Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A little old 50K plus...


I got up just before my alarm was set to sound. That's saying something when it's set for 3:30. I set about getting myself ready for what I thought might be a painful six hours. At the direction of my 100-mile co-runner, Adam, I was to run 30 miles today. He was worried that if I didn't get in a run like this, that I'd give up when everything hurt at 70 miles.

I dressed, drank a big glass of Gatorade, ate an chocolate chip oatmeal cookie and headed out on the first of four 7.93 mile out and back laps. There was very little traffic around 4:00 as I ran down the highway. An odd car or semi here and there, but nothing much to speak of. I felt really good as I ran along the sidewalks headed out of town. Just before Main Street, I had to stop to take a sharp rock out of my shoe so it would quit poking me in the ball of my right foot. I certainly didn't want to be stabbed every other step for 30 miles. I ran out to my turn around point and ran back home with no further need to stop or walk. My first lap was done in 1:06:52.

After a longer than desired bathroom break and eating half of a peanut butter and honey sandwich, I headed west again. This time I took a water bottle with me and drank from it here and there. As I was getting used to taking a swig on the go, I walked for a few steps once or twice. After that, I had it mastered and could drink on the run. I ran out to Skyline, turned around and headed back. It was just after leaving Skyline that I encountered a friendly black and white polecat. His tail was pointed in my direction as I veered out onto the deserted highway. He ran away. I ran away. No one smelled any worse for the meet up. I completed lap two with no further mishaps. My time at the halfway mark was 2:26:25. That's when the idea that I could finish in under five hours first crept into my head. I shoved it aside as I ate a couple more cookies and drank another glass of Gatorade.

It was still dark as I began lap three. There were hints that daylight was coming, but I still needed my headlamp for visibility. I ran out of town with a fresh water bottle. I found no need for a stop as I ran along the highway. It was during the mile or so between the city limits and my turn around that I dropped a foot off the edge of the pavement twice. I guess I just wasn't paying attention. Thankfully, I didn't twist anything. I just felt stupid. I turned around at Skyline and ran back. I had to walk briefly as I approached Main Street so that I wouldn't be squished by the Ford F-250 coming from the north. Once he was out of the way, I was back up to speed and headed for home again. A stupid little dachshund barked madly as I ran past his house, but he was on a leash and had no chance at my ankles. I finished lap three with 23.79 miles completed in 3:42:43.

My last break was a quick one. I ate the rest of my sandwich and snarfed down two cookies, washing it down with the last of the Gatorade. I grabbed another water bottle and headed out the door. I had an hour and eight minutes to finish before my stopwatch clicked over to five hours. I'd been running each lap in about an hour six or an hour seven, so I knew it was possible. I walked a few steps as I finished off my second cookie, then forced my legs into a running gait. The sun was shining now and it wasn't long till my legs quit whining. Right after Main Street there was a moment of yikes! I was almost hit by a garbage truck. The driver came out of an alleyway a little more quickly than he ought to have. I yelled. He stopped. I lived to tell the story. I ran on out of town and somewhere along the way past the marathon mark. I'm going to guess it was between 4:15 and 4:20, but I can't be for sure since I didn't figure out exactly where that point was until after the fact. I hit the turn around in about 34 minutes and had 34 minutes to finish in under five hours. I don't know how, but I picked up my pace. If I was in the middle of a 100-miler, I would never have done such a foolish thing. Today, I had nothing to lose. I passed the city limits sign with exactly 18 minutes left. That's how long it had taken me to get to that point on the way out. I kicked it up a notch again. Shortly after that, though I didn't know it at the time, I passed the 30-mile mark. I ran with purpose and determination the rest of the way home. I wasn't held up by traffic lights or turning cars or anything. I turned onto Lawrence with five minutes to spare. With a little extra effort, I pulled off what I would never have imagined possible at the start of my run. I finished my fourth lap in under five hours. My time over the 31.72 miles was 4:58:35. My pace - and this is WITH breaks included - was 9:24! I'm not sure that's even possible! It's too crazy fast for me! But I'm telling you...that's what the watch said.

I walked a short cool down, stretched a bit, then stepped inside. I am sitting on ice packs as I type. I hope I can manage the steps into and out of the library basement at Barclay College when I go there to teach this afternoon.
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