Sunday, April 30, 2006
Okay, so it was supposed to be 22 miles, but I seem to have this habit of getting lost on my long runs. I guess now if I got lost in a marathon, it wouldn't be too much stress for me. (or it'd be like running the Chicago Lakefront marathon ~ 27 miles, courtesy of a mismarked course.)
The first half I was on course. It was fun to see the city waking up, and there were surprisingly more people out and about than I thought. When I got to the bridge I needed to get up onto, I couldn't really figure out where to get off the trail to get to it. Finally I saw some stairs up ahead that went up to the bridge. However, between myself and the stairs was 4-5 sets of Burlington-Northern tracks. The big signs that said, 'No Trespassing' were a little intimidating, but I figured it was just tracks. And yet, there was a rather large freight train that had been humming about 75 yards down the track. It's chug-chug suddenly churned up about 50 notches to a roar and it slowly lurched forward. Great. I looked and saw the length of at least 70-80 cars. What are you gonna do? I bolted across the tracks and headed up the stairs.
The bridge went up a huge hill and wound through neighborhoods with breathtaking views of the Sound - truly amazing. Eventually I made it to Disco Park where I actually ran on the trails a week or so ago to familiarize myself with them specifically so I wouldn't get lost today. No such luck. I got turned around somehow and had to backtrack, adding an extra mile. Oh, well. I saw a white rabbit - unusual for out in the wild - they're usually grey or brown. I made it out of the park and across the locks just before the bells went off to open the gates. The locks are a canal-like gateway to allow boats to travel from the saltwater to the freshwater. There are several walkway networks that cross over for pedestrians.
I continued on, and around mile 15 or16 discovered a sign that said 'Trail Closed Ahead - Construction'. Fabulous when I wasn't really familiar with the neighborhood. Not too bad - I followed the detour signs until I found the trail again, only to find another sign: 'Trail Closed - Sidewalk Closed'. I could see the construction area, and I could see the trail on the other side. I said - like hell it's closed. I climbed over the barricade, squeezed through the fence, and continued merrily on my way.
I stopped at a park at mile 18 for my 3rd gel and some water. I didn't bring water, but planned a route through enough parks with restrooms and drinking fountains. I don't like packing water with me, and I have a sensitive stomach for other replacement drinks en route. Sometimes I get away with it, but water worked well today. The last couple miles were through a scenic area with a lot of marshy trails. I don't know what I was thinking when I headed out across a bridge to the marshy area. I should've clued in when the only people out there were tons of birdwatchers with binoculars. They were nice soft trails. I got to the other side of the marsh and realized there was lots more water and no way across. I had to go back to the bridge. Such a lovely thing to add another half mile when you've already added one, and you're currently 21 miles out. But it was really beautiful running by the water. (Pretty much my entire course was along waterways.) So, made it to the end of my point to point course at 23.47 miles, and ran the whole thing with an 8:52 average pace. Sweet. I ran my 19 miler at 9:30 pace, and used that pace to predict when my husband should pick me up. It's a good thing I ended up running an extra mile and a half, 'cause he had just gotten to the parking lot before I did. I paced the parking lot - not quite wanting to sit for fear I might not get up again - with a bottle of ultima in one hand and my latest recovery discovery in the other hand - chocolate soymilk. I've always had a really tough time recovering after long runs - to the point where I usually crashed on the couch most of the day. My husband recommended trying some recovery drinks - not hydrating stuff like gatorade, etc., but actual recovery stuff with a lot more in it. I did some research and ended up calling one of the local running stores. I compared the labels of what the store carried - (I think gu's recovery drink) and chocolate soymilk. I read about a lot of people drinking chocolate milk and saying it works. ( I don't drink milk.) So, I've been doing the chocolate soymilk thing and it seems to work - no more laying around all day feeling sick. I seem to recover much quicker. I walked around a bit and ate some food. A couple of teeny tiny blisters and some sore muscles, but all in all, a pretty good run.
So, now with that done, I need to do some more thinking about marathon pace. I know I can run faster than my long runs, but how much faster to attempt without burning out the first 10 miles and having a really miserable marathon . . .