So this week is "Hell Week" in marathon training. It's the week with the highest mileage. It includes a day with a 9-10 mile run. I had a couple vacation days to burn so I scheduled the vacation days on the two days during the week that I had the longest run. This way I didn't have to get up insanely early to run long before work or stay out insanely late trying to get in a long run after work. What a brilliant plan!
The first vacation day was terrific and went off without a hitch. Then I went to work for one day and came home looking forward to my next day off when I would sleep in late, get up to leisurely coffee, take my long run when I felt like it, come home, clean up and do crafts until it was time to get my hair done. Then come home and make Kris a nice dinner. Perfect day.
Not to be. I was woken up that morning by a bad head ache! I tried to go back to sleep and 'sleep it off'. But I couldn't fall back to sleep. I thought maybe it was a caffein headache like I get sometimes if I miss my morning cup. So I got up to have coffee. But my head hurt worse if I sat up. So I laid down. It's hard drinking coffee while you are horizontal.
I was calculating what time I could start my run and still make it back in time to be ready for my hair appt. I had to be hitting the pavement by 1pm. I had a few hours. So I tried to drink water in case it was a dehydration headache which I am prone to. I couldn't take my usual IB Profin because our coaches tell us not to take that on our long run days because they fear kidney damage. So I hoped the headache would go away.
I fell back asleep and when I woke up, the headache was almost gone. So I sat up. The headache came back immediately and with a vengeance! So I laid back down and thought of ways I could still make the run. By 1:30 I decided, I would try running after my hair appt. I would still be running after dark. But not for that long.
The time for the appt was approaching and I still couldn't sit up without my head hurting again. I had fallen asleep again too. I think my body was just beyond tired. Finally, with only an hour before my appt time, I declared defeat and canceled the hair appt.
I thought my body must be fighting something. So I told it, "Look body, I really appreciate all you have done to get me here. You amaze me! But the fact is, we're in hell week and we will complete hell week because there is no way I am doing a 20 mile run on Saturday without my weekly mileage under our feet. So I don't know what you are dealing with today but you have to straighten it out before tomorrow because we are running our 9 miler come hell or high water! Get it? We are running long tomorrow wether you feel good or not. And you know I'm serious too!"
Sometimes you just need to give yourself a little tough love.
So the next day my alarm went off at 5am to do a morning run. My body (my hand specifically) grabbed the clock and threw it across the room where it promptly exploded into a million tiny pieces. I don't remember doing that. But when I woke up to shards of alarm clock on my side of the room, I put two and two together.
So it was going to be a long run after work eh?
I am always exhausted after work. So my plan was to try to take it easy. Not to bust my head on anything that wasn't an absolute priority. And to try to not stress any more than possible. I was doing pretty good until late in the day when an irate call was escalated to me. The caller was so abusive, the worst I have ever had. I had to basically hang up on him. I hated that. But the worse thing was, I'm sure I could have gotten him straightened out if he'd give me the chance. Then he called back and threatened one of my employees. That didn't make me look forward to running in the dark by myself that night. Oh well. One strike against running after work.
I meant to take a break to change my clothes about 20 minutes before my shift was done so I could start running as soon as possible. But I got a last minute phone call and besides, the last few minutes of the shift is the best time for my lead to touch base with me. So by the time we were done handling what we needed to it was more than half an hour past my target start time. I was going to get home very late! Strike two against running after work.
So I swung by the gym and changed, locked up my bag and headed out. I was an hour past my target start time. I was definitely going to be running after dark, but I purposely brought my best flasher so the cars could see me on the road. (There's a couple spots without sidewalks).
So I headed straight for the McCoy trail so that I could run past that skunk (I have ran into him a couple times) in the day light so I could see him coming unlike the first time I saw him. On the way to the trail I ran into a really nice guy with two super sweet dogs. Great right? Usually, but this guy was a talker! I am partial to talkers 1) because I usually am one and 2) many talkers are just lonely. I have been lonely in my time and I know how much a little nice conversation even with a stranger can be a big deal. So I stopped to spend a little conversation with him. Making me later on on my run. But I did end the conversation after a few minutes and got under way.
With not even enough time to warm up after I left the nice man, my mother-in-law calls me. I had already had missed about three calls from her the past week and I knew this was our best chance to touch base. Strike number three? No, I can run and talk on the phone. That's why they made handsfree sets. :)
Had a lovely chat with my MIL. She is such a sweetheart! But when I hung up, it was dark. So I grabbed my favorite flasher which I have only had occasion to use once before and promptly dropped it on the sidewalk.....and broke it! No flasher. I would now be invisible on the dark stretches of road with no sidewalks. [Insert explicative here]. Maybe I should loop it back to the gym and call it. I had only gone 2-3 miles. No. I'm pressing on.
I plotted out a plan to run on streets that I was familiar with and trails without cars as much as I could. When I made it back to the gym, I would finish any left over distance on the treadmill (or 'deadmill' as I refer to it). I was hoping I could cover more than half the miles by the time I get back to the gym because dead mill time sucks.
So I ran out this multi-purpose trail which has no lights, but it also has no cars and at that time of night no other people. It ended up being my favorite part of the run. There's something neat about running in the dark. The sky was clear and the air crisp. It was lovely.
I called Kris to let him know where I was and we chatting for quite awhile. By this time I had decided to run for two hours. That would get me really close to my goal and still get me home at a decent time. So I shared that with Kris. I decided to run on the road that parallels the airport. That was a good long stretch and I could probably finish my remaining time going back and forth on that. (Anything to avoid the deadmill!) And I wouldn't have to worry about cars. That road is barely used at night.
Wrapping up the long story, at the two hour mark I was only one mile away from goal. How could I not finish the final mile?? So I did. I made it back to the gym and had a solid 9 on my Garmin. I was thrilled!!!!!
My awesome husband went out to get me my favorite ice cream to celebrate my achievement and he had also made me a lovely dinner. Sadly, I didn't have an appetite! With two miles to go I was really hungry and realized I didn't eat enough calories that day. So I had an energy bar. I think that killed my appetite. But the good news is, I have a whole pint of Chunky Monkey waiting for me for when I finish my 20 miler on Saturday.......