Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Run with Runs

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.


bunnygirl said...

Thanks for giving me a laugh and a good reminder of why I'm careful to plot my routes around potential potty stops!

Chad in the AZ Desert said...

LOL! That give new meaning to the term 'long run' for sure. Glad to hear you got through it though. Gotta watch that pre-run meal.

Sara said...

wow IBS blows huh? But at least it made you run a fast 3 miles!

triguyjt said...

glad you made it!!!!!!

hey, at least it helped you speed up in the final stage of the run..

Mon said...

omg that sounds horrible!

Leah said...

Ugh. Stomach issues are the worst. Congrats on the significant negative split!

Renee said...

Yikes! Sounds like an eventful run. I am glad you had good times no matter what the motivation, but lets try to avoid the bathroom sprints on race day!

Diana said...

This was hilarious! I just came back from Texas visiting friends and family and have been bent over in the fetal position for a few hours. IBS and vacation never go well together! Things just never work well away from home-so to read this while being cramped up made my night!

Grey Beard said...

Next time you're in Sac, let us know at Hammerin Wheels. There are lots of great rides, and runs, off the bike trail. It's a great facility, but a victim of its own success.

Originally built in the late 1800's the ARPT's paved area is for bicycles with runners and hikers accommodated by a 2-3 ft wide gravel shoulder. That rule is largely ignored and creates danger for both riders and peds.

Of course, in wintertime, it is awesome as a training facility. In summer its a good shunt to get you to a good ride's departure point from your front door. If you have an expensive bike, the trail can be pretty nerve-wracking.

Good to know everything came out OK. I read with great empathy. I have some special issues in that area and really sympathize.