22 August 2009

Ten Miles? Check!

This girl - or rather an older, wiser, fitter, version of this girl - ran ten miles this weekend. I know. I too needed a moment to fully absorb that but I promise it happened. I can't say it was intentional, but it wasn't quite accidental either. I ran because I had no choice.

The goal for the day had been to run eight. I visualized that during my pre-run ritual. I tried to conjure my sense of accomplishment as I forced myself to drink water (very difficult for me in the mornings), ate my wheat toast, and drank a cup of coffee. I tried to form a time-improvement strategy as I holstered my water bottles and checked my electrolyte arsenal. I arrived at the run without pains, aches, or hesitation. And then came the largest jump of the season.

I had run six miles for three or for consecutive weeks. I'd run seven miles for the last two. And while the schedule told me we were to do 9 - 11, I really thought I could get away with eight. I mean the race is still seven weeks away. But apparently it's time to get serious. The options Saturday morning were 10, 14 and 16. Naturally, I went with my best option for survival. And I ran ten miles.

We ran underneath the Golden Gate Bridge, down to Baker Beach and over to Ocean Beach. It was cold, misty, and the kind of gray that marries the ocean to the sky. We ran to Lands End, along the Ocean, through some woods and onto a trail. And just like that, I was a trail-runner. I'm not sure if I'm a fan - there are a lot of things to avoid and I got a lot of sand in my sneakers. There was a set of built / carved stairs that we couldn't run but that were an endurance challenge all by themselves. There were high, natural walls and low, jagged rocks. It was an adventure. And I ran through it all.

I treated myself to two gummy sharks at a rest stop. I got a cramp less than a mile away and swore off that stuff for good. I stuck to my shot block & Gatorade regimen. I kept my breathing steady and my stride short. I felt good until right about the time I realized I only had a mile to go. Suddenly everything hurt. I had a shin split. My thighs were on fire. There was an itch on the side of the big toe of my right foot. I was just tired. And I still had one hill to go.

The ten miles took me 2:16. I ran 95% of the way, walking up/down the stairs and up part of that hill pictured above. It's remarkable, even if I have to say so myself. I was still standing when it was over, and the idea of eating almost made me sick to my stomach. I followed the nutritionist's advice though, and ate just a banana and pretzels (to replace potassium & sodium lost in sweat) and went home. I never got stiff and was barely sore on Sunday. I don't know if it'll be easy to duplicate my success. But I plan to ride this wave for at least a week.

Reminder: I'm running in the Nike Women's Marathon as a fundraiser to fight Leukemia & Lymphoma. Please support me by donating here. The donation deadline is October 1st.

Thank you!