1 more for me and 1 for my friend Morgan.No, make that 2 for her." LOL!!
Isn't 80 degrees great? NOT! Only a runner knows that. haha..
Great run! Peace

kate said...

Whoo-hoo!! Truly awesome.

MizFit said...



youve done something most of us will never, ever do.

have a great sunday.

Anonymous said...

Oh my, Morgan! The horror of chafing!! And I thought boobular chafing was bad :)

Great job! You kicked some serious butt yesterday.


Topher said...

Woot Woot! Good for you! You're going to rock it on the 18th! My 20 miler's coming up next weekend. I'm a little scared, but sort of think it'll be fun at the same time.

deanna said...

That is so awesome!! I am in awe of you, fantastic!!! I can't wait to run tonight, you are so motivating!!!