Sunday, March 30, 2008

Hilly Hilly Wet Wet 20 Miler

Today's 20 mile training run was probably one of the hardest and most challenging runs I have done. Weather conditions were pretty much the worst I have ever ran in. It rained the whole time. And I'm not talking sprinkles, we had torrential downfalls, thunder, lightning, and a little wind. On top of that the route was VERY Hilly. I named this the suicide run earlier in the week because I knew the hills were going to kill us. Actually some of these were really mountains.

We met at 11:00am at the old Austin meat packing factory. This allowed everyone to get a little extra rest after yesterdays Spring Fling 5k. The crazies for today consisted of Brenda, Cindy, Annette, Michelle, Gary and myself. Kelly H. joined us a little later in the run. We were blessed to have Jackie and Bailey crewing for us. They were life savers. Driving the van from one stop to the next to see if we needed anything. This is how elite runners are treated! I have to say we were very lucky to have them today. They probably felt they were lucky to be in the van!

As I said earlier, this is a very hilly route. We climb a hill before we even have a mile ran. just over 2 miles in the run and we have a really big one, then a long downhill. I don't know which is worse. With the wet roads and rain, you had to be careful going downhill. The route followed Ed Haymes Road probably just over 3 miles until it connected with Lewisburg. At Lewisburg we turned left and headed towards Highway 5, then across 5 and on to Indian Head Lake where we made a loop and came right back the way we came.

This hill was about a mile or so into the run. Gary, Annette, and Michelle

After we turned on Lewisburg, it wasn't long before the rain started coming down heavier. It was actually pretty nice at first, just a light drizzle and I actually made a comment that my shoes were not even wet yet. Well, that didn't last long! As the rain increased in intensity, the road would have run off water running down it and across it. Probably before mile 5 we were soaked from head to toe. I guess the only thing that saved us was that the temperature was not too cold. It was just comfortable, probably upper 50's, maybe low 60's. I ran fairly good up until about mile 7, then I started wanting more walk breaks. The rain really was beating me up mentally.

Brenda and Cindy took off from the beginning. Gary ran probably 4 miles with us and then took off to try to catch those two. Annette and I had already planned on running this one pretty slow. With the hills and rain, that seemed to be the order of the day for me. I will have to say that on the way out I think all of us ran up every single hill. At times I would be ahead of Annette and Michelle and then I'd take a break and they would pass me. When running alone my left brain was giving me fits, wanting to walk, wishing I was somewhere else and on and on.

Michelle and Annette taking out a hill on Lewisburg

At times the run was very nice and beautiful. We were out, running in the rain and actually enjoying it at times. Some of the scenery was awesome. We ran by some donkeys that were under a shed and they were just looking at us like we were nuts. It was such a look, I had to stop and take a photo. However when I got ready to take the picture they came outside. They still just looked at us like we were nuts. I guess we were!

"them there runners must be crazy"

The girls were very good about circling back or I would catch up to them when the van would stop. Michelle was running very strong. When Kelly joined us the girls got faster so I just took my time. I really didn't care what my time was today, I just wanted to survive the run!

Gary ended up having to leave early but he was able to do half the run. He is running the full marathon at the Hogeye next weekend so he did not need 20. We ran into Brenda and Cindy as we entered the loop at Indian Head Lake. They looked good and strong like they were on a Sunday stroll. Those girls are awesome runners!

Annette, Michelle and Kelly seemed to be gaining speed or maybe I was losing it. By the time I made it to the other side of the lake I was pretty much talking to myself. My left brain was saying "I hate this" then my right brain would say "no you don't, you love running". It was just like that Nike youtube commercial. Somehow I convinced myself to keep going. Which really I didn't have much of an option at that point. The rain was really coming down again. It was probably raining 1-2"s per hour at the rate it was going. Water was running off the hills like crazy and the lake was almost flooded. We had to cross several low water bridges which soaked our feet again and again. Thank god I had the right shoes and sox today!

I got ahead of the girls again for a little while when they took a potty break at the lake bathroom. It didn't take them long to catch me. My walk breaks were getting more frequent. It wasn't that I really needed them, it just made me feel better with the miserable conditions we were having.

I did pretty good with my nutrition I think. I had bought some accelerade mix yesterday and had that in my water bottle. I would take a gu about every hour and usually an electrolyte every hour on the half. I also had some peanut butter crackers that seemed to always give me a good boost.

When we got back to Highway 5, Annette wanted to run to the store to use the potty. Kelly and I ran on. I called the van crew and told them so they went to pick them up at the store to catch them back up with us. It didn't take them too long. Probably halfway down Lewisburg on the return trip my upper quads started hurting. It wasn't intense pain but more of an aching sore type thing. Must have been all those damn hills! This started slowing me down more. I'd run for a while then I would walk a little. The girls got ahead of me again, Kelly with semi-fresh legs and then Michelle running strong. Annette was dropping some from those two at times. Then she would turn around and come run with me for a while. A few hills later my calves seemed to be tightening up. I started having flashbacks to when I got injured. I didn't want to go through that again so I would walk the hill. We saw the van crew a little later and they told us that when we turned back onto Ed Haymes Road we only had 5k left. Wow...almost done.

Well, the return trip on Ed Haymes Road was interesting. One BIG hill after another. They didn't seem as big going the other way. I told Annette that Tulsa didn't have crap at the end compared to these hills. A couple of these were so steep that running up them was almost a waste of energy. I ended up just shuffling my feet up a couple. It was easy to stop and walk though at this point. This had to be the longest 5k in history. I did not think it was ever going to end.

This is what we saw at about mile 18!

I hit mile 20 on my garmin about half a mile from the start. I was very happy when that happened. But, we still had one more BIG ass hill! Yep, one more then we were done. I didn't realize that the end was at the top till we got there. When I saw the short gravel road to the parking lot I took off in a dead sprint. I was ready to be done!

20.5 miles later, soaked from head to toe, I was a very happy camper. We all commented that if we could run this route in these conditions, we could do anything and we were defiantly ready for Nashville! I'll have to say I feel pretty good afterwards. My legs are more stiff now than sore. I'm sure I will be paying for it tomorrow. After a big steak dinner at Colton's and sinsations for desert, it made it all worth it. Yep, we must be crazy to be doing this. But the feeling after you have completed a challenging run like today is priceless! That's why we do it!!!

I almost forgot, but the stats are not that great but here they are. I won't list all the splits.
Total Wet and Hilly Miles - 20.5
Average pace - 12:06
Total Time - 4:07:59
Calories burnt - 2599
Average heart rate - 159

An under 5 hour marathon is doable!


Susan said...

Wow, Arland, you did a FANTASTIC job in some very adverse conditions! Look out Nashville!

cheryl said...

Wow, great job! That last picture of that hill made me cringe! You should do great in Nashville after those horrible coniditions.