This week was well on its way to being a very mileage heavy one.
Alas, as is always the case for me, injury struck again (Possibly still…)
Last Saturday I drove forever to meet up and run through the true back roads of the region with a friend, Rebecca. She’s a good friend from my running group (and the mastermind stylist behind my fly hair). When she announced that she planned to run over 40 miles in memory of her son, I told her I would be as involved as I could manage. Her son, Jacob, was killed in a drunk driving crash on Memorial Day weekend last year. He was a passenger. The loss struck his family, friends, and the community hard. It broke Rebecca. This run was a solid (Jacob would have said, “Crazy, but badass”) way for her to put her feelings into action.
Rebecca’s goal in running was to raise awareness about the dangers of drunk driving, and to remember Jacob for herself and her family.
In all she managed to run about 47 miles, ending at her son’s resting place, surrounded by friends and family. There’s no doubt that this amazing lady and her family are loved and respected. It was an honor to be a part of this day.
I was feeling stressed and worried (Things in life are making this a pretty constant condition for me lately – and, yay, I’ve gained 5lbs because of it! ). I decided to just go out and run until I couldn’t any more. I ran comfortably along a back road near my subdivision, doubled back, and grabbed a couple miles in my subdivision, hitting 10 total. As I stepped into my home to refill my water I felt good…strong… My Achilles was hurting, but who cares? I could run forever.
I sent a message to my husband while feeling the high of a good run: “I could run out to your office. I could run forever. Someone should probably stop me.”
The message back was not what I anticipated. I thought he’d say, “Take it easy on that leg.” or “Maybe you should chill out for the rest of the day.” Instead, he replied,
“Keep me posted on your progress.”
“It’s only 15 miles.”
Followed by, “If you leave now and keep a 9 min pace, you’ll get here at the time I’m getting ready to leave.”
I was forced to be my own voice of reason. “I need more water.” I sent back.
“So refill and be careful. I’ll wait for you.”
Damn. I ended up backing out and choosing to run the distance in a couple days. Weather said that it would storm on Wednesday at the time I would leave, but Thursday looked good.
It did not storm. It drizzled and then the sun came out and it was otherwise, a lovely day. I didn’t run to my husband’s office though, because we hadn’t prepped. I didn’t send a towel and clean clothes with him, and it looked like it was going to really let loose, storm-wise, any minute.
I don’t have a problem with rain, mind you. A run in the rain during the hot summer months is actually really nice. It’s the lightning and potential electrocution that I don’t appreciate.
The day was sunny and hot and very humid. Not ideal for a long run, but not awful. I sent a message to my friend Minh, asking if he wanted to run out and meet up with me on my run to keep company for a while. He said that he was still thinking about getting a 13 mile run in. I talked him into joining me from the start of mine at my home.
“You’ll easily get 13 miles on my run.” I said. He didn’t commit to it right away and I started the bribe; “I’ll buy your beer at the end.”
“Where is the office?” He finally asked.
“Hmmmm. Hyde Park beers…. I’m in.”
I am a terrible person. Poor Minh.
About an hour before he was going to show up, he sent a message pointing out “thunderstorms at 3.” I called him a sissy and sent him a photo of the weather from my weather app, showing sunny all the way through to the evening. The run was on.
We left from my home, and detoured through the subdivisions to avoid the most unsafe portions of the main road. The sun was in and out of the clouds, but the humidity was like having a moist, hot towel wrapped around your mouth to make it hard to breathe. I was soaked through by sweat before we ever hit mile 3.
Miles 3 -7 found us on the main 4-lane roadway, and starting the descent toward the river cities. It was hot, and there was no shade cover from the sun here. At mile 7, about an hour into the run, we stepped into the blissful air conditioning of a grocery store to refill our water bottles. Minh complained about the heat, I made fun of him for not living up to his heritage. He recounted how odd it was for him to go through a bottle of water as fast as he did. Hell. I’ve run 4 miles around my home and gone through a whole water bottle because of how hot it was out.
