Sunday, August 14, 2011

I Will Come Back Next Week With Fury

Four weeks until my next marathon and the plan called for a 20-miler (32K) long run. As I always mix my long runs with races, I looked for opportunities to run a Half and then run 7 additional miles, or register in a marathon, and bail at mile 20. However, the only long races in the area for the weekend were a 12 continuous hours run around one loop of 1.5 miles; and a Half Marathon Trail Run. For the former, I thought I could join the runners and run my 20 needed miles, but 13 laps looked already mentally challenging (the lake loop in front of my house is 1.6 miles and I can’t do more than 2). And for the latter, I just don’t do trails. Too loose ankles, recipe for disaster.

Being definitely on my own, I designed a nice plan that could allow me to run on Saturday a 5K race with a 2-mile warm up and then 15 miles in Burke-Gilman. The plan was perfect until Friday night came along, with its social tricks, and wine; too much wine. With a night short of sleep I made the wise decision at 5am of not running the 5K. Snoozed, dozed, 8:00 a cup of coffee. Everything was moving slow. At 10, I had a brilliant idea: to run 14 miles in the neighborhood, drive to Olympia for a 10K at 6:30pm (Pasta Dash) and then go to my Coach’s Summer Party. When I started calculating the timing, and got to the “driving 80 miles for 1 hr 20 min to Olympia”, the brilliant idea looked nothing but stupid. Hubby was just cracked up that at midday I still was in bed trying to come up with something. He insisted “Sweetie, that’s OK”. At 11, the plan was completely disregarded: "Lizzie, it seems you will not run today a race, let alone a 20-miler". With a “who cares” attitude, I wandered around the house for the rest of the day doing nothing until it was time to get ready for the Summer Party.  There, when everybody was asking everybody: how far did you go today? the who-cares attitude became a guilty one. 

But there’s always tomorrow. There’s always redemption.

Sunday came and I got up as slow as I always do. Coffee, snooze, more coffee, more snooze, oatmeal in bed, snooze. At 9, I was still tossing and turning, boy if I am lazy. Hubby stopped from time to time, and smiled. At 10, I was out the door.

To have a new 20-miler experience I decided to change course and run where I have never done it before: East Sammamish River Trail. The temp was high 50’s with a forecast of mid 60’s by the end of my run. The first 5 miles were just bliss. There were enough people to feel company, but it was not crowded: bikers, runners, walkers, even skaters. The trail is remarkably beautiful with lines of stunning poplars facing the quiet and smooth river. Though it was warm, it was partially overcast and there was a very nice breeze. I felt in heaven. As I was doing an LSD the heat was not pressing much, but in the second quarter of the race I started to feel hot. At mile 10, when I turned around, I had to take my shirt off. I felt liberated and the run became easier. Thanks God for fine-looking running bras. 

Things looked different while running in opposite direction, but the beauty was the same. At mile 13 I stopped along the trail to refill my water bottles from a water fountain, and in the bathroom I practically submerged myself underneath the faucet. The water was cold and delicious. I felt in very good shape. I was comparing with other 20-milers I’ve done and today I didn’t have the mental pain that others have caused on me. Today was definitely different. Everything was so magnificent, so positive, so striking. Around mile 17 I saw again a pair of running shoes left on a bench that were there when I started my run. From the distance, they looked like very muddy shoes. Interestingly, they were bronzed shoes bolted into the bench. I learned later they were placed there in honor of Liz Duncan, runner and employee of Brooks, who was killed by a car while running. Her favorite spot to run was the Sammamish River Trail. When you learn things like this as part of your run, everything changes. Everything gets a different meaning. 

Bronzed running shoes in honor of Liz Duncan. Photo from
The Sammamish Trail ended and the last stretch was done in Burke Gilman. I picked up the pace and ended my run very strong. Called hubby: Please fill the tub with COLD water. I’ll be there in 15. 

This was one of my best 20-milers, and though I have no remorse for not racing this weekend, just wait and see. I Will Come Back Next Week With Fury. 

Coach Chuck's Summer Party. A fantastic gathering with nice company and awesome food. THANKS Chuck
A Summer Night in Western Washington. !!! Yes, bonfire!!!

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