Olivia's Marathon Misadventures

Monday, January 02, 2006

There and Back Again, A Hobbling Tale

Contrary to previous posts - I DO NOT SUCK!! YAY!!

Eight whole miles! I rule!! Well, I probably walked about 3/4 of a mile total throughout the run. But still, that is NOT bad. Saturday morning was a beautiful one - clear, sunny, low to mid 40s, and dry. I couldn't have custom ordered a better New Year's Eve day. Be that as it may, I was way nervous to start my run. In the group that I run with, there are people of varying speeds and lengths of runs. I was going to do eight come hell or high water, but there was a group doing 10 and another doing 6. One other runner was doing 8 - and she is like 6 ft tall. Her stride is 1.5x mine. Grr - I knew I'd be struggling to keep up with her. I had a bottle full of watered down recovery drink (4 to 1 carb to protein ratio), a cute new zip up jacket and I was as ready as I'd ever be. Off we went, down West End Ave, around Musica (the naked sculpture at the head of Music Row), and up Music Row - so far so good. Left, right, repeat. Water. My tall cajun-irish friend was kind enough to keep her pace with mine - I was going as steady (not fast - I was saving myself) as my porky little legs would let me. Elf vs. Dwarf - if I were to continue with the Tolkein references.

Down Music Row and onto Belmont. Mmmm - the smell of coffee wafted over our water station (which becomes important later) from the neighborhood cafe and I thought, "I am almost halfway done and feel strong, confident, almost Valkyrie like." Now, this route is most definitely part of the marathon route and I am pleased. It isn't Ohio-flat, but it is a nice rolling road that isn't too challenging. Finally we arrive at mile 4 - our turn around. I was kind of struggling here, but enjoyed the conversation that my cajun-irish friend was providing. Really, though, I was no longer holding up my end of the convo. I supplied quite a few, "Really?", "That's great", and "What did you do?", but even those comments were squeezed in between huffs and puffs.

As we headed back on Belmont, our trainers caught our eye and they joined us. That was nice - now I didn't have to talk and could get back to concentrating on left, right, repeat. My feet started to burn just about the same time that Trainer 1 (TF) mentioned she enjoyed my blog and wondered if the feet burning sensation I felt was due to cotton socks. I said that it was possible when I realized I was WEARING COTTON SOCKS!! AAAAAAAA!!! Now my feet were en fuego and I could feel multiple blisters growing, like little pearls from grains of sand that irritate the poor oyster. Only, you can't wear blisters as a necklace. Ew. And DAMN! I was not yet to mile 5! TF suggested that I stop at our water stop (the one next to the coffee house) at The Athlete's House to get different socks. What? Mid run? Socks? My mind clearly was running low on oxygen and blood. It took a minute to sink in, but sadly I didn't have any money with me! Oh cruel fate, oh cruel natural fibers! TF said no prob, they would surely spot a suffering runner some socks. It was worth a chance. So, I stopped - they were happy to help and I rejoiced! So here is a hearty shout out and THANK YOU to my new best-ies at The Athlete's House! You are the BEST. Obviously...I just said you were my besties.

As for the sad fate of my old cotton socks, well, like the ex-boyfriend they once belonged to, they were unceremoniously tossed aside no longer of any use to me.

Now, I was on my own. All alone. With 3 miles to go. Lactic acid had built up whilst I was seated and I was forced to run despite a sensation that I imagine is not unlike running through a vat of wet cement. Down Music Row I ran, iPod cranked, feeling good, but ready to be done. I look back today and realize I must have been very very low on fuel...because when - I am almost embarrassed to say! - when Survivor by Destiny's Child came up on my mix I choked up. Moved to tears that I was able to go this far. I mean, what a queer song to get emotional over! Luckily, I was able to pull myself together (read: the song was over) by the time I reached the Musica statue - both trainers and the cajun-irish gazelle were taking a watering break. And we finished the last mile together - all the way to Centennial Park. With some walking on my part. Oh freaking well!

Whew! Despite some serious lumbering at the end, I felt pretty good! I DID IT! Trainer 2 (TM) suggested that I draw an ice bath upon my return home since my knees were somewhat irritated. It sounded strange, but hey! He swore by it - I thought I'd try it. Since this was New Year's Eve and all, I wanted to avoid extreme soreness.

So I went home, brewed some fresh coffee - as I was inspired by the coffee house on my run - and drew a shallow bath with only cold water. I prepared a bucket of ice to dump in once my legs were submerged. With coffee in hand and sweatshirt on my torso, I stepped in prepared to soak away my anticipated stiffness. I stepped in to what was possibly the most bone crushing coldness I've ever felt!! Seriously, I felt like my feet were being ground to fine dust. Ow. OW! Using lamaze breathing, I lowered myself into the bath. Now, my legs felt like they were being crushed. And I was expected to dump ice on myself?!?! WTF?!?! I said I would stay in the tub for one cup of coffee (dammit, I picked the biggest mug I had!). I chugged that drink like I was a college freshman with a beer funnel.

The best feeling in the world was getting out. Now, that was worth it. Sort of. Needless to say, I was still somewhat stiff - I am not sure the curative effects of an ice bath are maximized after merely 30 seconds - but not too bad! Sadly, it did not cure the GINORMOUS blood blister that had gathered around my pinky toe nail. I think we'll be saying Bye Bye Bye to it soon.

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