Thursday, September 25, 2008

the pinacle of our training

Saturday we embarked on what was to be the longest run of our training program... 20 MILES!! That's like running from Pershing Square in Downtown Los Angeles to the end of the Redondo Pier in Redondo Beach... or running from Pac Bell Park to Walnut Creek.

This was our last 5 am wake up call and I was glad. We woke a bit later then normal and were slow to get going. My motivation to get out the door was unusually low; we weren't meeting with our team today and would be doing this run on our own.

Our plan for this run was to do it together... side by side for every mile. This would be good training for marathon day when we plan to run together. We had prepared enough gatorade for our water belts and for two water stops. The plan was to stock each of our cars with a cooler full of gatorade and post one at the starting line and one at the half way point.

We got out to Balboa Lake at about sunrise. We went through our usual stretch routine and then took off from the usual starting spot. Everything was as usual until we began running. Running with Jamie meant ratcheting back my speed a bit. My legs were confused by this; they wanted to go faster, but I wouldn't let them. It was a back a forth battle for the first couple miles, but my will to make this adjustment was strong and I REALLY wanted to run with Jamie.

Running along side Jamie was great. We attacked the twenty miles in three phases. The first lap was our warm up lap, and then we had two laps of running and then a cool down lap. Having this plan really helped break down the run into manageable portions.

The first couple laps Jamie feverishly struggled with her water belt. The wait of the bottles caused her belt to bounce around her waist and then inevitably up the curves of her hips to rest around her abdomen (which impaired her breathing). After messing with this thing for two laps Jamie finally gave into the notion that she did not need the belt and she could share my gatorade with me. We had plenty of gatorade at our stops and could refill every two and half miles.

We knocked back the laps one by one, and when we hit lap three Jamie erupted into song. Yeah she busted out SINGING!.. she was energetic enough to sing the Bon Jovi classic 'Living on a prayer'... "whoooooa we're half way there!" That's my girl!!

Lap three went by pretty smoothly, but when we hit lap four I began to feel a cramp in my lower calf. I was not happy about this, but I pressed on. The pain hung with me the entire last lap. I tried taking my focus off it by concentrating on other pains in my legs that I normally overcome. This worked for a few miles, but the pain kept festering on me. I was not about to give up though... 20 miles was the goal and I would not be one foot shy of it!

As the fourth lap wound down I was talking both Jamie and I through it... "this was just a cool down lap - just a nice EASY jog in". This took my mind off my pain and allowed my legs to take it easy. I heard Jamie repeat it a couple times to herself to try and convince her weary legs of a not so gloomy future.

As we approached the finish line the concrete felt smooth and sublime under my feet. Just the thought of completing 20 miles made everything wash away for me. I grabbed Jamie's hand and we rushed over the finish line together... WE DID IT!! We knocked back the longest run of our training, and we did it together. RIGHT ON BABY!.. YOU ROCK!!!

Try and keep up with me!

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