Twenty Mile Monday could have easily been titled, Brutal With A Captial “B.” It was that hard.
I knew I was up against a big one when the skies opened as I waited to leave. The fact that my Garmin was dead was another good indication. In the end, I chalked up the difficult nature of the run to not only those unfortunates, but I’m pretty sure my premonitions, made in a post two days ago, jinxed me as well.
Superstitions are not a new thing for athletes. We’ve all heard of baseball players who wear the same socks for entire seasons or who chew on a certain type of gum during every game. I have learned that it is a very bad idea for me to write any sort of expectations about an upcoming run. It’s happened more than a few times now and I think I get it.
With the marathon nineteen days away, the only talk will be about the fact that it lingers and any actual running that is happening after the fact. Better safe than sorry.
For the first two hours of yesterday’s run I listened to my book. Since I don’t want to spoil anything for folks who haven’t yet read Chasing Fire, I will just say that the only smile that crossed my face (during my long four hours and fifteen minutes on the puddled roads) was when Girl on Fire put on her wedding dress and spun. I had visions of feathers and fire and pearls, which was a lovely prelude to my minds swirling images of Oscar actresses twirling in their own gowns. The description of Katniss took my breath away, much as it did when I got the first glimpse of Gwyneth in her cape and Claire at the after party.
When I realized I wasn’t paying attention to the story any longer I switched to music. But an hour of Ellie and Britney and Beyonce couldn’t block out the harsh reality that I was soaked to the bone. The Kleenex in my pockets were solid bricks of wet paper and I resorted to nose blowing on the arms of my shirt. My hands were bright red, almost purple from the cold. I tried to cover them with the long ends of my race shirt, but would let go when I noticed that the tight gripping caused new pain.
Pain in the hands could be managed by releasing the grip and opening and closing my fingers to get some blood moving. This then helped eased the tension in my shoulders. The pain in my legs was the worst and I knew it wouldn’t be remedied until I was done.
By seventeen miles I wanted to throw the white flag. I no longer cared about my time, my only objective became to finish. I tucked the ear phones into my pocket and tried to concentrate on what was happening in my body. My calves were bad. There was new pain at the inner corner of my knees. The place where my foot met my leg, not the ankle exactly, but around to the front, was sore and tight like a pulled rubber band. I knew that at this point I had no choice but to walk and take inventory of the issues so as not to injure myself further. As much as I wanted to be inside my house, warm in my tub, legs propped up on my bed, I continued the walk run until mile nineteen.
When I saw that I was almost there I didn’t stop running, even though my run was closer to a walk, a depressing fourteen minute mile slow. I hit the stop button on the Garmin at twenty and grunted like a woman in labor for the next fifteen minutes. It took time to strip off my clothes, because my hands were such a mess. I was grateful that no one was home because they surely would have been horrified. I knew I had a list of things to attend to so that I’d be able to put it all behind me. I had to keep moving.
I managed to get all the layers off save my undergarments and base top. I opened a chocolate milk and guzzled some down. In between grunts I managed to mix up a greek yogurt with honey and add some Go Lean and strawberries. Then I located the roller.
I got down on the floor after a bite and a swig and began by rolling out my left IT band. The pain was not bad, so I moved around to my left quad. Next were the right hip, IT, and quad which were better than usual. The major pain was in the calves and I yelped at the point where the roller crossed them, up and down and back again.
The one part of my body that didn’t hurt, in fact it looked radiant, was my face. Four hours of running in the elements does wonderful things for the skin. I looked rosy and clear, pretty on the outside; a complete opposite from what was happening on the inside.
I should probably label today Taper Tuesday, since it is the official beginning of the final three weeks. Instead, I’m christening it Take Care of Mommy Tuesday.
I told Sophie and she suggested that maybe I could use a wheel chair. I agreed what a great idea, but she reminded me I’d have no one to push it, since Dad will be at work and I’m too big for her to wheel around.
Who am I kidding?
A mother’s work is never done even if she did just run in the depths of hell the very day before.