Yo ho, Yo ho, a bag of ice for me. 19 miles.

This entry is a bit long…but it is a detailed account of my experience, and therefore worth the read, I think 🙂

Stats

  • 19 miles. Hey-O!
  • Some hours, a bunch of minutes, and multiple seconds.
  • Tune of choice: “Funky Town” by LIPPS Inc. (Shout out to CMU voice class of 07!)
  • # of alarms slept through: 4
  • # of times I got lost: 2 (You’d think I’d know my way by now?)
  • # of pairs of sunglasses surrendered: 1 (I had to leave them on the sidewalk when I realized I’d left them on my head. Not worth 19 miles of bobbing.)

Drink up me ‘earties, yo ho.

I knew it. I knew it when I pulled up to the church parking lot and watched as my entire team took off for the hills of Newton: This. Was. Going. To. Be. Rough. I was late, and I would have no running mates for the duration of 19 miles. But as the saying goes…

I probably should have been more cautious. Coming off a great 13-mile run the week before, I was feeling confident, but I should have had at the back of my mind, “Yes, Sheree, but the longest run you’ve done is 16 miles over 3 weeks ago. Take it easy.” I wouldn’t realize until much later that my 19-mile ambition might have been just that: ambitious.

First 7 miles: Were FANTASTIC. I was even in good enough spirits to exchange some witty banter with the lovely guys at the 2nd water stop as they fed me copious amounts of Gatorade and pretzels. (Side note: these guys are volunteers who are out there every weekend for hours even in sub-zero temps. It’s amazing!)

Mile 8: I passed my wonderful coach, Rick Muhr, who gave me a high-five. I was movin’ and groovin’ and thinking happy thoughts: I’d be turning around in a mile and a half, I’d reach the water stop again where I could indulge in some Gatorade, and I’d be “home free!” (Ha. Rude awakening in 3…2…)

Mile 12: I reached the water stop. There was no more Gatorade.

Mile 14: I passed a whole slew of stores, but not one of them indicated sale of food or liquid of any kind, unless I wanted to drink paint or eat skis. Thirsty and losing sodium.

Mile 15: I began to run against the clock (bad decision #4,396) because I wanted to catch the next water stop before they packed up and shipped out; so I opted to pass on the Dunkin Donuts to my right (bad decision #4,397). Did I mention they sell Gatorade? And food?

Half a mile later: Crashing. Pain. I had to stop to lean against a mailbox to stretch out my cramping calves. I was crying. A lovely gentleman running in the opposite direction stopped to check on my well-being. He said to me, “One step at a time. Run in increments. Small goals. You can do it.” He was right.

Mile 16: At this point, there was no way I’d catch the water stop. I had two options: Retrace the route where there were no stores? Or don’t? I took my chances with a new direction, and prayed for the best. I was still running at this point. Yay me.

Mile 16.5: Hark! Off in the great distance (at the corner), through vast forests and rolling hills (some bushes and a couple of speed bumps), I could spy signs of a magical land of goods (Starbucks).

Starbucks: As I stood in the long line, my legs were in excruciating pain and I could no longer stand. I crouched to the floor. Patrons gawked. I felt awkward as I clung onto the counter to pay for my water. The barista looked frightened, “Um. Do you need help?”  I replied, “I’m marathon training.” And there seemed to be a great sigh as the room began to understand my current state. I peed (in the bathroom; not on the counter). And I left.

Mile 17: I recorded a short video of my progress and state of being. And then my phone died. I was hurting. And limping. And crying.

From there, I had nothing left. I tried to pick up a jog, but my legs were completely out of steam. I regretfully walked/limped my last mile and a half back. But even when it seemed I had nothing left, I finished, as I’d set out to do. Sheree of old would have given up, but I have discovered something in myself I never knew existed. And I certainly take this as a learning experience: even when I feel great, I need to pace myself. And I need to get a better alarm.

Yo ho ho and a bottle of aspirin. Went home and had my first ice bath. Ouch!

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