From mile 7, we had a nice, long down-hill with no sidewalks and questionable shoulders to run on. By mile 9, the sidewalks reappeared, I needed to refill my water bottle again, and the sky was betraying plans for an epic storm.
“I hope the storm blows past us,” my husband messaged me back after I updated him on our location. “There’s reports of hail just west of you”.
I encouraged Minh that we should haul a little ass, but was quickly shut down by a train.
The train took forever to pass us, and by the time it did, an angry drizzle was starting. Barely around the block, the rain started to pour hard. We paused under a train tressel to try and wait the storm out.
“Great idea,” My husband responded to the update about why we were held up again, “hide from the electricity under a giant metal box.”
We didn’t hole up there long. Soon, the water on the road got high enough that drivers were able to try and splash us by driving through near the curb.
And a lot of drivers were deriving way too much enjoyment from that. The downpour eased to a drizzle again and we took off. Lightning was still striking around us, making me go just a little bit faster.
Mile 11 had us crossing the Ohio River and taking a small detour to do “hero” poses in the mists.
(And to refill my water bottle again.) Now it was time to get serious and start the climb up to Eden Park. We opted to cut through downtown and start up the hill about in the same place the Queen Bee Half Marathon: from the casino. I think I heard Minh cursing my name as we went up the hill, but he was too far behind me for me to really tell.
My husband’s office is located just within a block of of the Flying Pig marathon/half marathon split location. As Minh and I started up the hill to Eden, my husband dropped the news on me that we were all going to a happy hour down the street from his office, and that he’d send me the information soon.
I’m soaking wet! From rain. And sweat. By mile 14, I couldn’t open my phone anymore. It wouldn’t recognize that I was tapping a number on the screen, and for reasons I don’t understand, it refused to recognize my thumb print. We got to the very top of “the hill”, where we just had a block to go to get to my husband’s office. Minh collapsed on the ground and moaned.
While he lay there, I finally managed to curse my phone into working and got the name of the place and street the happy hour was at… but I still didn’t know where that was. Do we run back the way we came? Is it a few more blocks forward? Am I going to have to carry Minh there?
While Minh rolled and moaned and left a sweat print in the shape of his body on the ground, a fire truck drove past, and I happened to catch the look a firefighter in the truck made as he saw some random guy rolling on the ground in obvious distress. It was that, “Well. That’s not healthy. Do I say something? Stop the truck? Oh, no, his friend with him is laughing. Maybe its nothing…” look.
I did manage to scrape Minh off the ground, and we jogged back the way we came about two blocks to get to the punch house. We found my husband and his coworkers in the basement event room, and I could hear my man’s voice over all the others as he announced, “…they’re running 16 miles to get here..”
In the end I had some really awesome drink, Minh had a good beer, we were soaked and stinky and surrounded by business folk mingling. It was…awkward… but mostly, it was very chilly. My husband told every person, including the bar tender, about our trek from home to their as a training run. I introduced Minh as my friend, he corrected me each time, saying that he was an “ex-friend”. He told me that he stopped being my friend around mile 3.
That’s fair. He didn’t realize that the distance we were running was actually 16.5 miles. I stopped telling him how far we were at mile 14… and luckily his GPS died.
I was completely set to wake up and run with the group – which was set to go 10 miles. But then my Achilles swelled to the size of a golf ball and was really feeling painful. I bowed out of the morning run, thinking that if I could get it to stop hurting some, I would run a little in the evening.
So far, Thursday was the last day I’ve run. I still have a knot in my Achilles, despite rolling the calf and foot and the knot itself. I’m not sure what the deal is, or why this is suddenly my injury of the season, but its here, and clearly it wants to stay.
I’m feeling fat now. And sluggish. I haven’t lost any fitness, but I sure feel like I have. I wanted to get into some 5ks this month…especially this weekend, since it’s the holiday, but I don’t want to destroy this tendon. That would end this marathon challenge I’m working on.
And that’s my running week. I’ve got a couple of adventures to write up, but otherwise, I’ve just been trying to break this knot in my ankle area up and get back to running some speed.