While the worst of my cold has passed, the cough still lingers and I think it will for a while. Yet I was scheduled to run 15 miles, a distance I've never run before, but I was confident I'd be able to do it. Running outside in fresh air always seems to clear the lungs.
Though I wanted to be out the door by 7 am, I didn't set my alarm. I am still taking Nyquil to help me sleep comfortably and I always wake up in such a haze the mornings after taking it. Yesterday was no different. Though I woke up at 6:30 am (this is sleeping in for me), I took me about an hour to get moving.
I started to get ready for my run at 7:30 am, packing my 2-bottle hydration belt with my usual staples - Grape Propel and 4 Chocolate Outrage GUs. It was sunny outside so I decided to wear shorts and a long-sleeved T. I also packed 4 cough drops into the back pocket of my shorts in case any I was hit with any coughing fits. And I decided to run with my iPhone instead of my iPod. This was more of a security measure in case I couldn't make it and had to call someone to come and get me.
I was out the door by 8 am. It was a clear, sunny, but cold, 44 degree morning. I walked about .5 a mile to my starting point and started to regret wearing shorts. I also realized I had forgotten my hat. But I had to be done running by 11 am so I wasn't going to turn back.
My cousin was throwing a family birthday party for her 4-year daughter that started at Noon so I was on a schedule. Because of the time crunch, I also decided to run around my neighborhood. It was really tough mapping out 15 miles around town. I felt like I would be running in circles - so many turns and turnarounds. To remember what I mapped out, I wrote it down on my hand.
I've never been one to have to use the porta-potties at races. I guess you could say that I have a strong bladder, but for the past 4 weekends, I've had to take bio breaks when out running. I made to sure to use the facilities before I headed out, but after the first mile I had to go again. Thankfully, since I was running around town, there are places I can drop-in to take care of business. Again I headed to Target, because it was the closest place and it was open by 8 am. Its becoming my first aid station these days. LOL. It also gave me an extra half mile!
After 3 miles, I felt warmed-up, glad I wore the shorts. I usually always wear long-sleeves during a long run, even during the summer because I tend to get chafing under my arms. Though the sun was out, it wasn't too hot so the long-sleeves worked out well.
I really wasn't intimated about the 15-mile distance. Its only 2 miles longer than a half, so mentally, I broke it down to 2 10K's and a 5K. Having just raced last weekend, and fighting a cold all week, I wasn't planning to push my hard, just wanted to run a slow, but steady pace.
As I ran around to town, tons of random things crossed my mind. Like, how when driving, stoplights seem to take so long to turn green, yet when running, they turn so fast!. Every time I came to a stoplight, I thought I'd have a few seconds to rest, but they always immediately turned green! Darn it! Running in the neighborhood also makes me vow to be a more cautious drivers when pedestrians are around.
Around Mile 7 I hit a back road that runs along the Bay. Its pretty quiet on weekends and it felt a little lonely out there. But then a big semi drove past and honked his horn and waved at me. I smiled and waved back, because it reminded me of my late Uncle Jerry. He was a trucker and it would be the exact type of thing it would do. More and more I'm coming to appreciate these small efforts of "course support" when I'm out there.
I had eaten at GU at Mile 4.5 and at Mile 9, and had kept up with my usual routing of drinking Propel every 2 miles, so I felt I was ready for Mile 10...because I always hit the wall at Mile 10. I don't know what it is about it, but my body always seems to stop functioning at this mile. Annnnnnnd this time it was no different. Almost to the second of my Garmin hitting 10.0, I broke down. I felt debris in my shoe, so I stopped, untied my shoe and shook it out. I continued on, obsessively looking at the Garmin to see the miles barely trickle by. Next I stop to take another drink of water and then continue with a few steps forward. Then I just can't bear it so I have to walk again. It was brutal and seemed to take forever. Luckily, I was out on pedestrian-only path and the terrain was paved asphalt and sand/dirt. I mixed it up to keep things interesting, and since it had rained the day before, the sand/dirt was nice and soft; I swear that was the only thing that got me through.
From that point on, I had a hard time. I thought to myself, "only 5 more miles to go." But then I kept checking the Garmin and the distances seemed to drag by. So then I would make deals with myself that I could only look at it every time a song finished on playing. The mind games kept going; I couldn't stop to walk until I ran by a certain tree, sign and/or street.
