Wowee Owwee

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Done!  Finished!  Get in Gear passed quickly yesterday.  I woke up early, ate my pre-race breakfast (banana and oatmeal), enjoyed some yoga and frowned at the pouring rain outside. 

Jen and me

My running peep, Jen, and I stayed pretty calm in anticipation of getting to that starting line.  Bad traffic and poor busing strategy, however, prevented us from reaching the race in time for the start.  No matter – I liked jogging across the start line without elbow-to-elbow crowds.  The rain was gentle and we were quick to warm up.  Our iPod tunes cranked life into the run.  We had a good pace.  Mile 1 felt great, despite an uphill run.  Mile 2 felt fine, although it seemed to take FOREVER.  At about 2.2 miles, a hideous cramp took over my left quad and hip.  I focused heavily on my tunes and the rhythm of my legs… zoned out and keep going.  Black Eyed Peas launched into my earphones and I knew I could do this.  Run through the pain, run through the pain……

Until.

My iPod must have gotten too wet.  I heard, “I gotta feelin…” and a strange crackle.  Then it went dead.  So did I.  Shaken out of my pace stupor….I shook it.  I wiped it down.  I played with the buttons.  I was quickly losing my steam.  I could hear myself breathing like a horse at a gallop.  My mind tried to swallow this dose of reality, only to move quickly to the pain in my quad.  The pain that kept getting stronger.  Contrary to my sudden pickle, Jen launched into mile 2 with renewed energy.  I waved her on and felt inspired by her energy.  I watched her move further ahead as I moved further behind.  Pain.  Breathing.  Puddles.  Pain.  Pain.  Breathing like a horse.  More puddles.  Dang, where is the end of mile 3? 

Then I did it.  I stopped to walk.  I hated myself for it.  Really hated myself – after all, this was just the 3 mile!  Speed-walking Lady passed me.  I glared at her back.  About 3 minutes passed and I mentally willed myself to pick up the run again.  Eat my dust Speed-walking Lady.   I had visions of Jen at the finish line, wondering if I fell into a puddle back at mile 2.  Finally, the last .25 mile – uphill again.  The crowds were cheering, the man on the mike was encouraging our final assault on the finish line.  And then it was done.  30 seconds of a barfy gut passed quickly as a smiling Jen reminded me that we had both crossed the finish.  Rain, lateness and all.  The cold rain suddenly felt SOOO good and I realized that despite the fact that I hadn’t run in 3 weeks…I had hauled myself out of bed and accomplished this.  My kids saw their mom do this and felt inspired to join in next year.  I would have pat my own back, if I could will my post-run muscles to move. 

Today, I feel the run and the rain from head to toe.  Tylenol is my friend.  I’m going to cheat on my physical therapy instructions and stretch my sorest muscles.  (Long story that I’ll bore you with in another post).  I’m already thinking ahead to another run.  I need to do get my muscles and lungs back in running condition and I need to complete another run without unwelcome walking mid-race.  See you at the next finish line!  Stay tuned….

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