It's been awhile. I've been super busy--more on that in future posts. I'm officially in taper now (gulp). Only 2 weeks to go. I'm breaking in my new "marathon" pair of running shoes as planned. This week, I'm reducing my mileage by 50% (last week was 25%). I got my taper cold last week so everything is right on schedule.
Two weekends ago, I visited my lil' sis in Sacramento. Since I had completed my final 20-miler the weekend before, I decided to go 16 on the American River Trail http://www.saccycle.com/bikewaymaps/map6.htm. My goal was to run the second half faster than the first half to up the intensity and get used to race pace. After last weekend's stomach problems forced an agonizing slow run, I was hoping an increased pace would be a breeze. Unfortunately, my stomach reared it's ugly head yet again. When will I learn that slamming a coffee and stuffing myself with a large breakfast is not a good idea before a long run?
The first 2 miles were okay. The temps were steadily rising but still cool (Sacramento was HOT!!! In the 100s. Ugh). The American River was expansive and serene to our south. Myriads of cyclists whizzed by on the bike path, pushing the runners off to the side. Luckily, there was a narrow dirt path, which I prefer anyway, but the cyclists were very reluctant to budge an inch for us runners. What's up with that?
A few miles into the run, even though we were going nice and slow, I had the urge to, well, go. I looked frantically around for a bathroom. I saw none. I kept running. The urge grew. Tremendously. I knew it was going to be a bush or bust. I hurriedly motioned to Brent that I'd be right back and dove off the trail into the bushes to find a good spot. I unwittingly disturbed a herd of grazing deer, who took off running every which way. The cacophony of crashing through the trees must've really thrown Brent for a loop. "What did she eat? She must be having a really tough go of it!" I did my business (although the only available leaves had thorns--ouch!), and we resumed running. I felt SO much better.
Of course, a mile up the trail, I stumbled upon...a bathroom. DOH! Seeing the bathroom stimulated my urges yet again. I stopped, again, to take care of business. Sigh. How frustrating! We kept running. I felt better. We finished the first 8 miles, and I waved goodbye to Brent, turning back around to do another loop. Only 8 more to go.
Unbelievably, I had the urge to go....again. Dammit! I was determined to make it to the bathroom, 3 miles down the path. I've never run 3 miles so fast in my life! Somehow, I made it to the bathroom and avoided the bush.
Ah, much better. My pace slowed after that. Who knew? The best way to PR is to race to the bathroom! I hit the final turn-around and picked up the pace. The temps had risen considerably but I only had 4 miles to go. I was running faster and faster, and it felt sooo good.
I finished in a blissful state. It was damn hot but I had done it. Time for an ice bath! I shaved 10 minutes off that 2nd loop. Not sure if it was running to the bathroom or trying to beat the heat but I had accomplished my goal of negative splitting the 16-miler.