Thank You, Wonderful Kind Stranger (America)

It's hard to train for a marathon with your marathon training partner in a different state but I have been doing my best to carry on. My husband has graciously started attending my weekly evening track workouts. So has our running buddy Amy, who despite her insane work schedule has been putting in work on the track as well and will be running with us in December. Amy, as well as our other running buddy Rachel, planned to run Sunday. I would be taking on 18 miles Saturday morning. 

I was ready. Positive. Looking forward to it. Despite tweaking my hamstring at the gym the day before (stupidly doing some deadlifts WITHOUT warming up), I was stretched out and warmed up.I started my 18 miles run at 11:00 am on the dot. The first few miles were slow but surprisingly smooth. I was worried about my hamstring but it didn't seem to be bothering me.

What did begin to bother me was the heat.  

It was an unseasonably warm day. And it was sunny. And there wasn't much shade along my route. I had chosen to run a few sections of the Reno Tahoe Odyssey that are famous for being brutal during the summer. They were no less forgiving on this day. I slowed down and drank more. My water supply was plentiful but lacking electrolytes. No matter how much a drank, I didn't feel better. 

I found myself walking more which I told myself was okay. Just after half way I stopped at a store and went right past the Gatorade and Pedialyte and grabbed an orange juice. It was delicious but probably not the best idea. 

I reached 10 miles and was surprised to find that I had been running for almost three hours. This was way slower than I had anticipated. I found myself hungry but not being able to take my gels or blocks. Around mile 11 I had to walk down some stairs and nearly buckled at the bottom. A quarter of a mile later I ended up on a large rock by the walking path, absolutely exhausted. 

I started to cry. 

Panicking, I called my sister. She reminded me that this was a huge jump in mileage from last week and told me to stop running and call for someone to pick me up. 

I felt defeated and everything hurt. I started crying harder. 

A woman on the walking path was passing by and stopped in front of me. She took out her headphones and asked if I was okay.  

"I am fine I just...I've just run so many miles today and I am exhaust..-" I trailed off, embarrassed that I was causing a scene. 

"Oh my goodness, it's going to be okay. Oh my gosh, you are going to make me cry. Can I hug you right now?" 

This wonderful kind woman put her arms around me and gave me a wonderful kind hug. She didn't care that I was sweaty and a mess. This lady saw someone was in pain and did what she could to comfort a complete stranger. 

This encounter encouraged me. I doubted I could go on for 7 more miles but I was determined to go on. I started running for a few steps and walking for a few more. My head was really starting to hurt. I was sweating so much it was starting to hurt my sunburned face. I ran and walked and ran and walked until I started stumbling. I cried with every step.

Before and After.

Before and After.

Sometimes runs go great. Like my Thursday track session. I flew. I literally ran my 200's faster than I ever had. 

And sometimes runs are a mix of poor planning, warm temps, and determination.

I didn't get to 18 miles, but I can honestly and proudly say that I ran until my legs and feet absolutely would not carry me any further.

 

And I got a nice hug out of it too. 

A 16 Mile Run That Wasn't (America)

It's was supposed to be a 16-mile run. It was supposed to be difficult but rewarding. I was ready. I had spent all day hydrating and stretching and was excited to crush it. The run was going to take place the morning after my 28th birthday. I specifically planned my birthday dinner to be the correct mixture of carbs and protein.

So when I found myself later that night riding the porcelain bus, needless to say, it wasn't part of the plan.  

I woke up (on time) hoping it was just a bug, but was disappointed to find myself somehow feeling worse. I texted my run buddy that I was bowing out and fell back asleep, hoping to wake up ready to run 16 miles. 

I did wake up, slightly less sick but infinitely more determine. I laced up, Vaselined up, and filled my Camelback with sweet ice water and set out. I decided to run around my neighborhood instead of heading into town like I normally do. There's a route that is 8 miles with a few hills and some great mountain views. I planned on doing two laps.

Keyword there is planned. 

I got down my street...and seemed to run out of gas. I started running again, only to start walking a short time later. I couldn't get a good rhythm. I fought off waves of nausea. My playlists didn't motivate me. I was tired and I felt crummy. 

Emma called me during her mile 15 and my mile 5. She sounded so strong while all I wanted to do was cry. I was so slow and I didn't know how I was going to make it. My stomach wasn't happy and my right calve was not happy about me running. She gently reminded me that running after food poisoning was a huge accomplishment and to not push it with an angry calf.  

"You look so strong!" she told me. I replied that it was impossible for her to know what I looked like. 

"Well, you sound strong."

I guess I was. I should have probably not even left the house or gotten out of bed. This wasn't going to be the run I wanted, but it was the run that I fought for. every single mile was a victory.

 

I painfully and slowly made it through miles 6 and 7. At 7 and a half I started dry heaving At mile 7.75 I started walking. As I stepped on the porch, I met my husband who met me with some water. 

"I didn't make it 16 miles," I said, defeated. 

He smiled. "8 is close enough."

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