You've all been asking how I'm feeling, how training is going, how many miles I'm up to, etc. And of course I'd respond with my standard "Lovely! Fabulous! Terrific! Stupendous!". I've been wondering how many of you actually believe me. But seriously, everything has been great. It's like a bad movie, where it's all just going a little bit too well.
It was bound to happen. That really ugly and painful day where I might start to crack. So 16 miles. A nasty little bunch. Actually, the first few were pretty enjoyable- we started in Marina and ran to Sand City (have you ever wondered where that trail along Hwy. 1 goes? Yeah, me too.) We had a good pace going - probably a little too strong - but I was feeling good, so why not? Umm... yeah. So after we turned around in Sand City and headed back, I realized that the reason I probably felt so strong on the way out was that a good portion of miles 1-8 were downhill. Which means that a good portion of 8-16 were uphill. Nothing steep, just enough of a grade to make you notice. I was still going... through mile 14 I just kept at it, maintain a steady pace, stop to hydrate & eat, just keep going.... And then at mile 14 something hit me.
A few weeks ago our coach was talking about the Gremlin - that little voice in your head that tells you to just give it up, this is too hard, you've come far enough... Well my Gremlin is alive and well, and happened to catch me at the end of Saturday's run. I carried that ugly little guy on my shoulders for two miles. The longest two miles that I've run in a good long while. It took every ounce of willpower, sheer force, and determination that I had to finish the run. I won't even describe those last two miles as running - actually more of a shuffle. Or plodding. Definitely not running. With one mile to go, I was at the Marina State Beach. Stopped for a quick drink of water at the fountain and actually contemplated just lying down on the ground for a nap. Or to die. Whichever might happen first. But I continued. One step after the next, and finally got back to the finish. And I keep telling you all how good it feels to stop after a long run... well - for some reason stopping on Saturday HURT. Every muscle, every bone, even my skin, hair, fingernails... they all were very very angry. And what was I thinking??? The marathon is TEN MILES LONGER THAN THIS. You'll never make it. Oh that Gremlin. He's sneaky.
So that was two days ago. And two days later, I feel fine. I actually recovered pretty quickly - a sandwich and a nap and I was pretty much back to normal. In the aftermath, I know that I probably started off too strongly, which didn't help in the end. And I did not get nearly enough sleep last week. And was just a wee bit too sure of myself. Probably lots of things contributed, but what's important is that I made it. And I'll do it again next Saturday - nobody ever said this would be easy. 16 miles is the longest distance I've ever finished, so I have plenty to be happy about. This is more than training my body - its about training my mind too. But seriously, to quote one of my teammates... "holy crap."