Last Saturday, I had to tackle a 20 miler all by my lonesome. Despite being offered awesome company by G and T to run 20 with them on Sunday, I had to stay close to home (this is somewhat debatable... but lets just call it what it is... laziness).
As I was prepping that night before, it turns out my iPod Touch screen was NOT responding (remember that giveaway where I gave away my "extra" one a year ago... yeah), even after trying all of the suggestions on-line (FAIL #1). I quickly scrabbled to find Kiera's iPod Nano (my old one), remove any trace of Hannah Montana, Justin Beiber, and Miranda Cosgrove, and went to bed as it was charging/syncing...
I had a hard time falling asleep (long story) and woke up at 3:30 am to my lovely new "puppy," Gabbana barking; I decided to start getting ready to head out. Since I was about 2 hours early to meet the XP group, I decided I would just run by myself.
I arrived at CCT by 5am... dark... very dark. There were a couple of runner-type dudes chatting near their trucks as I pulled in. You KNOW the ones... hard core, no gadgets, no water belts. I decided to quickly hop on the trail "just" behind them... you know, in case someone jumped out at me, these dudes would hear my screams... and that's when I realized despite charging all night long, Kiera's iPod only had "20%" battery left.... what? (Fail #2).
I kept the hard core dudes in my sight (they wore head lamps... I did not)... and realized that I was going waaaaaay too fast. Average for first 10 miles was 8:13 (what?). It was either my attempt to stay "just behind" the dudes or it was my fear of the dark. The sun came up around mile 7, just in time for the tears to start.
Tears: not because I was in pain, but just thoughts that I couldn't turn off. I was embarrassed and thought for sure that those who passed me could see... maybe they thought sweat.... yeah. At one point I had so much gunk coming out of my nose (you know when you cry so hard) that I had to step off the trail and... dispose of it in a non-lady like snot-rocket! Lonely runs are the best/worst when you cannot turn your brain off.
I consciously tried to slow down. 20 miles at 8:13 was NOT going to happen. Miles 10-15 were about 9:30 average. The bad thing about the CCT is that the trail has a net down hill running towards DC, but turning around to Bethesda... is all uphill... slightly... but by mile 12 you are totally feeling it.
And for some reason, by mile 15, I KNEW that I was going to make it. Tears were gone (or dried up) and I was cruising. I started saying hi to everyone... got a couple of "cute skirt" comments. I was feeling awesome. My pace was under 8:30, except for mile 17 (8:45). I felt successful.
It was mile 19 that I realized I had not calculated my run appropriately. I was at least 2 miles from my car. UGH. Just what I want... to run an extra mile. I had decided that I would stop at 20 and just walk in. By now the trail was crowded and I was TOO proud to walk it in... I kept running.
21:09 miles = 3:10:54
I was feeling like a SUPERSTAR! It was a great run. I am thankful that this week is a low mileage week... this chica is tired.
My hips ached later and a few flight of stairs sent me into heavy breathing. Funny story... actually... another time!