Whether you believe you can or you believe you can't, you're probably right. -Henry Ford
The long run always seems deserving of its own post. But I tend to skew towards the happy parts as that is my tendency in well, life. So as I out running for nearly 3 hours, I have a lot of time to contemplate the roller coaster ride of going long.
I leave work at 7:30p.m. last night and go down Old Alabama instead of taking 400 home because I want to stop at Riverside Pizza on the way home. It's $5.99 for a pepperoni pizza and they are ready to go 95% of the time. I pick up 2. One to split with Adam for dinner, one for my post-run snacking.
I eat 4 slices, drink a ton of water, eat an ice cream sandwich, and watch 2 hours of Big Bang Theory before heading upstairs. I get sucked back into an embarrassingly cheesy book I've borrowed for free from Amazon Prime called One Lavender Ribbon. Eventually, I try to fall asleep.
Toss and turn all night.
I take the dogs out at 5:00a.m. and feel extremely groggy. NPR drifting through the alarm at 6:00a.m. wakens me. Three snoozes later, I force myself to roll onto the floor. Feed the BTs, drink 3 day old refrigerator coffee, and slurp up a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios with almond milk. Almond milk because it bides the time when I'm lazy and we're out of regular milk.
I put on my Brooks pink running skirt, grey running tank, and lace up my men's Mizunos.
While walking down the path at the Greenway, my right quad and hip are angry. My feet feel sore from getting used to the concrete floors they added during our remodel at work--that gross tile from the old Marshall's was surprisingly more supportive.
Hush up cranky body, do you know what kind of gift it is to run in 60 degrees in July in Atlanta?!
I know I have a penchant for being like Garfield when it comes to mornings.
I run up a small hill to cross the road just before the 4 mile marker. This section is the furthest FT and I have run together and I needed his comeback mojo to slap me across the face. I'm not a spiritual person, but I suppose the running gods were listening. I came flying down the other side of the road fully caffeinated.
RP and I were texting last night about my run today. I thought about taking my own advice along the sunny stretch of mile 5 and smiled wide. My mind wandered to other Loopsters--the HTC team that's slowly starting to build in anticipation, KEK and KRG who are tackling their first ultras this year, and Col. Cupcake, who never fails to give me a hard time about not hugging him enough in Rehoboth.
I ran a little bit further than mile 5 and stopped for a vanilla Gu and selfies at the turnaround.
I ran back down the open sunny stretch and felt the urgent gurgle of my stomach. A wide open field on one side and a barbed wire fence on the other. No choice but to book it for the next mile and a half. I rode the crappy roller coaster the whole way there--speeding up with each pang. Normally I enjoy a good lollygag at the intersection coming back, but I flew up the hill to catch the light.
To those at the Fowler Park ladies room this morning, my apologies.
I filled up my water bottles at the pit stop and went sloshing back down the path. Nothing much to note in miles 8-11. I was feeling more awake and ticking off the miles, so well, progress.
As I got to mile 11, I stopped for another vanilla Gu, but no selfies. One more out and back and I would be done. I had a vague idea of my pace thus far because I had stopped my watch, but I was forcing myself to avoid looking at any of my splits until I was through. The fear of going too fast or too slow is avoidable if I just run by feel. And who am I to put limitations on my running?
But I started to feel worn out and desperately in need of that second wind when I started plodding through mile 12. How in the world can Mild, Kraig, Kynan, Laura, Gumbo, John Wayne, etc. run races of 100 miles over mountains? I started to call myself a sissy, but then quickly tried to rearrange my thoughts into focusing on my own accomplishments. I'll let them inspire the bejesus out of me, but I won't compare myself to them.
A little wind picked up in an open patch and my wandered to thoughts of Shamrock. Lisa fighting hard through those final miles. Shivering at the start with Angie and Jenster. Misti's awesome tutu--full of life and fun--just like her. Seeing smiling Erin just running her bazillionth race of the year. The smiles of Sass and Mrs. Sass as they accomplished amazing feats.
Of course Timber comes piping through my ear buds right at this time and I cannot help but to actually laugh out loud at mile 13. Like #jillison is right there running with me and Sweet Mags is ready for a dance battle.
I refill my water bottles again and jaywalk across the street to the path. My runner math gets wonky and I'm having in inconceivable time trying to figure out how I have almost 8 miles left, but I'm on pace to run a sub 2:40 20 miler. (My potty break added nearly an extra mile.)
The sun is rising and starting to break through the trees. I think about my sunrise 10K with Dave, RP, and Kraig. Gosh, I cannot believe it took me so long to get my dumb@ass to a Loopfest. I'm also super thankful that I got to be roomies with Peg on my first adventure. Her palpable excitement that night will forever remind me to race with my heart.
I'm headed for the open stretch again. I feel a little whiny now that the sun is making things warm. Another smile breaks when I hear Jesus is Just Alright. My dad has gotten to know the keyboardist from the Doobie Brothers and just so happened to have dinner with him last night. Most of my playlist is top 40, but the Doobies are one of the few classic rock infiltrators.
Okay Carissa, you can muster through another 10K.
I approach the last turnaround--mile 16--with a terrible pain growing in my left shoe. I take a guess that my shoe is too loose when I tug on it a bit. So I pull on the laces around the center of my foot and retie my shoe. Salted caramel Gu time.
I often see geese on the open stretch, but it just so happened that What Does The Fox Say? started playing as an alternative homage to Roger.
Is it creepy how much I think of my internet friends while running?
As I get past the last road crossing, I know I'll be out of the sun soon and that I have less than 4 miles to go. A girl passes in the opposite direction that looks like the winner of the half-marathon I ran on the Fourth of July. She's running hard. It looks enticing. I pick up the pace a bit.
I crest over a small bridge and there is a guy stopped about 20 paces ahead of me. He looks back briefly as he eases into the pathway. He's wearing a knee brace that comes undone briefly and he awkwardly fixes it while running. I come within about 5 paces and stay on his heels for about 2/10ths of a mile. He's running probably an 8:00 pace, but I just want to pass him. I quash the feeling until I know I can give us a bit of distance once I pass.
Then I pass him.
A surge of adrenaline keeps me plugging away and I feel incredibly good. Mile 19 buzzes and I am amazed at what is happening. 2 miles is too far to kick too hard, but I relax my shoulders and let my legs do the work. I ease up just a tad at mile 20. Just 5280 feet to go.
The last mile is a blur and then it is over. I hit stop on Penelope and my body. I feel fuzzy, salty, sweaty, sore, and satisfied.
Jackson Hole, I don't know what plans you have for me. You might humble the bejesus out of me as I flail about at elevation. You might be mediocre as HTC and a week of Yellowstone chips away at my endurance. Or I might come slay you--I believe I can.