[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false] I can hardly believe it. I ran 18 miles and I– this is the really unbelievable part– kind of enjoyed it. It’s amazing what you can accomplish with a new pair of socks, fresh jams on the iPod and a positive attitude. After taking a brief hiatus from running in the freezing cold during our vacation, coupled with dip in overall enthusiasm for this whole marathon training thing, I was apprehensive about tackling our penultimate long run. More accurately, I was terrified.
So I stayed up a bit late Friday night, looking through my photos from last year’s Boston Marathon, while adding anything from Michael Jackson (“Man in the Mirror,” obviously) to Creedence Clearwater Revival to James Taylor’s Christmas album to some Enrique en Espanol to my iPod. I figured, if I am going to be out running for what I estimated to be 14 hours and 59 minutes, I may as well keep entertained. I picked out an outfit consisting of multiple layers, one that I wouldn’t be embarrassed to be found wearing if I, say, died at mile 4. It’s important to consider all possibilities.
Our route took us through South Boston and the Financial District, past the Common and along Beacon Street, across the Mass. Ave bridge and along the Charles to the Science Museum, back to Mass. Ave and up Beacon Street (where I ran straight into an oncoming road race), around the Common and Public Gardens, back to Southie for a loop at Castle Island and Pleasure Bay for good measure. Our last water stop was at the South Boston Running Emporium, which serves as our team’s home base. Imagine stopping in to grab water, seeing your Boston College sweatpants and house keys, but needed to head back out… for another six miles? Not cool at all, folks.
I stayed with our little pack for the first five miles or so, but split off and ran the opposite way along the River with the intention of maintaining my own turtle pace. This also ensured I’d be able to see Nick as we passed near the Science Museum. That always gives me a little boost. For 18 (and a little extra) miles, I made an effort to smile at everyone who passed by, to wave at every police officer (which, along with my bright red face- I’m sure, resulted in one officer misinterpreting my friendly wave for me flagging him down as a result of some sort of emergency). I gave myself an amazing pep talked that consisted entirely of “Just enjoy it all.”
I have never, ever experienced the elusive “runner’s high,” and frankly I think it might be an elaborate lie kept alive by sneaker companies, but I may have come close on Saturday morning. I felt like I was doin’ my thang. Whatever that means (assuming it doesn’t mean something perverted). I really did smile for all 18 miles.
Let’s see… what else happened? As I climbed one of the final hills, with about four miles to go, it started snowing. The snow only lasted for a minute or two, but it was that movie type of snow, the kind that makes the city look like a snow globe. I was immediately distracted from the aching in my legs and looked up at the sky in wonder. I think I may have actually said, “Thank you, Jesus” aloud. On second thought, maybe I was high? Anyway, I got a high five from a guy selling Christmas trees while I tried to open a Gu packet without taking off my gloves. I’d rip them open with my teeth, but I’d hate for one of my faker-than-George-Washington’s teeth to pop off. Speaking of Gu, it has never tasted as good as it did on this run. On a less delicious note, I very well may have run 18 miles with an atomic wedgie, because I somehow got two giant burn marks across my bum, presumably from my non-running material undies. Too much information? You’re welcome.
For months, our team has been training for the marathon. We’ve woken up early and stayed up late to finish our workouts. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve worn more Spandex than should be socially acceptable. My body is not quite sure what is happening. I can’t believe I have made it this far. As we approach the home stretch (a 20-miler and a few shorter runs), I remain so grateful for everyone who has supported me in this endeavor. I couldn’t do this without you.
I am so proud to be raising critical funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. If you’re able, I would truly appreciate your support in reaching my goal for LLS. Every bit helps– there is no “too small.” When I think about the unspeakable courage of my honored teammates, including Hannah G., and all those families and individuals who have bravely battled related diseases, I can’t help but be inspired. And I can’t help but put one foot in front of the other. And I can’t help but be overwhelmed by gratitude and hope and a desire to do more. This is why I am running.
Also On Tap for Today:
- Making a big pot of vegetarian chili. Bam!
- The Big Picture: Let it snow!
- Good news, we have a built-in stress reliever
What have you done lately that surprised you? Got any good marathon inspiration to share?