Sounds like I ran a REALLY long way, doesn't it?
November 1st, I was scheduled to run the Marshall University Marathon (We are Marshall!) in West Virginia with my friend Kim who is near the end of her goal to run 50 marathons in 50 states. Kim had run back-to-back marathons (one on Saturday and the next on Sunday!) at the beginning of October in Rhode Island and Connecticut. She was a bit tight from running over 50 miles in a weekend and decided the best thing to do would be to go for a run.
Lesson learned: If you run with really tight and tired legs, you drastically increase your chances of falling. Hard. And ripping up all kinds of tendons and muscles that you need to run. Or even walk.
Enough about Kim, this is about ME! (Totally, kidding. I can't even imagine dealing with what she's going through.)
We decided to re-schedule MUM for 2015, and I looked around for some local marathons. (Can't let all those training miles go to waste!) I was kind of surprised to find a bizmillion to choose from. Seriously, who knew the first weekend in November was THE time to plan a marathon in California? I decided on the 5th annual running of the Morgan Hill Marathon. Morgan Hill is a bustling, family-oriented town just north of San Jose in the heart of Silicon Valley. Though the reviews said it was hilly, I knew it would be nothing compared to the local trail marathons.
I'm assuming I was right, though I can't remember the last time I ran a road marathon with switchbacks.
Kim came with to cheer me on. She dropped me at the starting line which was about a mile from our hotel. I got myself settled into the 4:20 pace group and off we went. At just over a mile, I realized I'd drank just a bit too much water and tea in preparation for the miles ahead. I figured I could take care of that at the first aid station. Nope. Not a port-a-potty in sight. Okay. I convinced myself I could hold it until the next aid station, where there HAD to be facilities. Uh, not so much.
Which meant for the next two miles, I was looking at every bush, every tree, every fence as the potential for relieving myself. I held out long enough to get to the third aid station around mile 6.5 to see a discouragingly long line for the lone port-a-potty. Apparently, I wasn't the only one who over hydrated. After that five minute delay, I knew I wouldn't be catching up to the 4:20 group, so I just settled into a comfortable (wow-my-bladder-feels-happy) pace.
Around the halfway point, I tried to text Kim to give her an idea of how it was going (slow, up the hills!). What I didn't realize, is that when my phone sent that text, it was closely followed by a text that I had tried unsuccessfully to send to her weeks ago, shortly after her injury and when my mom was in the hospital. The text "invited" Kim to come meet us and have some x-rays taken. Here's the exact text: "Ugh. Yup. Wanna come have some xrays taken? :)"
So, your friend is running a marathon and you get that text. What do you do? If you're Kim, you know how ungraceful I am and assume that I've broken something. You freak out (her words) and start trying to call me, then jump in the car to figure out where the heck I am.
At mile 16, we were finally done with the hills and I was able to pick up my pace a bit. By this time, I'm running with the 4:40 group, though I was really confused as to how and why, because my pace was on track for around 4:30. Kim finally finds me at mile 20 and seems more excited than normal to see me. She's asking me all these questions about the text and I have zero clue what she's talking about. (It wasn't until I got back to the hotel after the marathon that I'd figured out what happened).
Anyway, I felt relatively strong in the end and flew past the 4:40 pacer (partly because I think he realized his pace was too fast and slowed down considerably. Or he was just trying to make me feel good). I ended up finishing in 4:38 -- though my GPS claimed I'd run 26.87 miles.
So, not quite as many miles as from West Virginia to California, but I'm definitely counting that as an ultra.