Sunday, January 27, 2013

Excuse me, have you seen my legs/sanity/social life/dignity? No? K thanks.

I have been officially training for the USA Rock 'n' Roll Marathon for over 4 months now.  On September 19, 2012, I texted Lizbeth to ask her if I could run a marathon and raise money for the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund in her honor, and she said yes.  I had already started training the week before, just to make sure I could get back into running (I haven't done a race since November 2010), but that day I went for my first official training run.  

The thing about training for a marathon is that it is twice as long as a half-marathon.  Shocking, right?  I've only ever run half-marathons and shorter races, so I have no idea why it's been so surprising to me that all I do these days is eat, sleep, eat and run.  And don't get me wrong, I am so thankful every day that I can do these things.  But I do have a few observations to make.  

If you're in touch with me at all, you've probably heard me say something along the lines of, oh no sorry I can't do (fill in awesome social event that will surely be the best thing ever) because I have to run (that day, that night, the next morning) or will be recovering from a run (all day, all night, for the next week).  As my co-lunatic in marathon training, Emily Herron, so eloquently put it today, "Running ain't a pretty sport.  That's fo sho."  

That being said, 317.1 miles later my feet are not lookin' so pretty.  My blisters are putting out the welcome mat for new friends to join them on every run.  I had no idea you could get a blister on a blister (on another blister).  I was not aware that your face turns into one giant crust of salt after a 15 mile run.  Thank goodness the deer haven't found me out yet.  Terrifying.  I was also naive to the fact that hitting the mythical wall that runners speak of goes much less like hitting an actual brick wall and much more like this:

*running, running, feeling good, oh look a blue bird, running, oh hey there fellow runner I can kind of lift my hand to wave at you, running, running, running, running in less of a straight line, running, officially swaying, holycrapmyentirebodyjustturnedintolead, iwasnotawareleadcouldcramp, dearlordpleaseletmebeclosetotheendWHAT5MOREMILESNOOOO!!!, walking, walking, walking, hurts more to walk than run, run/limping/run/limping, sucking it up and running the rest of the way, collapsing into car and chugging electrolyte drink, seeing straight again, swearing you will never do another long run.  ever.  ok maybe you will just figure out a better eating/refueling plan but that really sucked.*

Anywho, sometimes running is amazing, and sometimes it is downright awful.  It really just depends on the day (and about 5,000 other factors that you have very little control over).  My run today was a 16 miler that was about 14.5 miles of glorious running and 1.5 miles of wall-hitting doom.  I usually do my long runs on Saturdays, but because of the glorious ways of mother nature, the trail was covered in ice and I was sidelined until today.

And THANK GOODNESS I waited a day, because instead of ice, I got to run though ice AND slush AND mud today!  Weeeee!!  We pulled up in the parking lot, and I immediately started crying (Patty I hope you are reading this because I am over-sharing again!).  This is how I deal with things that a. terrify me b. take up my entire day c. make me think of sad things d. I know will surely be painful and I have to do alone.  

Brian gave me the side-eye and tried, in his ever-loving way, to say something helpful to convince me that it would be fine and that I could do it, even though I know he was thinking, dear lord women are so so crazy and I've got a real special one here.  

I sucked it up and got out of the car and started wandering the parking lot trying to get a signal on my gps watch (another one of my favorite procrastination techniques).  As I was standing there, I noticed another woman decked out in running gear looking around.  She saw me and walked over and asked me if I was doing a long run.  She was waiting for a friend to do HER 16 mile run at about the same pace as me.  I was secretly trying to figure out how to ask her if I could run with her without looking like totally desperate weirdo, when we realized her friend was not showing up.  I told her I would run with her if she didn't mind, and off we went!  

We met up with another friend of hers after about 7 miles, and we chatted as we dodged puddles and sheets of ice.  These two ladies were true life-savers, because I know I would not have made it to the ill-fated mile 14.5 without them!  I'd be stuck back at mile 8 feeling sad that I hadn't kept going and even more sad that my feet were wet.

As the wall-hitting began, I told them to run ahead so they wouldn't see the insanity of my swervy-running/leg/arm/back cramping self, and I hobbled along to mile 15.8, where I saw them along with Brian, walking toward me (and even applauding me).  I'm pretty sure Brian was there because of the delirious text I sent him that went something like this:  "mile 15.2 diizzay but almost Donna be you soon." The wall had been hit.

When we all made it back to the parking lot, I passed up a gracious invitation to hit up the IHOP with my new running buddies (I will definitely not pass that up again!), and on we went to the Bo Jangles.

So we pass the Bo Jangles every time we drive to the Tobacco Trail to run, and I've always been intrigued by this place.  Despite the cajoling by several southern natives and a few northern converts, I've never actually eaten there.  Until today.  

Because of my non-functional legs, I sent Brian in with the instructions to get me chicken, biscuits and mashed potatoes if they had them.  He came back with all that AND sweet tea!  

And holy cow that tea was sweet.  I think my teeth are still sore.  For as much as I eat fast food (rarely) and especially fast food fried chicken (pretty much never), I am no expert on this stuff, but I will say the chicken was good (although a bit greasy).  The biscuit, however, tasted like it had been dipped in salt.  On the plus side, it made the sweet tea taste much less sweet.  Brian loved it.  I was initially disappointed that they hadn't put any gravy on my mashed potatoes, until I realized that the top inch of white stuff in the bowl WAS the gravy.  Interesting.  

Overall, I will have to say that the next time I eat fast food (rarely) and fast food fried chicken (pretty much never), I'd be ok with getting my chicken from Bo Jangles.  And maybe they have something else to drink besides sweet tea.  But probably not.  (My next career will NOT be food blogging, if you hadn't already guessed...).

Don't forget- If you'd like to donate to support the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (to honor Lizbeth, another person affected by cancer, or in support of my run) you can do that here:

:)  Peace and Love, 


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