Whew, it's been awhile since I've written but let me tell you - life has not slowed down for a second. In the midst of all this training for a marathon I managed to finish my thesis, write a 15 page final exam, present my research to the department, organize a going away party for Dave and I, pack up the entire apartment and move back to the midwest. I got a few runs in here and there but there were certainly more days I just said "Ugh...I hate running." It's been exhausting and I've been less than motivated. Let's take the run I did two weeks ago as an example...
I planned on doing a 14 mile run, mapped out the whole thing, stretched, and prepared the night before. Oh boy, nothing could have prepared me for this treacherous run. It started out alright, albeit slightly chilly. The road I was running on started to head out of town which, in Montana, means the shoulder disappears. I was running on a road where cars were driving 70 miles past me, dust was flying up in my face, and the temperature was dropping. Suddenly, at about 4 miles, two vicious dogs came running out of their house, barking violently at me. "No!" I was yelling and commanding them to stop. "Sit!" They kept barking, coming closer and closer and I had nothing to do, so I ran faster! "NO!" Imagine me running, yelling at these two dogs to "sit! go away!" as cars were racing past me without hesitation. And then it happened again another mile down the road! An annoying, ankle-biting chihuahua came racing out of its trailer park, barking and foaming at the mouth (ok, that may be an exaggeration,) trying to bite me. Luckily I could just kick that one out of the way.
I thought the worst was over, but I was wrong. I reached a bridge that I could not run across without risking my life, or at least a few limbs, so I thought to myself, "well, I can just hike around it. The ditch doesn't look that bad." So I climbed over the bridge and into the ditch, which quickly dropped off into a marsh of broken glass and barbed wire. I found myself avoiding thorny bushes, questionable bags of garbage, and climbing over drainage pipes, all the while balancing on an extremely steep embankment. Finally I made it out, said a few curse words, and finished the first half of the run. I was planning on running in and out but after the disastrous start I thought it would be better to take another route home.
I dipped under the interstate and decided to take the frontage road home. About half a mile into it the wind picked up to a steady 60 miles an hour. Road signs on the interstate were shaking, debris was flying out of the ditch, and my shirt kept coming up as cars drove by. "Are you kidding me!" I yelled to the sky. "I hate running!" Each step felt like I was lifting a twenty pound weight on each foot. I could hardly move my legs, I was freezing cold, and a slight drizzle had started to pelt my face in the gusting wind. Cars whizzed by and I secretly hoped one would hit me so I could be taken to the hospital where they have warm beds.
But I finally made it, after a couple of walking sessions, lots of loud yelling into the wind, and maybe even a few tears. As I was walking the last block back to my house my neighbor rode by on his bike and yelled, "Come on, you baby - run!" If I had a stick, it would have been thrown into his bike spokes.
I hate to say it, but I have hardly run since then. I am staying with my parents right now and the temperature has been near freezing with pouring rain. How am I supposed to train in this? It's far easier to sit back and watch "I Used To Be Fat" on MTV. But today I bought new shorts and an amazing zebra tank top from the 1980s, (which I will proudly sport during the race,) and it has inspired me to get back in the game. So tomorrow is a biggie - 18 miles. My dad is going to meet me half way as an "aid station" with water. (I told him to ride his bike so I'm not tempted to jump in the car.) After that I am going to focus on biking and endurance training, trying not to injure my legs before Saturday. I feel like I have the endurance to complete this thing if my legs and hips can withstand the pain. That means lots of massaging, ibuprofin, energy gels (yuck,) and motivational words. Any positive reinforcement is encouraged!
7 days to go....wow.