So I ran 18 miles this morning. It went really well, except for the part where it rained and I couldn't see out of my glasses, and the part where the rain turned to sleet and I was getting pelted in the face with ice pellets, and the part where the wind was so strong I was practically running backwards, and the part where I tripped and fell so hard I thought I'd have to quit my run early.... but other than those things, it was a great run! *insert cheesy thumbs-up here*
Allow me to break the run down chronologically:
Perhaps the 2 most difficult miles in the whole run. It was insanely windy, and I was running against it, and I wasn't yet warmed up, so I was FREEZING. This is when I noticed the ice pellets that were mixed in with the rain. Ummmm... ouch. It seriously hurts to get hit in the face with ice pellets. I was just hoping against hope that the entire run wouldn't be like this.
Downhill bliss. This was the descent into Springdale Cemetery, the lowest part of the route. I love running through the cemetery. Morbid? Maybe. But it's so peaceful and beautiful.
Miles 4 - 6.5
The uphill slog. She who runs down must eventually run up. So remember that nice downhill into the cemetery? I had to climb up out of it. These are always the slowest miles in any run because I like to conserve energy as much as possible.
Miles 6.5 - 9
Another downhill-uphill segment, but not nearly as intense as the earlier one. I took advantage of the long downhill slope of this one and stretched out my legs with a faster, longer stride. It felt marvelous after all the shuffling of the first 6 miles. Going back up this hill wasn't too awful, except for where the wind was pushing me back. And in case anyone's wondering, the wind was a steady 15-20 mph. Awesome.
Miles 9 - 10
Things were starting to flatten out now and I was starting to feel really good about the run. The weather sucked, but my body felt good, my feet felt good, and I was starting to feel like I could conquer anything. I believe I actually thought to myself, Wow, I am doing awesome. I could run like this all day! And apparently some higher power thought that I needed a dose of humble pie because no sooner did that thought enter my mind than I tripped on an uneven sidewalk and took a hard flying fall onto the concrete. I mean HARD. It felt like slow-motion and then I felt first my knee and then my elbow crunch into the ground. Yeowch. I picked myself up but it hurt to walk. I limped along for a few steps and then promptly sat down on a bench to collect myself. A few deep breaths and a few gulps of water later, I got up and started running again. And by "running", I mean "stiffly shuffling". It still hurt a lot. My knee was throbbing and my elbow was burning. I banged them up pretty good. I was close to the truck, though, so I knew if needed to quit my run early, I could. Fortunately, that was not necessary. By the time I got to Mile 10, the pain had mostly dissipated and I was back in business. Whew! Crisis averted!
Miles 10 - 14
Against the wind. For most of these four miles, I fought the wind. Have I mentioned how much I hate wind? Yeah, I do. But hey, I was running, and I was over halfway through my 18 miles, so I tried to stay positive.
Miles 14 - 18
The home stretch. Ahhhh... these four miles were largely with the wind, and mostly flat. I was tired, yes, but the end was near and I could smell victory. Or maybe I could smell the food cooking at Cyd's (I ran right past it). Either way, I was happy to be nearly done. I picked up the pace for the last 2 miles and finished strong.
Not too long after that, my endorphins expired and my knee and elbow started hurting again. Drat! Now that I'm home and have been able to examine them, the knee is going to have a really nasty bruise, and the elbow has a nice scrape. Badges of honour, I say. I ain't gonna let that stop me.
By the way, I tried out my new Injinji Tetratsoks for the first time today. And I'm officially in love. They are so very comfortable, and they definitely helped with the blister problem. They may look fun and crazy, but they're serious socks. For those who are concerned with not having enough room in their shoes with these socks, fear not. There was still plenty of room in my shoes with these on - it was really no different than wearing regular socks.
So here's the run:
My hear rate looks crazy high at the beginning thanks to the technical fabric of my shirt. Trust me, my heart rate wasn't actually 180 then. Technical fabrics get static-y which can throw off heart rate monitors until sweat starts to diffuse the static.
So there you have it. A successful, albeit not without its difficulties, 18-miler completed. I do believe I have earned my Florida vacation. If you need me next week, I'll be on the beach. :)
Peace. Love. Train.