Friday, July 25, 2008

The Cheetah and The Snail

Brian and I after we got our jerseys at the May 17th kick-off meeting.
Seems so long ago!

As I hobbled into work today, I reflected back on the journey thus far. I am 2 months into training and have already had so many highs and lows. What lies ahead, I am not sure. I know how to find out, though. One foot in front of the other.

Saturday came too quickly after our first round of hill repeats on Wednesday. My knees felt like two thorny balls as I glanced out the window at the grey cotton sky. My task seemed less significant than that of my team mates. They were to run 12 miles today and I, a mere 7. I shook off the cobwebs and creaked into the kitchen to take my daily assortment of supplements and anti-inflammatories. The calcium pills we take look like suppositories, both in size and appearance. Peanut butter toast is a bit hard to chew with a mouth that is still half asleep, but the fruit helps it slide down.
Balboa Lake was overcast and cool. I could see the gratitude on my fellow runners' faces at the cooler temperatures. My trail was to be a little different than everyone else's due to the shorter mileage. I would have to swim upstream for the final two miles as everyone else took a second lap around the park. A bit of stretching and we were off!

Brian decided to stay back and run with me for the first 5 miles. He is working on his running technique, so he doesn't mind going slower. It felt so good to have him by my side as we ran. I miss out on his experiences usually because I am just not fast enough to keep up with him. Today I was slower than usual. My legs felt like they were stuck in molasses. We are like a cheetah and a snail on the trail together. The cheetah came back to bat the snail around a bit, then ran up ahead, then came back again to play.

I was talking to my body, "Go faster, legs...Stop huffing, lungs...Straighten up, spine!" All of them, lazy rebellious teenagers in the marathon lifespan, ignored my requests.

Brian literally hit an obstacle on the trail. If you want to know more about this, you'll have to read his blog. He paints quite a vivid picture.

We reached the 6 mile mark and my amazing husband and I parted ways. He was able to run at his normal pace now that the dead weight was removed. I took my bag of heavy bones back to the starting point. Other team mates seemed confused as I passed them going the wrong way. Their eyes said, "Poor girl must be lost". This didn't stop them from cheering me on as I passed! They are so supportive.

On my way back to the starting point / water stop I saw a fellow team mate, Tracy. She told me before that she thinks she is the slowest runner on the team. I don't know if that is true. What I do know, is that she has been such an inspiration to me. She and I are like the little engines that keep telling ourselves, "I think I can". She was rounding up to her second lap around. I saw her determined face and felt inspired. I decided to turn around and run next to her for a while. I suddenly forgot about all the pain I was in. I wanted nothing more than to encourage Tracy. Like me, she has dealt with a large helping of obstacles and keeps on going. We ran together for a bit and I turned around to head back again.

At the water stop I became the ice-pack clad cheerleader, welcoming my fellow runners as they turned the corner for the last stretch of the run. After the water stop, they only had 2 miles to go before they finished the big 12. I became fast friends with the water stop chief, Sue AKA Bucket. I asked her why they call her Bucket, she said it was a Vegas joke about the coin buckets. She was just adorable. She prompted us to make a tunnel for our team mates to run through as they went by.

After the running, Brian and I went home and took an ice bath. I believe it may be the last one I ever take. IT WAS SO COLD!!! This insane method was suggested to us by our coach and Brian's mentor. I suppose it was helpful, but I think I prefer ice packs. Brian didn't seem to mind it as much.

Ice and Aleve are my two new best friends. Check in with me next week, I will be up to the 9 mile marker! The rest of the team will be taking it easy and dropping down to 6 miles, so I should be able to catch up soon.

Thanks again to you all for your support. Remember, my fundraising deadline is August 1st (one week from now). I am at 1/4 my total goal, so now's the time! Some of you have chosen to split up your donations and give a little each payday. What a great idea!

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