Olivia's Marathon Misadventures

Sunday, February 26, 2006

[groan] I Think I Am Still Alive

[moan] [wince] Even something simple like adjusting my position on the desk chair make my leg muscles zing with pain. Good pain, like I am an active adult pain. But it still hurts.

So, all 14 miles. I did it. And I only walked a few steps of it...thanks to my running partner and my sherpa (who graciously biked with us carrying emergency water, food, gu, jelly beans, cell phone, extra layers, toilet paper) who kept encouraging each step. I am sure running has never been confused with yoga, but here is one more difference between the two. In yoga, as you are working on an asana, you want to clear your mind of all things and feel your body in space. While running, if you can successfully clear your mind at, say, mile 12 or 13, you will hear every muscle fiber in your body screaming in protest - so best not to clear that mind. Try to think of all the mundane tasks you have to do, whatever it takes. Just keep that bugger humming.

The run was a beautiful one, just a little chilly (according to my Sherpa). I just wasn't really into it. I had a gross lapse in judgement the night before - after work I went with a friend for A drink (as in one). Wrong. I ended up having 3 margaritas. Nice. Luckily, it was only 6p when I got home. I drank some water, but then decided to have a glass of wine. Another glass of water. Another glass of wine. Another glass of water. Another glass of water. Needless to say, by the time I was going to bed, I was hungover. And I was up all night going to the bathroom. NAUGHTY! Well-rested is NOT a word I would have used to describe myself.

Anyway, our group was running south of Nashville near Brentwood. Horse country. We started from an elementary school and ran through an ugly subdivision (note: I think most subdivisions are ugly, souless places, where mediocrity and/or evil is bred). Not before too long, rolling hill after rolling hill, we were in this lovely place where their were shale 'fences' and horses and enormous houses. BIG houses, bigger than in Belle Meade, like plantation size houses that look like Opryland Hotel. Oops - that was Alan Jackson's house. But they were all large and impressive. Not new-looking (they are all pretty much new) like in Belle Meade where it is showy and gaudy. And it was fun running past these I guess you would call them farms, but they weren't producing anything, no farming was going on. It was just a lot of land with a big house, a big barn and horses and dogs. And those beautiful shale (or whatever) fences.

We kept right on running. At 4m, half-marathoners were turning around. At 4.5m, we stopped for water, it was going pretty fast. By 6m, I was getting bored, was feeling low and was ready to be done. We stopped for some water and gu and I perked up and off we went. A mere one mile later, I was crashing again. Mentally, I had to turn around, I couldn't bear going forward any more. So we did. I felt bad about it, but I didn't have a lot of time to feel bad about turning around. I was having a potty emergency. We book it back to the 6m (now 8m) water stop which was at a church. AMEN!!! After some gu and water and off we went again.

Emotionally, I was doing better, retracing the steps back to the start. We went past the Harpeth River, we saw a rope swing with bicycle handlebars as the 'seat', we saw numerous trees with 2x4 boards nailed to them to serve as 'stairs' up a tree so that the climber could enjoy a higher perch from which to jump into the river (whose depth is unknown...). Back past the 4.5 water stop. YAY! Getting closer!! Then there it was...the steepest hill ever. I had remembered running down it thinking to myself, "I love running downhill", but noticing it was a tough tough downhill run. Now we had to go up. It was so steep, even Sherpa had to walk the bike up. I made it up by cursing every step. There was a walker who was thoroughly appalled.

Only 3.3 miles to go!!! We were running out of things to talk about. I was VERY aware of how tired and in pain I was. Sherpa suggested we eat at a middle eastern place for lunch (it was only 9:30). She said she was in the mood for falafel. I threw up a little in my mouth. For the first time in my life, food couldn't have sounded worse. [well, there was that one time after back surgery that the anesthesia made me gag whenever I smelled food...I was off anything that smelled/looked/was remotely related to chicken for months after the chicken broth incident...]

Somehow I struggled back into the neighborhood area. Only 2m to go. I started to cry a little bit. But no tears were coming out really. That is an uniquely unsatisfying feeling. The girls kept encouraging me on. Left, right, curse, repeat. Up a slight grade, and we crossed over Hillsboro Road back into the evil subdivision. PLEASE LET ME STOP AND WALK - [more tearless crying, it is kind of like miming]. Somehow, these two girls just kept me going against my will. Well, I guess my will was there, held hostage by my pain. Only 1/2 mile left. I can see the school!! DAMN, wrong school!! It was hot now, the sun was out and I could feel the salt on my face hardening into a crust with the aid of UV rays. Up the little hill. Is this my driveway? No. I hate you, fake driveway. A little further. Are you my driveway? No. Oh cruel world! When can I stop?! Finally, I see where 'our' driveway is. Mentally I say, just make it to the place where the driveway and street come together. Somehow I get there and I say, ok, just make it to the yellow post. Somehow I make it there too, and make a deal with myself, I'll reward myself with [something I don't remember] if I can make it to the red car. I DID IT!! All 14 miles. I wanted to die. After some water and some stretching, we left. Sherpa drove. I think she was afraid I'd start crying with real tears and be unable to see the road. I did cry real tears later - because Comcast Cable didn't come to install my cable and internet. So I ended up sobbing on the phone to the poor lady that I ran 14 miles and I hadn't showered because I was waiting on them and it wasn't yet 4p so someone had better get their butt to my house NOW.

But my tears didn't only come from frustration, they came from being very proud of myself.


  • Congrats on your 14, Olivia! They get easier every time. :)

    By Blogger Jon (was) in Michigan, at 9:46 AM  

  • you rock! that was one hilarious write-up. Way to keep going! I love the part about miming crying. mad me laugh out loud.
    however, i do feel your pain. :)

    By Blogger jeanne, at 12:08 PM  

  • Way to go! Each long run will get easier than the one before. The thing that's so great about training is that you really figure out how to toughen up your mental blocks and the best way to hydrate and fuel your body before and after. For me alcohol,coffee and anything with caffeine dehydrated me so I stayed away from all them during my training. Afterwards I had a big margarita to celebrate and got SO tipsy! Ha!!

    By Blogger Rae, at 5:13 PM  

  • What a great post! To think you had to deal with the Evil Cable Company after running 14 miles -- inhumane!

    I did my first 13-miler last weekend on what was about a two-day hangover, and it SUCKED. But man, that feeling of accomplishment is some powerful juju...congratulations!

    By Blogger KT, at 10:26 PM  

  • Olivia, you go girl! I know you can stick to it and will kill that marathon on April 29!

    By Anonymous Jennifer, at 2:13 PM  

  • Olivia, great job on the 14! This is the first time I've read your blog, and I enjoyed it. I am also training for the CM Marathon. Goodluck!!

    By Blogger Lana, at 4:33 PM  

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