Wednesday, May 02, 2007

the weekend comes

so saturday morning i had to watch the bags at practice and thought this would be a good excuse to go out friday night.

i had too much party and not enough dinner...leaving me in rough shape saturday morning to watch the bags. uuuuuuug. i got up too late to meet cap and randy, stopped at the deli, got an egg sandwich & some water to choke down, and hopped in a cab.

after we checked everyone in, all i had to do was sit and try not to be sick while everyone ran. it was rough, but it wasn't raining, and i felt better as time went on. finally, after 2 hours or so people started trickling in. it was high mileage - anywhere from 12 - 20 depending on level. i thought i was going to be alright...until there was just 5 people or so left and suddenly i was acutely aware that i had drank too much gatorade, gave cap the attendance list and excused myself to get a bit sick in the bethesda fountain bathroom. yes, i am mentor of the year. ~sigh~

in anycase, i was going to have to find time to run 16 miles or so, and saturday wasn't going to be it. also the park was ridiculously crowded - it seemed everyone had decided to visit that weekend. so my plan was to run late in the afternoon on sunday.

it was a good plan - while the daytime was questionable, around 4pm mthe skies began to clear and the afternoon was positively lovely. i headed up to the park around 5:15, headed to the gym, dropped my stuff and headed out for a 16 mile run, all on my own.

it was intimidating. my plan was to do 2 full loops (6 miles each) and one middle loop (4 miles). that's a lot of running. most of my first loop was an exercise in patience. my shins were hurting, i felt a little tired and the miles seemed to loom in the distance. after 4 miles i felt a bit better, and a mile or two into the second loop i started considering adding a mile or two to my goal. i laughed at myself, because i was only 7 miles or so in, and still had more than double that distance to cover. but just the fact that i was considering more miles put a smile on my face and a little extra spring in my step.

loop numero two was certainly better. i cranked the tunes and it was lovely to see the park go from fully sunlit to the warm sunset glow and then to the black-and-white tinged beauty of dusk. the park thinned out, and i was on a roll, shin-splints having eased up and the tempurature perfect for long running. i focused on the tunes, talked a little bit to bouv, and generally ignored my legs. before i knew it the second loop was done - only 4 miles left to go.

as i headed towards 90th street, i knew i was going to run another mile. while just adding another mile may not seem like much, it is a matter of mental strenght. when i got to the 102nd street transverse i would have to make an active decision to not take the "easy" way out and turn left, but to keep going straight, choosing the path that would not only add a mile, but add a mile that includes the most challenging hill in the park. it becomes an entirely mental game: you know that your body can handle it, primarily because you've done it before, but is your mind strong enough to *force* your body to do it?

mine was. at 102nd street, i continued straight, going for the 17.

of course, at the bottom of the hill i encountered another challenge. i realized that i had no freaking idea what time the gym was going to close. everything of consequense (except for my keys, which luckily my sister was borrowing to hang at my apartment) was in my locker. money. phone. metro card. it was sunday, and it was highly likely that the gym was closing at 9...but i wasn't sure. i had started at 6, and was using my watch purely to tell running time, the actually clock was not set correctly, and i was in a state of panic.

what would i do if i got back to the gym and it was closed? i knew no one that lives on the upper west (at least reasonably within walking distance from the gym). i didn't know anyone's phone number, not even my sister's. i was going to have to a) beg some stranger for two bucks to ride the subway home or b) call my parents collect from a cell phone and have them call my sister to make her come get me in a taxi. oh god. what a mess.

and thus, when i got to 91st st, i ended up "sprinting" the last 1.5 miles of my run (after having run 15.5 remember). i put sprinting in quotes, because i'm not sure how fast i actually was going, but i hauled ass best i could. at 91st st, i ducked out of the park, thinking the straight shot would be a little faster, and ran straight down central park west. i prayed the cleaning people would at least be there...and as i ran up to the door on 73rd, saw someone exiting. thank christ.

i ran in and the attendent looked at me like i had two heads.

"can i help you?"
[breathless]"i was out for a run," [deep breath] "and all my stuff is in here" [another deep breath]
"girl," she said, shaking her head, "you are *so* lucky. we're waiting for one person."
"thank you!" i gasped and hurried upstairs to get my stuff.

i am so happy that was an "almost story" vs. a "i can't believe that happened" story.

today's mileage: 17.0
mileage to date: 148.8

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