Before I knew it, I had missed the turn I mapped out, so from here on out I was just running where ever the road took me. I had to draw strength from all kinds of places to push me through - my music, sounds cheesy but "Eye of the Tiger" was VERY instrumental at Mile 13, and Eminem's "Lose Yourself" was THE most inspiring song of the day. I also thought of recent blog posts I read from Gym Notes and Chic Runner that helped me push through. And I thought of all the posts by my Daily Mile friends and used it as inspiration, thinking, "if they can do it, I can too."
When I checked my Garmin at Mile 13, I realized that had I been racing, it would have been my worst personal record. But then I thought, "who cares, only 2 more miles to go!"
When I the final turn down the last road, I'd only had a .5 mile to go. I thought about sprinting it, but just didn't have it in me. But, I did end at exactly where I started, which worked out MUCH better than the course I'd originally mapped out.
As I walked home, I heard a horn honk at me, but was too tired to look up. Then I got a call, and it was my cousin's husband. He was out doing last minute pick-ups before the party. I checked the time and realized I finished much later than expected and didn't have much time left before it started. Needless to say, I was a late arrival.
When I got home, I went through my usual post-run routine of stretching, chocolate milk smoothie, ice bath (it felt soooo good), etc. I realized I hadn't needed any of the cough drops I packed, and it was a good thing too. They turned out to be melted from my sweat...so gross.
All week I had been hearing my cousins Shari and Jeff (mostly Jeff) rave about Kara's Cupcakes. I'd heard of them, but never had one (mostly because my friend Tina had an unpleasant encounter with Kara herself). But Jeff insisted they were so good and they also made gluten-free ones (he only eats gluten-free). So when I was out on Friday night, I picked up half a dozen (it cost me $20!).
It was to be my gift to myself after running 15 miles. I had my first one at the birthday party (there are pictures documenting the occasion but will not be sharing...LOL) and I had my last one just before going to bed last night.
They are very decadent...like Jeff says, "the frosting just explodes when you taste it!"
Corner Men As Jasmine's (the 4-year old's) birthday party winded down, and most everyone left, the rest of us who stayed chipped in to order the Pacquiao-Clottey fight. I'd never actually seen Manny Pacquiao fight before and was really excited for this.
Growing up, my Grandpa watched a lot of boxing, which I hated because it interfered with my cartoons. But as I took up kickboxing and Body Combat, I grew to love it. I love the mentality that a fighter has to have; complete confidence in himself to beat his opponent.
I recently read a blog post where the blogger compared blogging to boxing. As a blogger, you throw yourself out there and have to stand alone with your words, like a boxer had to stand alone in a ring. That analogy may be stretching it a little, but you get the idea. I actually think a boxer is more like a runner on a long run. You really are out there alone and have to find the strength and willpower within yourself to win the fight.
While many will say the fight was boring, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Pacquiao is a machine. He was the shorter and lighter opponent, but he was in Clottey's face and broke him down. I am not a boxing expert by any means, but even I could not understand what Clottey's strategy was. By the 6th round, it became apparent that the only way he would be able to win was by knock out or TKO, and seemed very unlikely. He was not aggressive, though the few punches he did throw were explosive, it was obvious that nothing was going to stop Pacquiao.
Pacquiao was relentless, didn't seem to tire. I learned that in his previous fights, even as he took beatings, he never backed down and is all heart.
There was a point during my run that, for the very first time, I questioned my ability to run a full marathon. For the first time, I thought, "is 26.2 doable?" It won't be easy, and each of the next 3 weeks of peak mileage will probably be the hardest physical challenges I'll meet before the actual meet, but after witnessing that fight, I can also draw motivation from, "Do I want to be Clottey (who seemed like he never believed he could beat Pacquiao), or do I want to be like the champion, who never backs down and the will within himself to win.
I called this section "Corner Men" because at the end of the fight, Pacquiao's trainer, Freddy Roach, called out Mayweather and basically said, "You don't run the sport, you don't make the decisions, just come out and fight." Those are fighting words from a fighter's mentality. I love it!