Saturday, January 24, 2009

Blood, Sweat, & Tears

January 24, 2009
West Coast Runners Group Run
Assignment: Run 5 miles

I'll go ahead and apologize for the overly-dramatic title for this blog... only two-thirds of the title actually happened. Catchy title, though, huh?

I woke up this morning at 6 o'clock. It was tough to get out of bed... true to my nature, I went to bed too late. I got ready for my 7:30 meeting time with the WCRR. I was looking forward to running the five miles we were to complete today.

I met my friend, Mitchell, at the local park & ride and we drive the half hour it takes to get to the beach where we were to meet the rest of the group. We were a little early so we took some time to chat, make jokes, and stretch before the group "talk" and run.

When our group did finally meet, we were to introduce ourselves and tell everyone the longest distance we've ever run. I listened as each person said their name and their longest distance. As people shared their distances, it became apparent how much of a rookie I am! Out of a group of about 20, only one other person had run a whopping three miles! That may have been the first discouraging part of the run.

The next discouragement came after we started out on our run... and I mean right after we started. We started the run on an incline and I felt pooped out right away! I felt like one of those fire-crackers that only hiss when you light them and then fizzle out.

I don't know what happened... I had been doing much better on my own during the week! I could not keep up with my two friends who were running with me. I told them to go on without me and they reluctantly did so after I hooked up with a couple other ladies who were going at about the same pace I was.

It was torture!! I felt so sluggish and out-of-shape. I was literally in last-place (after the other two ladies turned around about half-way through). I started to wonder if there could some sort of honor in being the very last person to cross the finish line during a marathon. I mean, how many people can say to their grand kids, "Yes, kiddos, back in the day, Granny was the very last-place person in the 2009 Rock & Roll Marathon. And let me tell you, that's not easy! Why, I had to shove a 95 year old man across the finish line just so he would finish ahead of me."

As I was pre-living this very touching moment, my thoughts were interrupted by a surfer standing next to his car in his underwear. It's not uncommon to see surfers changing out of their wetsuits along the side of the road but usually, they try to be discreet by wrapping themselves with towel as they do it. So, my mind switched from granny mode back to thirty-something mode as I pondered this interesting sight.

That cleared my self-doubting mind enough to realize that it will be practically impossible for me to be in last-place in the marathon. Way more possible than being first... but still extremely unlikely.

So, I kept on. Running and walking. Running and walking. I was certain the coaches had to have the mileage wrong! Just as I started to think I was going to have to stop and throw up over the beach wall, I saw my two friends coming towards me, on their way back. They had reached the 2.5 mile mark and were on their way back to the starting site. I wasn't as far behind them as I thought, but I still had a stretch to go before I could turn around... and it was the turning around and doing it again that made me want to cry.

Mitchell and Lee Ann encouraged me to keep going, saying I was almost to "the man" who would tell me it was time to turn around. I saw The Man ahead of me but as I drew closer, I could see he was walking backwards- away from me. Really! Now, that's just cruel! I thought, "What the &%$#%$ &%$ kind of mean thing is that to do?!"

I finally caught up to him and asked him if he was The Man. He said yes, but I still had to run to the corner. I ran to to corner, cursing The Man in my head. I turned at the corner and headed back. That's when I saw Mitchell running back towards me. It turns out Mitchell and Lee Ann decided to wait and walk/run the rest of the way with me.

By the time Mitchell got to me, I was practically in tears. The thought of the running back the way I came seemed over-whelming. By the time we caught up with Lee Ann, I was in tears. I hardly ever cry but I was so frustrated with myself!

I trained during the week, I exercise, I try to eat right- I couldn't help but wonder why I am such a wimp! I wiped the tears out of my eyes so I could see and so I wouldn't make a freakin' fool out of myself. Both Lee Ann and Mitchell did their best to encourage me and cheer me up. It worked. I felt better about things by the time we got back to the starting point.

They say every runner has bad days. Why did it have to be this day... the day I was looking forward to seeing how much progress I've made? It was like I was worse than before I started the training.

The good news is, it can only get better and better. I also got to know Lee Ann a little better and that was a nice benefit. I'm also using this run to see how I might do better for the next run. I think I need to eat more good calories and less empty ones. I also need to get more sleep. I need to learn what to eat before a run... I had only had a Cliff Bar for breakfast. Those are yummy but I'm wondering if I should have had a more balanced breakfast.

I also started my period this very morning (sorry, guys, but it's life) and I'm really hoping that was the biggest factor in how difficult this run turned out to be. I don't get crampy but I do get tired easily and a little loopy this time of the month. So, maybe next week will be better since that won't be an issue. We'll see.

Mitchell and me before the run... Mitchell has been a buddy
of mine for almost 20 years.

With Lee Ann (also before the run). Lee Ann and I went
to high school together but I'm really only just now
getting to know her. She's great... and makes me feel tall! :D

"In running, it doesn't matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, 'I have finished.' There is a lot of satisfaction in that."
-Fred Lebow, New York City Marathon co-founder


Colin Timberlake said...

Nice work. The perseverance will pay off.

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

I couldn't keep up with anyone in my run group on Saturday either (although I could yesterday, but they might have slowed down for me so I didn't have to run alone in the dark). But, there are benefits of the group anyway: like minded people to hang out with and some motivation to get out the door and run. Don't give up!