I knew before I even left the house, that this run was extremely likely to go downhill. And not in the “whee, this is a fun hill to cruise down” kind of way.
I mean like spectacularly awful crash and burn.
Yet, with only 6 weeks until the Adirondack Marathon, it had to happen.
The schedule called for 18 miles. And I planned out a route that had some really good training hills and a loop through a local park with a menagerie of animals (not quite a zoo) we’ve always called Goat World.
Nothing. And I meant NOTHING went according to plan. Lol
It was 70 and 95% humidity when I headed out. By mile 2.5 I was already starting to drink my water. I had my buddy h2o, which only holds 10 ounces. But that’s okay, because I knew there were a couple fountains along the route where I could refill. Or so I thought.
At mile 6, I noticed a whole bunch of orange cones and one of these signs…
Hmmm this could be a problem. I’m fairly sure that race starts at Goat World. I may need to change my route.
Of course, since I’ve taken to carrying my iPod instead of phone, I had to wait a 1/2 mile until I got to a wi-fi hotspot to confirm. And sure enough…I was on the course. A 1/2 hour before it started.
I was also out of water by now. And the first water fountain I knew of? Was turned off. Damn.
Enticed by the idea of going by and seeing all the 5k runners, trying to figure out where I could get / buy water, and knowing that if I turned around where I was thinking to, I could end up SO in the way of the race, I headed towards Goat World.
And…like a gift from the running gods, encountered a water stop. Those awesome race volunteers took pity on me and left me fill my water bottle, and wished me luck.
A 1/4 mile later, I encountered the most aggressive dog I’ve ever met on a run. A large German shepherd, barking like he wanted to eat me and coming across the street at me. So, I stopped. And faced him. And he backed down and went home. I said out loud to him “what the hell was that?” And continued on and up.
I was in the hilly section now, and the sun was shining. And I was starting to get nauseous. I had to stop for a minute to calm myself down. And then headed past where the runners were gathering for the race.
Man I love being surrounded by runners. The energy is just contagious. I smiled at a few, wished a couple luck, and then encountered the mother of all downhills.
The kind of downhill that makes you seriously question if you can make it down without falling headfirst. But, this was important for Adirondack. Because I know there’s a couple of those in the first half of the race.
I reached the bottom at mile 10. Stood in the shade to open a gel, and seriously questioned myself. I kinda wanted to call for a ride home. I was trying to figure out if I could call it at 12 and save the 18 for next weekend.
I was miserable. Really miserable. But I was not going down without a fight. Time to muscle up, buttercup. Because we don’t train just to make the race easier. We also train to learn how to embrace the suck.
I did, however, decide that this was now going to be for time versus distance. And that I could likely pull off 16 miles in the time 18 should have taken. 3 hours.
I stopped to buy a bottle of water. Where I of course forgot to stop my watch. This led to a horribly skewed time for that mile, so I don’t really know what my average was. Lol but that’s okay. It was slow.
Because again, I was starting to feel ill. And stopping constantly to drink water. And I was SO gritty that it hurt to wipe my face and neck.
And then I got my second gift from the running gods at mile 11. Sprinklers!! A low long line of sprinklers. And I probably stood there for 3 full minutes with a smile on my face.
Slightly rejuvenated I continued on, and opted to run/walk the rest. Hopefully more running than walking, but I didn’t even care.
I stopped for a second if I needed to. I walked when I had to. And I just kept moving.
And found this cool fungus!
And at mile 14, when I finally found a recycling bin to toss the empty water bottle I’d been carrying for a mile (cuz I just can’t litter), I noticed the address I was standing at.
Same as the area code for the Adirondack marathon. #runningsigns
And I thought back to 2015, the last time I ran Adirondack. And I remembered how hard those last few miles were. And that I never gave up.
So I continued on. Suffering but moving. Hoping that by powering through now, it will teach me to better handle it if it happens again next month.
By mile 15.6 I was making deals with myself. I was near my house and walking/sprinting the tiniest intervals. Unbeknownst to me, the hubs had seen me, and told me later he’s never seen me look like i was fighting so hard for every step. I usually look like I’m having fun. Lol
But I finished. And saw him out in the yard with Gus. I waved, and slowly hobbled up.
How’s it going babe, he asked. Not good, I replied. Then I laughed. Because 16 miles had never hurt that bad. And it suddenly became hilarious.
I grabbed the lightpost next to me, hugged it for dear life, and then handed him my iPod. I needed a picture. One where I can look back and remember that even when it’s bad, it’s all good.