I get by with a little help from my friends…

I woke up at 4:00 this morning to get ready and wake up fully for my 22 mile run.  After yesterday’s pace run, I knew it would be rough going into it.  I had no idea, however, what I was about to get myself into.

Brian and I met at Greys Lake at 5:30 and we started out towards downtown Des Moines.  The first 3 miles felt pretty good actually and I fulfilled my role in cheering Brian on as we got warmed up (it was a brisk 25 degrees when we started).  We didn’t really have a route in mind, so as we ran around the state Capitol, Brian suggested we run his favorite 12 mile route that winds through north Des Moines.  It was about this point where I started to feel sick.  I went back to the doctor this week because I haven’t been able to get food to actually go all the way down and stay down.  Not puking it up or anything, but feeling like it was sitting in my throat.  And I could feel the rice cakes I had for breakfast sitting there.  After we had run a mile uphill, I started complaining.  I pointed out that we had been going uphill the entire time so far… and Brian responded the hill we were currently climbing was the last one, then it would be flat.  Then, he added “oh- and the Birdland Marina hill, I forgot about that.”  I yelled out “SHIT NO!  I am NOT running that hill!  I have 22 miles to run and I am NOT running that hill!”  I think I woke up the entire block.  I mean, I really shouted.  Brian quickly shushed me and then said he would reroute us.  I told him I was definitely playing the “baby card” this morning and I was sorry, but I was not running that hill.  He busted out laughing at my “baby card” and again assured me he would find another route.  As we ran up and down streets, I quickly became disoriented.  I had no idea where we were.  And I was very whiny.  As Brian turned into my cheerleader, telling me how great I was doing, I looked at him in astonishment and told him, “no I’m not!  I’m being a total whiny bitch!”  And I was.  I needed to get this attitude in check- or else I would NOT finish my run! Attitude is 90% of what it takes to finish.

I continued to follow as I still had no idea where we were and soon, it became clear that we still a ways away from where we started and we would not make it back to Greys Lake in time to meet our friends, Andrea and Marzia, at 7:30 for the last part of the run.  I started to panic and stress out.  Unfortunately, my tired legs were already carrying me as fast as they could go, so there was no digging in and pushing it to speed up and meet them.  Brian was starting to hurt at this point and I knew my attitude was not helping matters.  Still, the stress and panic stayed with me as we made our way back to our meeting spot.  Around mile 10, I started to get a side stitch.  Only, it wasn’t in my side.  It was right smack in the middle of my gut, like I had been sucker punched.  It hurt.  Bad.  I slowed to an 11 minute/mile pace.  It was all I could muster, but I kept going.  Brian again cheered me on and told me what a great job I was doing, even though, he was hurting too.  I literally grinned and beared down.  I ran for 2 miles like that until it hit me.  I had run 12 miles and barely drank any water.  No wonder my gut was screaming at me and cramping up!  I told Brian what was going on and we stopped for a quick water break.  Soon after we started going again, we passed another group of runners that we knew.  Then, I saw Andrea and Marzia running towards us!  I cannot tell you how relieved, excited, happy, and encouraged I was to see them!!  When we didn’t show up at our meeting spot, they decided to go out looking for us to make sure everything was ok.  What great friends!!  They asked how it was going and we said rough.  I asked in a very needy voice if they could just get us through the last 9 miles.

Andrea just ran the Las Vegas Rock n’ Roll Marathon last weekend and gave us a recap for the next 2 miles.  As I listened and took in more water, I got my second wind.  Miles 15 and 16 were great!  My pace picked up and I was (mostly) able to keep up with Andrea and Marzia and listen to their stories.  That second wind didn’t last long.  By mile 17, I was the last of the pack and struggling to put one foot in front of the other.  Mile 17 seemed like it was never going to end.  Mile 18.  Only 4 more miles to go.  I started telling myself that I was doing this!  I was going to finish!  Andrea turned into a cheerleader at this point, turning around and actually cheering me on!  I mustered a smile and kept running.  Brian got a second wind at this point and took off.  He had time constraints this morning, needing to finish by 9:15 am at the latest and he must’ve just ran it in to his car.  Marzia and Andrea stopped to wait for me and I asked again in a very needy voice if they could hang back and run the last 2 miles with me.  I was struggling.  But I knew finishing would give me the confidence during the Phoenix Rock n’Roll Marathon next month to finish and pull through.  One foot in front of the other.  As I listened to Andrea’s stories as best as I could, when I was in hearing distance, she began counting down for me.  1 mile.  A half mile.  A quarter mile.  At that point, I started keeping a close watch on my Garmin and as soon as it hit 22 miles, I called out that I was done and started walking.

As we walked towards our cars, Andrea congratulated me and asked how I felt.  And I started to cry.  I was so overwhelmed with emotion!  Out of nowhere!  I wasn’t injured.  I wasn’t disappointed in the run, I was actually proud that I had persevered and finished! So, what was with the tears??  Andrea acknowledged that I’m under a lot of stress right now with my health and not getting any clear answers with what is happening with my colon, stomach, bowel, etc…

As I drove away, I called my mom and had a complete meltdown.  I couldn’t stop the tears. I was completely surprised by this emotion, that had taken over me from nowhere.  It was ridiculous!  So, I drew myself a bath immediately when I got home and just soaked my tired body and let me mind wind down too.  Followed by breakfast and a nap and then hours on the couch watching movies.  I’m actually having myself a nice, relaxing Saturday now.  I guess, it’s what I needed for my body and soul today.

They say that you usually experience one awful run during your training.  Friends, I hope this morning was mine.  Cheers to THIS run being behind me!

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