Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Once More Unto the Breach with an 18 Mile Run

I spent the week hydrating myself like never before with water and Gatorade of various flavors, and I even managed to avoid alcohol which can be rather hard to do. But perhaps the most important thing I remembered to do before this week’s 18 mile run was to have my carb dinner at lunchtime the day before it. In the past many of us were told to have our carbo load dinner two days before the big run. If our run is on a Saturday, then we need to pile on the carbs the Thursday before. Now I get information that’s different which kind of pisses me off, but I went with it anyway which eventually proved to make all the difference.

At lunchtime on Friday I had a big, big pile of angel hair spaghetti that was slathered with basil pesto alfredo sauce, and I combined it with a small loaf of garlic bread which I heated up after I finished the main course. Actually, it would have helped to know that the directions said not to bake the garlic bread in a toaster oven beforehand because that’s all I had to cook it in, but I cooked it in one anyway and it turned out alright. After consuming a larger than usual lunch (and that’s saying a lot) I took it easy at dinnertime and had a Lean Cuisine Veggie Egg White English Muffin. My dad would be so proud of me for eating a sandwich for dinner (of course he wouldn’t). 

Arriving at Griffith Park on a cold Saturday morning that we all knew was not going to remain cold for very long, Coach JC reminded us that the asphalt on the roads is going to be a lot easier on our knees than concrete. I’m definitely with him on that, but I still find myself running on concrete more often not even though I should know better. I guess I don’t want to get too close to the cars as they whiz on by me. There’s still remnants of that skunk we passed by on the road a few weeks ago that clearly didn’t know what hit it. Reminders can be so subtle, huh?

Once again I brought my new Droid phone so I could make use of the Runkeeper app, and I finally got it to work for me the way I wanted it to. At least I thought I did. It still doesn’t tell me when to walk or run, so I had to rely on my fellow Lucky 13 pace group members whose watches were for once all on the same schedule. I got to get a new watch at some point. Or better yet, maybe I should stop being a man and read the directions for a change.

We ran through many familiar places like the beautiful Toluca Lake neighborhood which is filled with houses I will never be able to afford, and we ran down the road with the concrete bike and walking path as well. As I kept checking my running form to make sure I wasn’t slouching, I also did my best to stay on the asphalt and not run on concrete so much. But at one point a Burbank police truck passed by us which gave us a number of good reasons to move right onto the sidewalk. Fortunately none of us got a ticket. It looked like they were busy with something else anyway, like driving.

Among the topics of conversation on this run was the show In Living Color which ended up jumpstarting a number of careers like Jim Carrey’s, Damon Wayans’ and Jennifer Lopez’s. Lopez joined the show as one of the Fly Girls, but someone in our group referred to them as the “Booty Girls.” In retrospect, the latter name sounds quite appropriate.

Floyd also brought up Keenan Ivory Wayans’ movie I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, a movie that for some strange reason I have still not seen. I remember getting a kick out of watching its trailer which gave you more than enough reasons not to ignore it. When did it come out anyway? Ah, 1988. I guess it’s safe to say I am behind in the movies I need to watch it. Not to worry, I do plan on watching it and 12 Years a Slave at some point. I’m just not sure which order I should watch them in.

One of the things I love about my new Droid phone is how much better the camera on it is than the puny one on my prehistoric iPhone. It allowed me to capture a number of funny and informative signs we came across on this run for posterity, and I don’t just mean the ones Coach JC and company left out for us. One of them served as a reminder that there’s still a midnight movie I need to watch with an audience, The Room.

The last few miles of the run were hard on some of my fellow Lucky 13 runners. One was just getting over food poisoning, the kind of sickness where your stomach keeps yelling at you quite fiercely, “NO VACANCIES.” Now that’s something I never want to experience ever again. Another runner was in pain as I imagine anyone would be after just 13 miles. I ended up giving him a couple of my CVS Pain Relief tablets (comparable to Extra Strength Tylenol I’m told) which I assured him would help. 

Actually, I should point something out here. I decided to take two of those CVS tablets before the run, knowing that my feet were not going to forgive me during and after 18 miles. Thanks to them I held up well throughout though my feet were tremendously sore at the end of it all. Other Lucky 13 runners said they use Ibuprofen or Advil, and both have helped me out before. However, I’m wondering if I should go with Aleve from now on. Whereas most pain medication lasts for 6 hours, Aleve is supposed to last 12 hours; more than enough time for marathon endurance. 

I was eager to run the last few miles, but I decided to stick it out with Winston since he was having some troubles. It didn’t feel right to leave him on his own, and I kept hearing John Goodman’s character from Raising Arizona in the back of my head saying, “God dammit! You never leave a man behind!” Once we got back to Zoo Drive and that ever so welcome breeze of cool air hit us in the face, I asked Winston if he would be okay if I ran ahead. He said that was fine, and the truth is he ended up finishing not all that far behind me. 

Much of the food banquet we runners were treated to another food banquet like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that were now a little stale (that's how long we were out on the road), Chips Ahoy cookies Hershey’s Kisses among other things. Anything tastes super good after a long run and, of course, there was plenty of chocolate milk to go around which we can never get enough of it. 

I came out of the 15 mile run a few weeks feeling bad about where I was at. I felt like I let myself down and that I was not taking training seriously. Granted, that one was the first after Christmas and New Year’s for me, but I struggled in a way I didn’t expect to. But with this 18 mile run, I feel proud for a change. I did my duty and did my two maintenance runs, kept myself hydrated throughout the week, I avoided alcohol and had a great carbo lunch the day before which gave me the fuel I needed to make it through to the end. 

We should all be proud of what we accomplished on this run whether this is our first marathon or not (it’s my fifth). I’m patting myself on the back for this one a little more than usual because, and anyone who knows me best will agree, I am way too hard on myself. I also feel like I’m losing weight for a change. Man that feels good!

According to Runkeeper I traveled 18.24 miles (I didn’t stop it right away), I was on the road for 4 hours and 52 minutes, and I burned over 2700 calories (man I hope that’s true). 

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