My morning started out early, with the alarm going off at 5 am, and my immediate reaction to my scratchy throat was to grab my water bottle…Oh no…I don’t have time to be sick. But after weeks of not sleeping and increasing miles, I am beginning to wonder if it’s inevitable. I got up, started to get ready, and my charm ‘Be Strong” that I wore to the Fox Valley 20 miler and Chicago Marathon last year-fell quickly to the floor. I heard the ‘clink’ as it hit the bathroom floor and my heart sank. Is this how today’s 18 miler was going to go down too? With a clink, and not a BANG!? Nope, I was determined…
I came down the kitchen and had 2 vitamin C tabs along with my granola bar and 5 hour energy. I gathered my gear, and hit the road at 5:45 so I could get to Geneva Running Outfitters early enough to go over the maps and settle down.
I got to see all my amazing fellow runners, and my spirit lifted. We got our group together, and it was time to hit the trails at 0630…suddenly, my Garmin wouldn’t pick up the satellite. SERIOUSLY? I was a little nervous as last night it randomly turned on by itself, showing it wasn’t charged even though I charged it all day, and now no satellite. Argh…How does a pacer keep pace with NO GARMIN? I know my pace quite well internally thankfully, and Katy had her watch so we kept rolling.
Around mile 3 I was able to get some sort of read on it, but it was saying we were running a 9:05 pace. HAH. That’s just plain funny for me and a long run. So I just let it go. Enough quirks in the beginning of a long run can totally mess with you mentally, and I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet.
Our group consisted of maybe 20 runners to start out with, one of which was a 10 year old boy training for his half marathon NEXT weekend. His Mom was amazing, meeting us every few miles with smiles and fuel for her son. This amazing little boy talked our ears off, and kept our hearts singing…(at least mine)…I felt blessed to be a part of his group. He broke off at the 12 mile mark, and suddenly things got quiet, and a little more ‘real.’
The hill from hell as I will kindly name it hit us like a ton of bricks at mile 16. We had just stopped for the last water stop, and the Shot Blok I ate was suddenly NOT going down…I barreled up the hill, because that’s what I do, and the Shot Blok threatened to exit my increasingly upset stomach…I held it down, and although we lost most of our group at the water stop, we were almost thankful we could slow down a touch to try and regroup.
It was just Katy and I at this point, and we were hating life, and the run…we decided that mile 17-18 was the LONGEST mile ever, and I began to wonder who stole the trail from me and stuck me on a moving treadmill outside.
BUT…we kept pace…we actually were around the 10:19/10:20 pace for the entire run, and the group said “keep going” to which we accommodated.
18 miles, in 3:06:45. I’ll take it. 8 more miles to the finish line…lets pray this pace HOLDS.