Olivia's Marathon Misadventures

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Easier - Sans Headache

Holy Crap! I did it. I cannot believe I did all 16 miles...Well, I did walk for about 1/4 mile near the end, but I'll explain below. This run was so much easier for two reasons, 1) I was not quasi-hungover and therefore was better hydrated/nourished, 2) we weren't running out in the middle of nowheresville where I was going crazy looking at stupid 'farms'. This was a killer run that overlapped with the actual marathon route - not encouraging.

Anyhoo, Boyfriend guest stars in this episode as Faithful Sherpa. Frankly, I am shocked that he volunteered to sherp (or is it schlep?) for me. But I am happy he did. And surprisingly enough, he was actually on time, not his usual requisite 20 minute delay. I should have known from this moment that the day was a special one. Oddly enough, he was riding my bike, which happens to be a boys bike, but I am a good 6 inches shorter than Boyfriend, so it was a little, um, short.

The morning was a warm, muggy morning, the kind that reminds me why I love Tennessee - it was beautiful. It wasn't sunglasses beautiful, but I was hopeful and wore mine anyway. As we gathered at Lipscomb (was it the elementary, high school or college - I do not know), everyone was excited and antsy. A storm was brewing and everyone wanted to get out on the road as soon as possible. Plus, the longer distance runners knew that this run was going to take FOREVER, so the sooner the start, the sooner the finish.

We took off down Belmont around 7a. The breeze was refreshing and I always enjoy running in more populated neighborhoods. People were out on the porches and stoops watching the world - and 100 runners - go by. Our "Y?"MCA group runs the long runs with Team In Training, so our numbers were impressive. We ran on past the Athlete's House grabbed some H2O and on down Music Row. I love Nashville, you never know what kind of crazy shizz you are going to see when you are out and about. My running partner and I came upon this crazy chair at one of the music publishing houses...
I felt like Lilly Tomlin! Only way sweaty.
The run was going GREAT! I felt amazing. Down Music Row we ran. As we ran, I wished I had some significant cash because I would love to see this neighborhood really flourish - it just needs some careful development. Hmpf - Olivia's Misadventures in Real Estate Development coming soon...

We ran past all the publishing houses and production companies - Congratulations Billy Bob this, Congratulations on So-and-so's gold record that. I really love running past the Christian labels - YAY [someone I don't recognize] on your DOVE awards!! Hm, I didn't know Unilever was sponsoring the Christian music biz now...We ran past one of my FAVE Nashvegas landmarks...the guitar shaped pool near the Music Row round about and the famously Nudie Musica statue (which, by the by, I really like).

We stopped at my least favorite Irish pub for a water stop. Of course, at 7:45, Dan McCrappy's wasn't open for business, but it still stunk of stale beer and damp cigarettes. My tummy did a flip-flop. Ugh.

When we got to the Demonbreun Street bridge we turned left and made our way over to Broadway. If you ever hear Broadway mentioned in a country song, this is the street they are talking about. I wish I had taken more pictures, because so many downtown Nashville buildings are beautiful and historical. We ran past the old Union Station, the Customs Building, Hume-Fogg Academic High School, past the Gaylord Entertainment Center (GEC) where the Nashville Predators play. It was so cool to see all of this in the early morning that it wasn't until we got to the Nashville Visitors and Convention Center that I noticed I was getting some gnarly blisters. Eh, oh well, thought I, as more body glide was copiously applied, this should take care of it. The problem was this: I was wearing different socks than I normally do on my long long runs...[cue dread music]

We ran past all of the (in)famous Nashville Honky Tonks on Lower Broadway...Legends Corner, the Elvis statue, Tootsie's, The Second Fiddle, Robert's Western World and they all smelled worse than Dan McCrappy's...being that they had a) only been closed for a few short hours and b) the help was hose-ing out the bar. GROSS. Down we ran to 2nd Avenue, at the corner of The Hard Rock and hard luck. There were quite a few people out and about, and I am not talking about the usual homeless folks who sleep in the alcoves in front of bars...but pudgy Mom and Dad types in town to watch the SEC basketball playoffs at the GEC. I don't really care for SEC teams (GO BIG TEN) and I am not particularly fond of basketball (GO BUCKS #7!!), so the fanfare of this event was lost on me...I just knew these pudgy people sporting fanny packs were in my way. So my running partner and I started running up 2nd Ave - this is where all the Night At The Roxbury type clubs are - very CHEESY. Now, this is a real hill. Up we climbed. Past Hurricane's (where the Titan's QB McNair was arrested a while back), past coyote Ugly, NV, and Hooters...up up up towards the courthouse. We made it up...not a big deal. I was feeling pretty good about myself!! YAY - but now we had to contend with the catcalls of the dudes working on the courthouse reconstruction...yuck. I wish I understood Spanish. Or maybe not.

Poo! It was raining kind of hard, we were soaking wet, and hot as could be. Double poo! Here were some people already coming back!! I was SO JEALOUS. I wasn't out of breath or too terribly tired, but I knew I would be before too long. [sigh] And those folks were much closer to being done. On we pressed, over the Woodland Street bridge, and thereby over the Cumberland River and into East Nashville. East Nashville is one of those places that should be great - it is prime residential real estate next to downtown (much closer than Vandy or Green Hills) but is such a hood that it isn't safe in many places - like the places we were running...Past the Titan's stadium - I think this is how the marathon ends - under some crummy overpass that smelled of rotting garbage and human excrement, and all the way to...The Juvenile Detention Center! :() We quickly turned around, running partner, sherpa and I and high-tailed it back to the water stop at the bottom of the Woodland Street Bridge.

