18 and 8 to goooooo...
I was unusually excited to wake up for our Sunday long run a few weeks ago for several different reasons:
1. Becky and I were set to run 18 miles, and I feel like once you accomplish that, it is all down hill to the marathon(weird how at this time in my life 8 miles seems 'downhill')
2. This is the first marathon that Becky is training for, so the last 2 miles of every long run are the furthest she has ever run. Every step is a new victory, and I love that I get to share that with her. I stare at my Garmin so I know the exact second she takes that step so I can throw a mini party as she glares at me. Lucky for me she is wiped by then and can't punch me in the face like I know she wants to.
3. I had a pain in my foot for the 2 weeks prior, so this would be my first long run back. I really had every intention of getting my foot looked at, but instead treated like my daughters tantrums in Target-- I ignored it and eventually the pain went away.
3. It was supposed to be pouring rain, so a tiny part of me thought that if I woke up to the wind and pounding rain, we would cancel our run and I would actually be able to sleep in...til at least 6:30. But a bigger part of me thought how badass we would be to do the run in the rain.
4. I borrowed a pair of skinny Sandra's pants for the run, and they actually fit! Now I don't say this in an 'I'm fat' kindof way...Sandra really is just tiny. So I walked a little thinner in her pants...not to mention how my rear-end looked in them...pretty nice!
When I woke up at 4:15, my excitement changed a bit. There was no rain...the ground wasn't wet, and I didn't see any big ominous clouds. Ok, this run was on! Then I realized I didn't plug my Garmin in. Normally this wouldn't be a huge deal to run without it, but we were trying a new route and heaven forbid we don't hit our mileage, or even worse...run too far! Since I know Becky was skipping church, I texted that we should get an extra hour of sleep and head out at 6. After all, maybe the rain would be there by then!
Up again at 5:30, and still no rain. I scrambled to get everything together(we were out a little late at a friend's house-Skinny Sandra- the night before so let's just say I was less than prepared). I searched my bag for my fancy skinny Sandra pants and her husbands Underarmor top(that I can't believe ever fit him because it was tighter on me than her pants)...no luck. Was I really on it last night, and in my wine haze set them out in my room? Nope. Ugh.
I grabbed my iPod, less than a full charge. Which means Lady Gaga will not be pushing me on my last mile. Ugh. Ugh.
I arrive late to the beach to meet Becky, but seeing as she has known me for 3 years this comes as no surprise. Still cramming my peanut butter sandwich in my mouth, rubbing Vaseline under my sports bra, and trying to squeeze in a few more sips of coffee.
I grab my water bottle, shot blocks, an extra Gu Becky brought for me, a mini Luna Bar for the road, and my ear buds. All I need is my arm band for my iPod, a quick potty break and I am ready to go!
To say my car is messy in the understatement of the year. A family of 4 could survive for 2 weeks. I'm not kidding. So I guess I shouldn't be shocked when I can't find my arm band. Knowing that I have held Becky up long enough, and hearing that her iPod is dead too, we decided to head on with no music.
The wind was ridiculous, and we looked at each other like, 'are we really going to do this?' We decided to scratch our original plan (running to Newport Beach, around the Back Bay, and back up) just in case it did start pouring, thunder, and lightning so we wouldn't get stranded miles and miles away. Instead we headed south into the wind, towards Balboa, and were going to turn around and head North to Goldenwest and back to the cars.
We forged on chatting, proud in the fact that it was hard to run, and even more proud that we seemed to be the only ones out there. Was this a sign? A sign that we had crossed over into REAL runners?
We turned around in Balboa 5.5 miles in, had a Gu, and felt amazing! Goldenwest seemed so doable from here. WooHoo! We headed back with the wind at our backs, and even did a few flying leaps because it felt so easy compared to the battle we were just fighting.
We passed a few other girls from our running club as they were headed into the wind, and assured them it was worth it for the float back. We did a quick stop at the cars for Becky to toss her jacket and gloves, and headed up the coast.
We were at mile 11, and I don't know if it was because I was getting tired, or heading out from the cars felt like we were starting all over again, but I was sucking wind. I always try to stay strong on these long runs for Becky, since I have been here before, I want her to feel safe tackling this high mileage. But I couldn't help it. Becky is like a wife to me, so all I needed to do was start breathing a little heavier, add some weighted sighs, and boom, she catches on and tells me, "You've got this. One foot in front of the other and soon you will be past this feeling."
I am someone who needs a challenge, a struggle to be able to find success. I love hills in a race because I like mini accomplishments along the way to push me, to make me dig deeper. At this point in our run, I started hoping it would rain. I wanted to feel the rain, to have it blow hard in our faces on the way back. Today was a day that just finishing wasn't going to be enough. If I was sucking wind I needed to earn it.
As we passed the pier, the sky opened up and it began to rain. It was just what I needed. A chance to feel a little tougher, a chance to click my badass meter up a notch- CLICK!
It only rained for a few minutes, but we were pumped. As we passed runners heading into the wind(which was much stronger now) we noticed they looked ok. If they can do it, we can do it.
We stopped at Goldenwest for our last Gu, and to prep to turn back around and run our final 3.5 miles head on in the wind. I also needed to do a lot of work on my foot, which started to kill me right before we turned around.
Facing into the wind, Becky and I started laughing uncontrollably. This was going to be a fight, but we're tough!
We tossed our Gu packets, gave each other a hi-five and said, "Let's make this run our bitch!"
And that is exactly what we did.
We dug our heads down and ran. We ran hard, and it felt great. We stayed up on the streets to avoid the sand lashing in our faces, and got to feel the stares of people driving by, warm in their cars. Looking at us like we are nuts... or maybe just noticing what hot tough chicks we were. (too bad I wasn't in skinny Sandra's pants!)
As the rain quit, we headed back to the beach path since the sand was damp and wouldn't blow in our faces. we must have looked like the birds flapping their wings into the wind but staying in the same spot because it seemed as though we were barely moving. Laughing again at each other, probably because it was easier than crying, we sprinted to the cars (which my Gamrin said was a strong 11 minute mile) and declared victory.
We sat in her car, heater blasting, with our celebratory Coors Light, and giggled like teenagers. It was a roller coaster of a run but it was everything we needed it to be. We made it over the hump, and are coasting downhill on the other side.
Until our next long run...