And no, I'm not talking about tapered jeans....although that does make me think of the Saved by the Bell episode I watched this morning at 4:30. Apparently that's about the only actual show on that early. Today was my last long training run! Can I get a woo hoo?!?!
This morning started before dawn. I am NOT a morning person, so this could have been a very bad thing. But since I was meeting up with Aldona, Pat, Meilssa and Julie to get 4 of our 20 miles out of the way, I got my butt out of bed. Ate my bagel with cream cheese, a banana, and drank some water after getting dressed in my running gear. Oh, and LOTS of body glide was applied to the feet...not that it mattered a lick (more on that to come...). I made it over to Dick Pond in my town about 5:10, and we were off right after that. It was actually a pretty easy 4 miles! I've been doing a run/walk method for my long runs, so it was nice to see I could still run some straight miles. But oh, how things would change.
It started to drizzle right before we started, which was actually a welcome addition to the start. It kept things cool as the sun was starting to come up. Then, about 3 or 4 miles into the 16 miles, the skies just opened up and it POURED! Not just a steady drizzle - I was soaked in about 5 seconds. But it didn't look too bad to the west, so I hoped I would just dry out as the run went on. Apparently I'm just that naive.
It rained a little bit off and on until I hit about mile 8 or 9. I could see the skies darkening to the west, and thunder was starting to rumble. I got another mile down the trail and it poured - again! I did stop for a few minutes under a bridge since the lightning was getting pretty bad. But I didn't want to hang out too long, so once the worst past I got back to work. At that point I just gave up trying to avoid the puddles. I knew my feet were already trashed at that point, and the water actually gave a little cushion for a bit. I met up with some other runners with the Fox Valley Marathon group, and we all kept plugging along through the rain, thunder and lightning.
I was so happy to make it back to St. Charles! My calves had started bothering me with about 2 miles to go, so I was probably doing more walking than running at that point. Looking back, I'm pretty sure it was due to dehydration. I actually still had Gatorade left (that never happens on a long run), and I only filled up my water bottle once. It's a good lesson for me to keep in mind for race day.
Another upside of getting the 4 miles done early is that I actually was NOT the last one back today haha! Of course, the other people coming in after me had run 20 miles in the time it took me to do 16, but it was nice to have others joining me. My dear friend Michelle had just come back a little bit before me, and I sat with her for a little while since she was having some calf/knee issues...I hope some R.I.C.E. will help her!
Several of us headed to The Office afterwards to celebrate the last group training run. Luckily I was able to get out of the wet clothes first (I could literally wring out my socks and shorts), and we had a great lunch. After that I finally made it home for a most welcome hot, hot shower. I feel like I'm human again!
So for the next three weeks I get to lower my mileage, and let my body rest and recuperate. I am so ready for it, and can't wait to cross the start line in three weeks! A huge thank you goes out to all of my friends and family who have supported me, encouraged me, and run with me. I could not have gotten to this point without all of you.