Saturday was an experience to say it nicely. I went to bed with the hopes of a snow storm that would cancel practice. Of course, when I woke up there was no snow to be seen. I pull on my clothes and eat my packet of oatmeal and head over to BSC Wellesley. After hearing a new famous quote about leaving the blood in battle so you don't killed in war, we were off. I was super pumped to see another back of the packer in the group and made it a point to run with her. I'm not sure if Rebecca enjoyed the company or not, but running and talking with people make it so much easier. We went through the first water stop with ease and kept on down route 16. Once I hit Woodland, I knew the course like the back of my hand as it is the Crossroads course. Of course, I should say I knew one direction of the course! As we rounded the corner onto Comm Ave, we hit the 5.4 mile water stop and got excited about our consistent time. Sadly, I lost my running partner as she turned around to not further injure an Achilles issue. Now here comes the funny part of the run.
At the 5.4 water stop, the awesome volunteers asked me if I was continuing onto the 3rd water stop. I told them no as it was at mile 8 and I wanted to stop at mile 14. During the pre-run meeting, our coach gave us the run overview and said that if we were doing 14 to turn around at the statue. I am running in auto pilot and totally miss the statue and blow right past it. I then ask the lovely TnT volunteers if I could use their portopotty in which they of course agreed. On my way out of it, I learned that it wasn't theirs, but actually the construction site they had camped in front of. So after my illegal use of a bathroom, I continue on my run trying to figure out why it seemed further than 7 miles. And then I hit it, the 3rd water stop. I was in my own world that I blew totally past my turnaround and into what would become new territory.
I turned around at Centre Street tempted instead to swing a left and just go home back to the second water stop. Along the way, another team stopped me to ask how many miles were on my schedule and when I told them, they joked that I needed to channel my inner Kenyan. I wanted to explain to them that I did try and find out the secret of the Kenyans while there only to find out that it is in their genes. The lovely ladies at the 2nd water stop waited for me and were supportive in giving me pointers on how to try and make it back. Now mind you, at this point all I have consumed in my day is about 8 ounces of Gatorade, 5 shot bloks and one packet of oatmeal. I was fading fast. Along the run back, all my teammates were cheering me on as they were driving home. People were stopping to see if I needed water and/or a ride and were way too nice. I thanked them all and trudged on.
At mile 14, I hit a wall. There were way too many hills in front of me and I was getting miserable. The nice people at the first water stop left a few cups of Gatorade out for me which I demolished and it tasted amazing. From that point on, I was jogging with walking more and more. Finally I hit the home stretch and then I got a bit turned around. Luckily, the amazing volunteer who checks us in each week found me like a poor lost puppy. It turns out I was less than a quarter mile away, but at that point, it felt like years! Everyone was so nice and understanding and supportive even though I felt defeated in the time it took me to run it.
As most people know, I hate to be an imposition on folks and hate asking for help. If there is one thing that this marathon has taught me is that it is ok to need to lean on people. Everyone has been in a similar situation at one point or another and will understand when it takes a bit longer to get back to the home base. Despite everyone being ok with it, I have devised a new plan. From now on I'm going to run to all the runs near my house. These runs will add on a few extra miles and allow me to get in some of the distance before everyone takes off. By doing this, I will finish about the same time as those that ran the full 18 or 20 or 22 while I pre-ran the first 4 or 5. In addition, I am going to need to work on my nutrition the day before and the morning of the run. One packet of oatmeal is no longer cutting it! All in all, the run was a learning point for me and a break into higher mileage. Onwards to 18 this Sunday!