yesterday, i ran ten miles. it was a process that actually started on friday. not the running, luckily. but the prepping! it took forrreeeevvvveeerrr. after a magical new years day that consisted solely of lying on the couch, i realized that i had no clean freakazoid spandex for my big run. so i started some laundry. then i had to put some serious thought into the most appropriate socks and shirts and then i had to locate a clean suit of elastic-waisted clothes for after the run. then i needed to find snacks!
i wish that my snacks were more exciting, but they merely consisted of yogurt and punkin granola (51 carbs) for a breakfast directly prior to the run (the whole diabetes thing is realllllly freaking annoying with pre-run eating… it is kind of crazy long pain in the booty to explain. suffice to say, the delicate blood sugar balance doesn’t allow me to eat breakfast more than 30-40 minutes before i go out for a run), clif shot blocks for during the run, and then chocolate soy milk (10 ounces, 30 carbs) for after the run. i wanted to be all set to quickly head out the door on saturday morning because i was meeting my main running pal nandi on the corner of our street at 6:25 a.m. and since i am just plain evil in the morning, i needed everything to be ready.
as i have mentioned before, ten miles has always been my turning-point distance. it takes mental and physical toughness for me to make it that far, and i usually start thinking about these longer (i can’t believe that in a few months, ten miles is going to feel like cake!) runs at least 24 hours before they are actually scheduled to happen. i do enjoy getting these puppies out of the way first thing in the morning if i can, because i become a total bear if i fret about a run for too long. and not a nice bear like the baby panda. more like a mean @$$ grizzly bear whose honeycomb was stolen by that lame-o debbie downer, winnie the pooh.
so yesterday, i was up long before the sun was. i was out the door by 6:18 a.m., armed with my pre-packed snackies, dry clothes, hat, headband, hair clips, gloves, freakazoid spandex, smartwool socks, and spectacles so that i’d be able to recognize nandi and my other teammates (don’t worry, i don’t run with specs). however, i neglected one very important thing– i forgot to look outside and realize that it resembled a flipping snowglobe. so i didn’t bring an extra pair of shoesies! therefore, i got crazy wet on my way to meet erin, and then even wetter as we trekked to davis square to meet our teammates and carpool to grafton, ma, together.
we arrived in grafton at 8:00 a.m., and i already felt exhausted. and nervous! i wasn’t sure if my mindset was right for 10 miles of running through the snow. it wasn’t a blizzard, for sure, but the it was coming down enough to make me think that i should be running with some kind of goggle situation so that i’d be able to see. plus, my socks were wet. but after an inspirational talk on how to conquer steep hills (which were of course going to be featured on our slog) from our peerless coach rick, we set off.
THUDTHUDTHUDTHUD, said my stomach as we began. i am notorious for my tender tummy, and have had more problems out on runs than i can begin to discuss. and yesterday’s problem was one of the least tolerable: i felt like i had a bowling ball in my gut. (not a full-sized one, but one of those candlepin ones that these massachusetts weirdos love. btw, i am really freaking good at candlepin bowling! not really– i have only been twice, but one time, i was REALLY good. the other time, not so much.)
immediately, the pack of speedsters shot to the front and the eight-minute-milers glided in behind them. for a few minutes, i honestly tried to keep up with these guys, but then i remembered that i had like 10 miles of hell to get through, and that i am a ten-minute miler. so i eased up to something more like a ten-minute pace behind a man in a royal blue shirt. together we ran, up rolling hills and down rolling hills, my stomach THUDTHUDTHUDDING the whole way. the first three miles were horrible! the snow was stuck in my eyelashes, and there were no sidewalks. plus, i couldn’t really see the snowplows that were stalking us as if we were their tasty prey.
eventually, though, blue shirt guy and i made it to the first waterstop. by this point, although we’d exchanged exactly zero words, i felt like we were buddies. and even though there was another pack of runners directly behind us, i felt like we were the only two out on the snowy death course. of course, i was too shy to say anything like this, and so i just took my sip of water and moved on.
as blue shirt man and i wove through the winding roads of the lovely town, i actually started to calm down, feel comfortable, and gather my thoughts. (i haven’t run with an ipod or any music in years, not out of a conscious decision, but actually because my ipod short-circuited in the baby panda’s extremely warm paw on a run on the hottest day of the summer of ought-seven. at first, i was too lazy to get any music up and running on my new ipod, but then i got used to the quietude of my rasping and wheezing breath and THUDTHUDTHUDDING tum.) the running was almost relaxing. until.
A CAR SPED BY ME, SPRAYING UP AN OOZE OF SLUSH AND DIRT. that was no surprise– that had been happening to me since the beginning of the run. but this time, the car also kicked up a rock that hit me square in the temple. well, it was actually a small pebble, but it flippin’ hurt. at this point, i started talking to myself, but hopefully not so loudly that the blue shirt man could hear me. i cursed the driver of the pebble car, and then i cursed myself for being out on a run in the first place. then i cursed the running route itself. and then i cursed the buffalo bills for their 198th consecutive stinky season. it was pathetic.
but the silver lining was that i still, in spite of my pebble-striken head, managed to keep up with the blue shirt guy. and then we saw it the hill that peerless coach rick had warned us about– it was a beast looming at the beginning of mile nine. as coach rick had recommended, i allowed myself to look up it just once, and then i started chugging. up up up i went, panting, wheezing, sniffling up snow. it was probably about 1/2 mile uphill, and at the final upward slope, i let out a little yell like AYYYYYYYYYYYY! i felt like tyler hamilton (without the performance enhancing drogas) on the slopes of the pyrenees! (the baby panda had a bicycling phase a few years ago, and so i have retained some trivial knowledge from our tour de france viewings.)
and this was the point when i realized it. i am running the boston marathon! until now, my training hasn’t been remarkable. i haven’t really had to do anything that i haven’t already done while training for my half marathons, and i haven’t had to push myself beyond mental or physical limits. but yesterday, man o man. i did! as i finished that last mile, i think my heart swelled just like the grinch’s! i am really doing this! i am running the 2010 boston marathon, folks! (even with the cushion of 24 hours and fleece pants, i still nervously smile as i type these words.)
as we ran into the church parking lot where we began our run, i called out to my blue shirted pal, “thank you! i would haven’t have made it without you there!” and he said, “same here! i can’t wait for april!”
i don’t know if he was talking about better weather or our big day, but after yesterday, neither can i.
harrowing book recommendation to echo my harrowing run:
the hunger games, by suzanne collins
i could not put this book down, and almost got into a fight with the guy at the bookstore who was boasting about reading the advance copy of the sequel. this book is definitely worth a fist fight. reminded me of scott westerfield’s pretties series, but oh so much better– stronger female lead character (some might call her brutal), much eerier powers that be, and much more well written.