I started out on my first ten @ 4:45am. I was actually awake at 3, but couldn't bring myself to actually start running at that time.
Running under the night sky is always so surreal for me. The air was humid, but the sky was clear (no smoke from the fires) and the stars where bright. The moon was full and provided adequate light for my run, though I still wore my own lights for safety.
The first 10 miles clicked by quickly. I met Richard at mile 10 and we had a nice run through the old Nature Trail of Grogan's mill. I love that trail, but after an unusual experience out there I won't run it by myself anymore. It's not really a "trail" as it is concrete, but it is very serene and more wooded than any other "trail" in The Woodlands.
We looped around the Millbend loop and saw lots of folks out on the run, many of them preparing for fall marathons. I had heard from several people that they were running 20+ milers and they invited me to join them. I tried to figure a way to make it work, but that would involve me driving to a location just a few miles away and I really preferred to use my home as an aid station and meeting point.
Richard and I had 7 great miles together. Love running with good friends! Talking about whatever comes up and changing subjects about as often as our minds feel is necessary.
Richard and I parted ways as he headed home and I headed to my "aid station". The first 20 seemed almost effortless. I can tell I'm in good shape when I feel that way.
I heard from Bill that he was on his way, so I decided to wait at the house for him rather than have him try to find me on the road. He was coming quite a way to support me and I will never be able to express how much I appreciate his efforts! I checked my facebook to see how Paul was doing on his run and he was at mile 37 looking for some motivation. I sent mine along and sent a prayer or two with it! I was a tiny bit jealous that he was already at mile 37...but I knew I would be there soon enough.
Bill arrived, prepared his bike, and we were off. I wasn't sure how long he would ride with me. I figured maybe 10 miles or so, but then he shared that he was riding the rest of my 20 with me, I was blown away! Amazing! I was going to have company the whole time!
I had originally planned to run all of the Villages this side of the freeway. I had mapped out routes that would allow me to hit even Creekside which is in a different county. But when Bill showed up, I changed my mind and decided I would rather show him some of the trails that I run in the Nature Preserve. I had planned to run one 20 mile loop and then two different 10 mile loops.
We left out of my home and headed towards the Nature Preserve. It's about 2.5 miles to Mitchell and by the time we arrived, it was much warmer and the trails were very busy! There was an Adventure Racing group from Houston out in force. Seemed like a great bunch of people and they even invited us to a race in Huntsville! One of these days...
I was happy to be able to share the trail with Bill. We don't get to see each other's stomping grounds very much at all. I hope to get to his neck of the woods this coming weekend. I'm dying to see Lake Houston's new trails.
The trails felt like heaven to me. No pain, soft ground, and of course, lots of beautiful dirt. It's just who I am.
We headed out the short way home to take advantage of the park restrooms. A pretty funny event occurred on the way back in. As we were waiting to cross the road at Woodlands Parkway, I noticed a friend of mine, Ellen, waiting at the light in her car, as I was saying hello to her, a landscape truck was driving past. Out of no where, a large industrial lawn mower rolled off the back of his pull-along trailer and rolled directly into the oncoming traffic. All of this was happening directly in front of Bill and I. We flagged down the truck and I ran to the mower trying to pull it out of the way of oncoming traffic. It weighed about two times more than I do and I'm sure it had to be a sight to see me trying to pull this mower out of a major roadway. To say I was unsuccessful would be an understatement. Bill came to the rescue and pulled the thing to the side of the road. Motorists were thanking us and the lawn guy casually strolled up to us to get his mower. I don't know why he wasn't more concerned about moving a bit faster, but after 27 miles, I didn't really care. Coming back into my make shift aid station, we were short about 3 miles. One thing I don't like to do is to add miles on at the end of a run, especially a long run. I'd rather add on at the beginning. I knew this last loop was going to be a bit more work than the first 2.
We refueled, I even got to harass my son for a bit before we headed out for the final 13. The loop was fairly uneventful, though the last 3 miles were quite challenging mentallyI thought of Paul and his request for inspiration at mile 37. I chuckled to myself that I felt the same way.
The home stretch was just that. I allowed my legs to stretch out and just embrace the final few miles of the run. I wasn't worried about pace nor overall time. I wanted to hit 40. I asked Bill to make sure that no matter what happens, when we hit my door at 39.5 miles, his main job was to get my butt to 40. No matter what. I shared with him how I did not want 39.anything showing up in my log that day. It had to be 40. I don't know why I get hung up on a number, but I do. 39.7 would not have been 40. Neither would 39.9. I knew that if I hit the driveway under 40, I would tell myself that was good enough and that I would regret it later. He promised he would make sure we hit my goal.
We arrived at my driveway and he quickly set his bike aside and ran with me. It was pretty hot (around 97 I think) by this time and the sun was unforgiving. The saying "the last mile is the toughest, no matter what the mileage goal is" was definitely ringing true. We finished up the final mile and then celebrated our little accomplishment.
|I get by with a lot of help from my friends!|
My stomach never felt upset and I never felt dehydrated. I came in 6 pounds under my start weight and I have yet to gain it back.
The hardest part of this run was the 10 miler I did on Sunday and even more, the 6 I did on Monday. Things are sore now and I really don't want to injure myself so slow and patient miles are the order of the day/week. This week will be another heavy mileage week. I have had to let some of my cross-training go this week in order to fit it all in and keep up with the family schedule.
As always... run with joy in your heart and peace in your soul!