There was a nice man sitting at this water stop. I don't know if he was with our group and I don't know who he knows if he is...he could have been a stranger for all I know. But even in the rain, he sat there protecting our gatorade, fig newtons and water from the vagrants who have been known to pillage our water stops and that was really nice. I had a Gu (vanilla isn't bad) and some clif blocks (THANKS Martie - one of our runners gave me the nicest birthday pack full of great running sustenance!) and some water and off we went climbing back up the bridge. It was cool running over the Cumberland. We got a good look at the stadium and of downtown. Nashville is a neat city.

Back we went down 2nd Ave and made a right on Church Street. A lot of construction is happening on this (all uphill all the time) street because of this urban renewal Nashville is experiencing. Living downtown would be cool, but there just aren't enough places to eat and shop for me to think about a move just yet. But it would be cool. We ran 15 blocks on Church Street - past all the high-rises, past NES, past the Hustler store and over The Gulch area, all the way into the Baptist Hospital area. It had stopped raining for a little bit, but started again with a vengeance. We ran around HCA headquarters and around the Parthenon. I guess this was mile 12 or so. I was starting to feel like quitting. It was getting harder...of course, we were running up from the Cumberland River valley and uphill isn't the best at mile 12. We finally made it to West End and ran up past all the new chain steak houses that are being built. Yuk. Up 31st Ave (aka Blakemore), past Vanderbilt, past Childrens Hospital and made our way to 21st Ave. Through Hillsboro Village, past the Pancake Pantry, past all the cute shops, past people who were up, getting on with their mid-morning...Somehow, I made it to Portland Ave and back to the Athlete's House, THIRTEEN AND A HALF MILES.

I was in a LOT of pain now. My butt hurt, my foot really hurt and I was getting very crabby. I wanted to stop. I was ready to stop, and I let the thought creep into my head, "What if I only did the half marathon??" Blasphemer!! Terrible traitorous thoughts! It was like I was sabotaging my own will to run! I had been rained on and hollered at, had slipped on soggy cigarettes and had sweat copiously into my ears and eyes and wanted to quit now? On I pressed. My running partner, I give her all the props in the world - she just kept plugging away. Left, right, left, right. No complaining, no whining, nuthin'! What good spirits she was in. That made me mad at myself. I had a terrible attitude. Boyfriend/Sherpa was doing what he thought was helpful in the encouraging department - he isn't good at that.

At about mile 15 my foot couldn't take it anymore. I was limping as I ran. Ow ow ow ow ow! Bravely I told Sherpa to go on without me, to follow my running partner back to Lipscomb and come back with the car. And I started to cry. So mad I was with myself for hurting for wanting to quit, and worse, for actually quitting. Boyfriend said he'd walk with me if I could walk and my running partner went on - she is so strong! And I walked and cried and got madder and madder with myself as I watched her run away. So disappointed. After about a quarter mile, I decided that I had to run to the finish. So I began my gimpy little run, slowly, slowly...the limp wanted to come back, but I wouldn't let it - I focused on the way my foot struck the pavement to minimize the the pain. (PS: I think I waste a lot of energy because of my running form - I think I have a lot of vertical movement and I am not sure how to improve on that) Finally, FINALLY, I made it back to the Lipscomb! Gritting my teeth and crying a little bit the whole way. So, I could tell I was properly hydrated this week. I was the last last one. :( But I did it.

As we were stretching out, I removed my shoes - I couldn't stand those Iron Maidens any longer - and to my utter shock and surprise I had the world's largest blood blisters all over my toes!!! NO WONDER I WAS IN PAIN! It was disgusting! Damn those socks - they are good for a workout but not for a run. Posting pictures is totally out of the question, I do have a modicum of vanity. One girl I run with (who is a complete hoot!) said I surely would get passed over for foot modeling. Ya think?! I have 3 pipers down (read: 3 black toenails about to fall off) and blisters all over...no foot modeling? NO SANDALS!!

Today: pool jog. Can't wait. 14 more days until the next long run...18 miles. Can I do it? I don't know. I am very sad that I let that nasty little voice in, that seed of doubt, that door to failure left ajar.


  • Failure? What door to failure? I see only success in your future! You persevered! WHILE you were in pain, no less! That's called success!! Yay you! Now you get to do it again!! :)

    By Blogger jeanne, at 6:10 PM  

  • Great job with the run! 10 more miles and you're there!!

    With all the foot issues have you looked into orthotics or bigger shoes? Black toenails are most often caused by having shoes too small for you. My running shoes are a full size larger than my regular shoes to give your foot plenty of room to swell. My blisters have vanished for the most part thanks to orthotics (my foot was sliding too much in the toe box bc I have fairly narrow feet) and the right pair of running socks.

    By Blogger Rae, at 6:11 AM  

  • What a post. Way to run it in -- and what horrific blisters! You'll rock the 18-miler, I'm sure!

    By Blogger KT, at 10:37 PM  

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    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:42 PM  

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