The Chances

How a 250+ Pound Couch Potato Got Healthy

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sunday Long Run: 21.4 Miles

Wow. It was supposed to rain, but holy cow, man. I think I personally soaked up half the rainfall in California.

This run was originally scheduled for Saturday. My wife had wanted to go to Denio's Farmer's Market in Roseville, so I agreed, but what I hadn't counted on was how cold it was. We didn't last long there, and ended up eating lunch at Brookfield's. I do like that place, especially since they have sweet potato pancakes.

As I ate, my sinus headache got worse and worse, and by the time I got home, I was ready to go to bed. Yet, I was still supposed to run 20 miles, and the Zoo Zoom 10k was scheduled for Sunday!

After much procrastination I finally resigned myself to the fact that I needed rest. I decided to forego the Zoo Zoom, spend the rest of the day around the house, and running the 20 on Sunday instead.

Sunday morning I did feel much better, so at 11am I headed out the door. It wasn't raining at the beginning, in fact the sun kept threatening to come out of the clouds. At the 2 mile mark, I saw a stray dog ahead of me, and I talked to it as I ran. "Hey, buddy, what are you doing out of your yard? Oh, you're going to follow me? Okay." 1/4 mile later, I stopped to check if he had a tag, but all he had was a leash collar. He kept following.

Suddenly a big, white pitbull came running out of a fence, barking like mad! Three people were running after it, shouting at him, "MOTHERF-ER!!!" I'm not sure if that was its name, but it was obvious immediately that it wasn't chasing ME, it was chasing the dog that had been running with me.

I watched as the pitbull chased after this dog, who was doing pretty well getting away, while its owners chased the pitbull. After a few minutes, they were able to catch the animal. It made me wonder though: why would anyone A) keep a dog that's capable of great harm to another animal, much less a person, B) leave their gate open with a dog such as that, and C) not have him tied up, given that their gate was open? The only possible answer I could come up with was "Olivehurst".

Then the rain started.

Now, I can deal with rain, I've run quite a bit in it. I also know from experience that while I do well in rain at first, long distances (10 miles or more) sort of get to me after a while. How could it not? I was prepared, I have a supposedly waterproof ultralight jacket I use for backpacking, and was wearing tights & a longsleeve comperssion shirt. I had the cap of the jacket over my head, with my running hat to hold it in place. I was wearing my Brooks running vest for visibility.

The thing I didn't count on was the fact that the backroads I run on were extremely uneven. Not so uneven that you can't run on them, but uneven to the point where after a short time they became miles and miles of puddles. Not quite a lake, but it was a challenge not to run in an inch of water. The side of the road I normally run on was really more of a water-filled trench, so I had to run towards the center of the road. This road, of course, becoming a highway once outside of town.

Needless to say, I did my share of running, and my share of peeing. I made sure I was hydrated though, I had my 1.5 liter hydration pack, combined with my newly-purchased Ultimate Direction 24-ounce bottle filled with Nuun. I'd almost emptied the Nuun by the 12-mile marker, but my plan was always to go into the Plumas Lake Walgreen's for some water and sustinance. I refilled my bottle, added the Nuun, and ate a protein bar & apple.

I can't say I wasn't tempted to cut the trip short. Had I turned onto Plumas/Arboga Road, I could have been home in 16 miles instead of 20, but I was on a mission. I had to earn my taper!

The wind blew my hat off at Mile 14, and as luck would have it, two or three cars were coming so I had to wait for them to pass before I could retrieve it. Meh.

Then I headed out to the Sleep Train Amphitheater. Running out there is a strange experience, with no concerts going on and with the rain, it's quite deserted. The occasional car doing 85 mph would always tear water up something fierce, which would then blow onto me. Meh.

I also wonder as I run out in places like that what people must think. Hey, there's a guy out here, and what... he's running? What a moron!

What helped was listening to podcasts. By this time I was knee deep in Running Stupid, and when someone's talking about ultramarathons, mile 17 in the rain doesn't seem all that bad!

As I passed the amphitheater, I saw a porta potty and thought wow, I could sure use a break... oh wait, it's behind barbed wire. I wasn't quite prepared to cross it, so I took the next stop behind a stack of hay bales and managed to get my shoes nice and muddy. By the time I got home, my shoes were clean. :)

I couldn't think about my muddy shoes though, because I still had miles to complete. As Running Stupid ended, I attempted to put on some music, only to find that the phone was just acting wacky. It just wouldn't do what I wanted it to do, so I finally gave up and turned it off.

At mile 19, I stopped at the Tower Mart to use the restroom and honestly, buy some sugar in the form of yellow Zingers. I would have preferred raspberry, but they were sold out. Meh.

Then I ran into someone I know. Here's how the conversation went.

"What are you running from?"
"Not from, to. I'm ready to get out of this rain, home will be 20 miles."

Yeah, dude. When was the last time you ran 20 miles in the rain, does it not count if I don't run nonstop? Meh.

As I was into the last mile, the rain decided that it had been too nice to me, so the clouds opened up and suddenly I was in a hurricane. Or at least, it felt like it, the wind was blowing, the rain was now 3x as hard as before, and being back in civilization, there were lots of cars going by. Can I have another meh?

When I finally made it home, the shower was quite welcome. We went to pick up the kids, who had spent the weekend in Fort Bragg with grandma & grampa. For dinner I had a nice rib eye and made no apologies for it.

See the activity on RunSaturday
Type:Run - General
Distance:21.36 mi

So after my peak week of 37 miles, I can happily report that I'm officially in taper mode! Of course you wouldn't think so, given tomorrow's 6x800m intervals scheduled, but thinking about taper does make me happy. Only three more weeks until the Avenue of the Giants marathon, where I'm not expecting a PR, but should certainly beat last year's 6:21 time.

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