I could have just slapped myself this morning for being a ball of anxiety. I got a horrible night's sleep last night, and woke up every single hour on the hour, and I know it's because I was nervous about doing this run today! I wasn't even this nervous for my first race in 2009! Every time I would wake up I would think, "Seriously?! You are so dumb, just stop it." But then an hour would pass and I would struggle awake again. *sigh* I ended up throwing in the towel and getting up around 5 am, which I"m glad I did. It gave me plenty of time to have a smoothie, a cup of coffee and do my Yin Yoga DVD. Ya'll know how much I love my Yin Yoga!
I got to the meeting spot, and approaching the big group of people was hard, but I did it. Everyone was super welcoming and kind, just as they have been over Facebook. I met my mentor and my coach, which was cool. When they asked me if I had "technical food" with me, I told them I brought one of my Gu Shots with me, hoping that was the right thing to say. My mentor was like, "I'm impressed! You have your electrolyte water, technical food, you're wearing good gear. You seem to be experienced at running!" I just about fell out at that, I don't know that anyone would mistake this chubby girl for an experienced runner, but I was happy to not be the gomer of the group. After most people got there, they did a warm up and also had a lady share her story about her daughter with leukemia. Thankfully the daughter is doing well, but sounds like it has been a rough road for the last 2 years. :(
So here's where things get interesting. I had planned on doing 8 miles, which was the shortest long run you could do if you were signed up for the marathon. I signed up to run/walk, but it seemed most people were doing just a walk. There was another lady who had a similar pace/running style to me, so they paired her up with me, but she was doing the 9 mile route. They handed out the routes, and pardon the expression, but the routes were a complete clusterfuck. And there wasn't much hand holding in the route department, they just hand you a piece of paper with
My running partner today was a lady named Malu from Columbia, and she was super nice, funny, and talked just the right amount. I got a bit of a side stitch in the beginning, but managed to work it out. Malu's style of running was perfect and just like mine, we just kind of plodded along, then walked when needed. We started out pretty good, but ended up getting terribly lost by following some of the other team members who didn't know what they were doing, then trying to correct our mistakes by following the crappy directions on the sheet they gave us. We somewhat got on track, and by the time we did, Malu and I decided that it made sense for me to just do 9 miles. So we continued on but got turned around AGAIN. We were both pretty frustrated, especially since the area we were in was nothing but hills, so our quads and butts were burning! We finally turned around after looking for a street that didn't exist, and decided to go back to home base.
As all this is going on, my faithful Garmin was beeping off the miles. Though I was feeling rough, I smiled when it beeped at the 8th mile, because that's officially the furthest I've ever gone on a run. Now granted Malu and I were not running by miles 8 and 9 (her foot was bothering her and the hills had just robbed our legs of any energy), but I still felt proud. When we got back to the meeting spot, my Garmin said we'd done 9.3 miles! I think we actually went almost 10, because Malu turned her GPS on sooner than I did, and she had us at 9.87. Let's just say I did 9.5 for fairness sake. My legs definitely feel a little beat up, but I am super happy that I challenged myself by doing this. And I'm also thankful I had Malu with me. As anxious as I was about running with someone, she ended up being a really good partner to run with. I wouldn't have pushed myself beyond 8 miles without her (and without getting lost of course), and I was thankful I was lost with her and that I wasn't by myself. If I'd been by myself I would have had a complete stroke and probably cried. Getting lost scares me to death!
Also, I tried out both of my electrolyte tablets today, and definitely recommend both. They both tasted pretty good and gave me a boost. I also ate one of those Gu Shots in the chocolate mint flavor. Oh my...it was just like a big spoonful of cake frosting. Super yum!