Gone to Run 20 Miles. BRB.

I thought about leaving that note for Scott on Saturday morning. The “BRB” being a fine example of comic understatement, of course. Yes, I’ll “be right back,” all right…after an hour of driving (round trip) and three hours plus of running (round and round trip). Tehe. Well played, Megan.

Two reasons I didn’t leave that note: (1) Scott already knew I was running 20 miles (he likes to know how far my long runs are so he knows when to start getting worried) and (2) I couldn’t find a pen. Pens have a way of wandering in our house. If it’s not me sticking them in my purse and leaving them at work, it’s the cats knocking them under the refrigerator.

So. No note.

I did run 20 miles with the Marathon Expert on Saturday morning, though. I was very surprised by the number of other runners out on the trail. Most were well-equipped with high-tech dryfit running ensembles. Then, of course, there were the three high school kids who apparently met in Travelers Rest and ran south on the trail…in shorts and sweatshirts. Those poor boys were going to be in for a nasty shock when they turned around and realized they’d been running with the wind. Someone needs to teach them THE FIRST RULE OF KANSAS RUNNING: always know which direction the wind is blowing. It is much better to be cold the first half of the run and warm and toasty as you finish, rather than have the sweat you worked up freeze as soon as you turn into the wind. It’s not usually a big deal in South Carolina, but it was much colder running towards TR on this particular weekend.

I was also surprised to discover a decomposing jack-o-lantern and a Christmas tree in the trail parking lot. Really? Who still has a jack-o-lantern? That’s just gross! And what makes you think that this random, gravelly parking lot is the perfect place to discard your used holiday decor? The parking lot doesn’t even have a trash can, which is something I see as a major oversight. I’ve picked up less considerate trail users’ empty water bottles and used gel packets before…but I’m not about to touch that rotting pumpkin.

Thirteen miles into our run, I completely jinxed us. I can hardly believe the words came out of my mouth, but I found myself saying, “I’m really surprised how much easier training has been this time.” ME mumbled something noncommittal…first, she’s fighting through a cold so I doubt much about our very cold long run felt “easy,” and second, we don’t call her the Marathon Expert for nothing. A couple of miles later, she asked for a walking break. She was bummed but really feeling terrible, so we decided that she would continue walking while I ran up to TR for the second time and then I’d pick her up on my way back. When we met again at mile 18, my legs were in the process of staging a major protest. With a half a mile to go, gravity was definitely exerting a stronger force than normal…and no, I don’t care that that’s physically impossible.

As soon as we stopped, every major muscle group in my legs began to SCREAM. Um, wow. WOW. A bit grumpy after three hours of running in the cold, are we? Would you like to stick around and stretch a bit? Heeding the immediate chorus of NO’s, I climbed into my car and left ME and the holiday decor graveyard far behind.

So. One “big one” down, one to go. When I run 22 in a couple of weeks, I’m hoping to feel better, longer. It will be my last chance to experiment before the real deal. Was the mutiny of the lower extremities completely owing to the chilly temperatures or could I have done something different to help myself out? More Shot Bloks? A bigger breakfast? More water? Alternating between water and gatorade? There are a lot of variables…and not very much time left…I can’t believe I just ran 20 miles again…I can’t believe the marathon is four weeks from this Saturday…oh, boy.

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5 responses

  1. I’m so excited. SO. EXCITED. Woohoo for 20 miles. Maybe you should get recovery socks and wear them during long runs. Just throwing out ideas I read on other blogs. 🙂

  2. LOL! I’m glad someone is excited. Me? I’m in some form of denial. I can’t BELIEVE I’m about to try this again in about a month! Oh…wait. I already said that. Wow. Denial + short term memory loss. Scary!

  3. As your only brother with an engineering degree and therefore more physics than you I would like to point out the following (which you will find is both meant to insult you and support you as the loving brother I am).

    Ahem. It IS in fact possible that gravity could have all of a sudden exerted a stronger force on you. While it is a well known fact that at sea level gravity causes an object consisting of matter to move toward the gravitational center of the earth at an acceleration of 9.81 m/s^2, it is lesser known that as a runner nears 20 miles of continuous movement at a speed greater than 5 mph they become more dense but retain roughly the same amount of volume. Evidence of this can be seen as thoughts bond more tightly together and have less variance (I need a cheeseburger, I need a cheeseburger, I need a cheeseburger) AND they increase in frequency but are confined to the same tiny space in one’s head. If you’ll think back to your basic equation of mass (Mass = Volume x Density) you will see that as density goes up and volume stays constant, mass goes up. This is significant because as God kindly set up, Newton kindly discovered, and Physics I for Engineering Majors with Dorina Koztin kindly taught me, gravitational force is in fact the result of multiple objects’ mass acting on each other. As the mass of one of those objects grows, the gravitational force that object exerts increases. F = G * (m1m2/r^2)

    That…and there’s the 800 pound gorilla that hides at the bottom of your glycogen well. Glycogen gets depleted, gorilla runs amuck. That’s basic Runningology.

  4. Its funny, I read this on my ipod touch this morning and didn’t feel like writing out a piece about gravity on the on screen keypad and now I see its already done. So instead I’ll share a few things about myrtle beach, in case you haven’t been there before. A) the free way only runs to just a little bit after Florence so it takes like FOREVER to get there. B) its pancake flat and for we upstaters who are used to hills that is no fun at all C) the home stretch (the last 8 miles or so) on the kings hwy is low on sights and high on traffic C) it pays to have a hotel that is on the shuttle bus route D) walkers are a real issue and you are well adviced not to carry firearms lest you should want to shoot some of them. E) the first 13 miles are a joy of a course.. since most of it is the south main street. F) you WILL run past a couple of mickey dees so you can bring money for that cheese burger G) the event organizers have ALSO looked at a map and placed strategic timing mats you have cross so that you wont get tempted to take one of the MANY short cuts.. Last but not least .. ENJOY !

  5. Wow, guys. Those are some lengthy and high-quality comments. Brother — I understand the 800-pound gorilla thing more easily than the long and complicated formula. I’ll go with that. 🙂

    Flemming — we haven’t been to Myrtle Beach before. Thanks for the tips! I think I’ll be good on C and G…I didn’t come this far to cut the course! I’ll try to avoid doing anything to walkers that could get me disqualified fromthe race, and after the monster hills in Louisville I’m actually looking forward to “pancake flat.”

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