Today’s run was early. Really early. Start time was 4:15 AM. Plus the run was at a place about 45 miles away from my house. And we were carpooling, so I had to meet at my friend’s house at 3:00 AM so we could drive to the start point. All of these factors meant that I had to get up way too early. I had my alarm set for 2:00 AM, but I woke up at 1:45 and just decided to get up then.
We got to the start point, a truck stop in the middle of the Nevada desert. Seriously, that is basically all there is in this “town” where our run was. A truck stop and a prison. Nice, huh? I was a little anxious about today’s run after last week. (And thank you for the kind comments, especially Karen‘s that I got just in time to help boost my spirits before this run, it meant a lot to me to receive a little bit of encouragement.)
The plan was to run along some road in the desert. The San Antonio team was supposed to go 9 miles out and turn around to do a grand total of 18 miles. The Nike team was supposed to go out 10 miles and come in for a 20 mile total. We started out and it was very, very dark. I seriously should have brought my headlamp just to see the debris that was strewn along the side of the road. Oh, and to see the snakes.
Yeah, there were a lot of snakes out. A couple people saw snakes crossing the road (or at least the glint of their eyes in the darkness), we heard the rattlesnakes off the sides and at one point a sagebrush directly on my left “rattled” as I went past. YIKES! Plus I stepped on a little baby snake at one point. And there was roadkill, some lovely fresh carnage strewn across the road that had to be avoided.
The first 9 miles seriously felt like a breeze, I was surprised when we had to turn around because it felt like it came so soon. I did have about a 10 minute period where I didn’t record any stats on my Nike+ because I had paused it briefly at a water stop and forgot to start it again. I’m not entirely sure of the accuracy of this claim, but the gal that was at our turnaround point told us after that she had actually gone out too far, about 9.5 miles. If that’s the case, we actually exceeded our 18 miles but I’m just going to stick with the 18 total.
The second 9 miles was tougher, but not unbearable. My knee felt a little stiff and achy after a while, but not too bad. I had on a brand new knee brace and the support it gave was amazing, I wish I had been running in this thing the whole season. The worst part of the run was the last 3 miles. You can see the truck stop very clearly, as it’s the only thing emerging from the vast expanse of sagebrush, yet it is still 3 whole miles running toward something that doesn’t seem like it is getting any closer until about the last half-mile. A little disconcerting visually.
The good thing about starting/finishing a race at a truck stop is that we had bathrooms readily available at the end of the run. The bad thing about that was the bathrooms are full of mirrors and bright lights (as opposed to park bathrooms that we usually have access to on run day). It was really great to see my face covered in a crusty, white film from the sweat. The beauty of endurance athletics.
And even though my body is a little sore today, I can walk and move amazingly well. Last week’s run left me feeling like I wanted to lay down and not move for hours (or maybe days). Today I feel pretty sprightly, considering the distance. The only thing that is not that great is the intense pain in my lower back.
My waist hydration waist pack, caused a large wound on my lower back. I don’t think BodyGlide would have helped this, but it was an entirely new injury. I went through my previous marathon and all of my training so far with this same pack, so I don’t know why today it decided to fight back and hurt me. Showering was sheer agony, the feel of water falling on that spot was enough to send me into tears. And yet, it’s a little bit like a badge of honor… silly to feel kind of proud of a running wound. I desperately hope it heals quickly.
BTW – I ran 18 miles today! That just feels awesome to say that.