Sunday, August 7, 2011

An Unnecessary Picture Speaks a Thousand Words

Funds collected to date: $1661.40 (63%)
Amount needed to reach pledge: $958.60
Long run: 14 miles (total weekly mileage = 30)
Weeks to Go: 13

This week I ventured where I have not ventured before: Running greater distances than a half marathon.

I was home in Plymouth to volunteer with my Dad for the Pan-Mass Challenge on Friday. Volunteering was amazing but -- unfortunately -- it consisted of me being on my feet for quite literally 12 hours straight. Without a break. Not exactly a "rest" day, so to speak. That night after plenty of stretching, moaning, and groaning, I passed out in my childhood twin bed. To be clear, I did not regret volunteering because I felt so privileged and rewarded to put in time for such an amazing cause. But at the same time I felt like I might never walk again. In other words, confidence was low.

The next morning at an ungodly hour, I was up and ready to rock n' roll. I actually felt pretty strong except for some aching feet. Helping me out was the fact that the weather was border-line glorious at 7 am: minimal humidity and only 70 degrees.

Following I have decided to create a pictorial view of my 14-mile run through Plymouth so that you might experience what I experienced that day. My amazing mom decided to join me at the beginning of the run and would be waiting for me at the end.

Here I am, ready with my cool fuel belt to start the run at Nelson Beach:

Caption: Hey! I'm wearing a fanny pack!

I started my run doing a couple back and forth passes on this cute mile-long dirt path from the beach to 3A near Cordage Park (for those of you brushing up on your Plymouth geography). Yonder in the photo you can see Myra doing her own laps on the path. Adorable!

Is that the Mayflower? And Plymouth Rock? THE Plymouth Rock???

Why yes. Yes, it is.

After a jaunt in ye olde historic Plimouth, I ran down a hilly Warren Ave to the beach and reached mile 7 right here:
It took absolutely all my willpower at this stage not to pack it in, call it a day, and pass out face first into some questionable Plymouth Public Beach sand. So, I had myself a Gu, turned around, and started heading back towards the downtown again.

Oh, and while we're on the subject of Gu. If you ever told me even one year ago that I would be "that" runner who eats multiple of these "foods" (I can't in good conscious call them food with out a solid set of quotation marks), I would tell you that you, sir, were mistaken. Gu? Like...Goo? Really?

I ran by my old high school next to which the town is finally building the new high school. Let me preface by saying that this old high school had problems. You think your school was crappy? Well, we had our English classes in things called the "Portables." In essence, we learned the fine nuances of literature and linguistics in old, dirty trailers. Need more examples? Our music room was so small the woodwinds and brass couldn't actually practice together at the same time. Swear to god. One more? One time I was walking down the hall with a friend, and a huge chunk of ceiling fell out merely inches in front of us causing not only a near death experience for her and I, but also some significant ceiling and floor damage. The response? There would be a waste barrel in that spot for the remainder of our tenure at PNHS.

Why don't I just let you be the judge. Old high school:
New high school:
"Wow. Missed out on that one," I thought as I hit the 10 mile mark.

From here I ran back to Nelson Beach, consuming my second Gu on the way, to see what Myra had been up to in the 2 hours and 20 minutes it took me to run in this adventure.

She had clearly been suffering.

I actually had felt pretty good for the majority of the run, but the last mile was -- frankly - absurd. I feel like this is where the mental aspect comes into play, because as soon as I hit 13.1 I could almost literally feel my organs, bones and muscles start to freak out. Things got incredibly difficult, and I actually questioned if I could run that last 0.9.

But then, I was rescued -- as so many runners are -- by the one and only Lady Gaga's "Edge of Glory" blasting through my headphones. Yes! I too am on the edge of glory, Gaga! And I can do this!

What, I ask you, did runners do before iPods and Lady Gaga? I don't even understand.

Once I completed the run, what I wanted to do was die. What I did instead was some quality stretching like a champion. I wasn't going to post these photos Myra snapped away while using an iPhone for the first time ever. But, after deleting the 1,000 mistake photographs she took, I actually thought I looked pretty athletic in these and wanted you to see living proof of this as well:

Seriously! I look like I just came from the pages of an awkward Women's Health magazine or something, right!?

My tale is almost complete, but not before I tell you about the absurdity of what happened next. I went home and took an ice bath. A bath. In ice. You think running 14 miles hurts? Oh, no no no no no no. Getting your naked tushie into a tub of freezing ice water and sitting in that water for 10 minutes: that is pain. You are supposed to do it because of lactic acid build up, and it's evidently quite important for recovery.

To quote Jack Dawson of Titanic fame: "...water that cold, like right down there, it hits you like a thousand knives stabbing you all over your body. You can't breathe. You can't think. At least, not about anything but the pain. Which is why I'm not looking forward to jumping in there after you."
But go after me Leonardo DiCaprio did not.

While in that water, I cursed every running blog, magazine and website that had ever told me to do this. I swore to kill my coaches that had recommended this torture. I questioned if this was actually perhaps a cruel joke and how much of an ass I would have been for believing that this was appropriate.

And then I got out. And proceeded with my day.

But I will tell you: it actually worked. 24 hours later, I really felt quite good! The downside is now I know I have to do this every week. Lugging bags of ice home after long runs. Alone. Up three flights of stairs. To a bathtub I'll evidently have to start cleaning on Friday nights. Harumph.

To conclude this story of photographs and words, I am really excited I successfully and safely broke the 14-mile barrier. Special thanks to Mom and Dad for listening to me whine, fueling me up with yummy food, and being incredibly supportive this weekend as I continue the madness.

Oh and of course, an extra special thanks to my sister Allison for being super-sketchy slash absolutely hilarious:


  1. Wow the ice I am sure was painful. Good for you!! Keep it up.cuz. xo erin & sam

  2. G - you are AMAZING! (and hilarious).

  3. Not only am sketchy/hilarious.....WHO brought up the Jack Dawson quote? You are welcome. I live to provide you with humorous material for your blog.

  4. Chocolate milk works too for lactic acid.