Sunday, June 11, 2006

First Official Java-Adventure Training Run for the Fox Cities Marathon

It's official. We're in training again after only two weekends off. It really seems like longer than that, though. Our last "long run" was 26.2 miles, yet I was suddenly nervous about ten. Maybe it's something about starting over from the beginning. A new training season, a new marathon (though I've done this one before, in 2004), and the fears, expectations, insecurities, and challenges that come with it. Can we do it again? Will my body hold up through another 14 weeks of marathon training? Will my determination and drive? And what about our finish time for this one...can we set another PR? Will I get tired...burned out...sick of getting up early to run ridiculous distances before most people are out of bed? The excitement is there, too--a new season, a new race. I can legitimately call myself a runner again without feeling silly because I'm training for a marathon. I get to experience the sense of pride and accomplishment and strength when I finish longer and longer runs. And I get to hang out with my best friend every weekend for a few hours to talk about anything and everything...without husbands or children around. I have certainly been blessed with a supportive husband and an amazing best friend, which makes training (and life) much more easy and enjoyable.

On with today's run report.
Both girls were awake before Jo showed up and they love 'Auntie Jo'. Libby was absolutely brokenhearted when we said that she couldn't come along. Had the run been shorter today, we'd have taken her along in the running stroller and just switched off pushing her, but ten miles would be a bit much for all three of us.
We started out in the most painful direction possible from my house. It is a continuous uphill for about two miles....punctuated by a painful climb up what is known as Capital Mountain. Climbers and hikers come from far away places to climb this mountain and most leave having been defeated by the mountain. okay, so maybe it's just a minor hill in town, but have you ever tried to run uphill for two miles on an early Sunday morning? Trust me, it feels like a mountain. After reaching the summit we stopped for one of Jo's ten pee breaks, and we took off again....downhill....finally.
The downhill left us fully energized and ready for some serious latin dancing when we passed 'Fiesta Acres' condominiums. We sang and danced with the mariachi band in the driveway, stopped for a quick try at the pinata (I broke it, which is no surprise seeing that I'm a legendary former professional softball player and National Pinata Crushing Champion) and then were off again. The marraccas in Jo's fanny pack got a little annoying after a few blocks, and my sombrero did bounce around a bit. But it definitely kept the sun off of my face.
As we entered a business park we were distracted by the hot men working on the street or the sewer or the street sign or the landscaping or something...i'm not really sure what they were doing, actually. I wasn't really focussing on their work. Regardless, we were distracted. And nearly stepped on a decaying squished bunny. We were both pretty horrified and tried to be a bit more aware of our surroundings. This was becoming increasingly challenging for me as my seizures were getting a bit more 'eventful'. For those of you who don't know about my seizures, I have a mild form of Epilepsy. The seizures are in the temporal lobe of my brain and are generally more annoying than scary. Dizziness, vertigo type feelings, seeing stars and spots, etc. Over the last six months or so, however, they have worsened a bit and on some of our really long training runs (18-20 milers) I started having more serious issues...even involving some flopping, slurring, disorentation, and loss of control of extremities. Never fell down but was definitely more irritating than usual. With some med adjustment and careful regulation of my electrolytes during training, I got them back down to 'normal' most of the time. Anyway, I realized that I wasn't keeping up on my Gatorade intake and was having a bit more seizure activity than normal.
Our route took us past the cemetary where my girls are, so we stopped for a brief visit. Next we headed towards Jo's friend Raja's house, as she was planning on joining us for the last three miles. Now, Raja quit smoking yesterday, has a bulging disk in her back, and does not run. When we met up with her she said that her back was bothering her and she was just going to walk behind us. Okay. Walk behind us?? Hmm. So I guess people do notice that we are slow. But come on, we're not that slow. We explained that if she walked behind us, she'd only see us for a block or so. Raja decided to walk on her own and try running with us when she had cleared out her lungs and trained a bit.
On this next leg of the run we came across some very large tents set up on the univerity grounds. Lots and lots of water. Nice clean, cold, bottled water. I'm pretty sure that the event organizers noticed me drifting in that direction with a pathetic look of desperation on my face, because several of them jumped over chairs and sprinted towards us, talking into their radios and reaching into their blazer pockets...... Jo grabbed me and pulled me back onto the sidewalk and we continued on.
During a particularly hilly section along the river at about mile 8.5 we encountered another runner. A male runner. With long dark thick hair, no shirt, and an amazing smile. Not that I noticed. Jo just pointed it out, that's all. She turned around and started following him, but when a female runner appeared just a few steps behind with a mean green-eyed look on her face Jo backed off.
Finished strong in the Jo To Go parking lot, where Jennifer the coolest coffee shop girl ever served us up some iced lattes and conversation. They know us there. We've been the crazy running girls for a while now. Once, when it was a -40 degree windchill, we ran together on treadmills in a nearby healthclub....and we drove up for our coffee. They were seriously concerned. We love the Jo To Go ladies.
My left knee was giving me some pretty good pain for the last three miles or so, and post-run my left hip flexor thing got VERY sore...but I'm hoping that the hip thing is still just some irritation from the marathon and will work itself out soon. The 1.5 mile walk home was a nice cool down, and fairly uneventful. Took a long ice bath while eating pistachios when I got home and on with the day.
Next week the java run is in Jo's town and 12 miles. There is always much mayhem and danger in Jo's be ready for a good report.

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