So yesterday was officially my last “long” run. Yes, as previously noted, I am now crazy enough to think that 10 miles is actually a short run, hence the quotation marks around the word long. It was not a pretty run. I didn’t feel like I was running like the wind. And I didn’t feel marvelous and accomplished and energized. I had higher hopes for taper runs but as long as I get that feeling next week, I’m okay with the whole plan. But what really stood out about the run, aside from it being the last one, was that I managed to get lost. Yes, I have been running this same route for the past two months with the Team in Training group and yet yesterday, I managed to completely miss a turn and go rogue. This might be more understandable if I hadn’t actually been running in a group of 4 other people but no, I managed to shake off the folks with whom I was happily chatting, cross the street because there was no traffic, and simply continue running on down a road not on our route without noticing I was now alone. I have always been more or less directionally dysfunctional but I think this takes the cake. It probably took me a 1/2 mile to realize that no one else was with me any longer. If that isn’t just more proof that I like to hear myself talk and don’t need listeners, I don’t know what is. As bad as that is though, none of the three running with me shouted at me when I winged across the road and headed off the wrong way. Talk about giving a girl a complex!!! They later said that they thought I was not feeling well and had made the conscious decision to cut back early. I guess that’s an acceptable excuse (just barely). As for my ridiculous, lost self, the good news was that I was on a road I recognized so I didn’t get totally turned around and confused. I did have to run extra bits of older routes in order to make the mileage I was supposed to hit. But I guess running that bit alone gave me a taste of what it’ll be like running alone during the actual race—and reminded me to finish loading the iPod with enough music to keep me plugging along for a good 5 hours or more (there are lots of hills in San Fran, you know).
The last long run also blessed me with my latest crop of new blisters. Wouldn’t you think I’d have developed blisters and calluses by now? Apparently not. I have newly lumpy toes again and can only hope that they all heal before the race so I don’t have to deal with the pain of running through blister breakage, which is a bit like childbirth for the toes (yes, I’ve had this fun once already). Then I’ll be able to work up some new, impressive blisters during the race itself. It will be nice to have finally earned “official marathon blisters” instead of just these mere “training blisters.” I’m sure the official blisters will have more cachet than the appallingly frequent training ones. They’re likely to earn me more sympathy from my family too, right? Well, no, I don’t really believe that either but it doesn’t hurt to hope! Also on the foot front, the second black toenail has decided that simply being decoratively ugly is not enough and now it hurts to the touch. I’m guessing that it’s in some stage of trying to fall off and I can’t decide if that would be better done before or after the race. I suspect my feet will be very grateful for a break after this race given all I’ve managed to subject them to so far. And I’ll look forward to being able to hide them in closed toe shoes so all and sundry don’t glance at my sandaled feet and recoil in horror anymore.
So now my concerns are not on the running so much (well maybe by next Saturday it will all be about the running) but are on the preparations for getting there. I have all my official gear and my unique bar code to get my race bib. I haven’t tried on my shirt but I have great fears about looking like Barney the dinosaur in it, or maybe just an eggplant. Yes, it’s purple. Very, very purple. Not my best color under the best of times but given that I’ve managed to gain 20 lbs. while training (and moving), even worse than usual. I ask you, who gains weight training for a marathon? Ummmm. Yeah. Clearly I can’t do this again or I’ll end up so fat I’m bedridden given the speed I’ve packed the weight on. And no, you can’t fool me by trying to tell me it’s muscle instead of fat either. I may not be able to follow directions on a route I’ve run a zillion times before, but I’m not *completely* stupid. So, in addition to looking like
a giant purple dinosaur beloved only to those under the age of four, I have to decide what all to take with me. With a 5 or so hour flight in front of me (have I mentioned my fear of flying?), my most important decision will be what book(s) to take as I figure the clothing will sort itself out (and you wondered why I never look up to date on fashion!). Is now the time to actually crack War and Peace? Or do I take several smaller books instead? Does USAir charge for luggage? How many books will make my luggage overweight? It’s the important details after all! Besides, anything that keeps me from focusing on the fact that I am in imminent danger of having to put my money where my mouth is (or my feet where my fingers committed them) is a welcome distraction. More important questions: If I listen to my iPod on the flight, will it retain enough of a charge for the *whole* run? How much Advil will it take to make me willing to sightsee in San Francisco on Monday? Are my Gu gels less than the acceptable number of ounces to be in my carry-on luggage (because there is no way on the planet I am risking them getting lost in checked luggage)? How much does the knot in my stomach, now about the size of a grapefruit, weigh and once the run is over will I lose the corresponding amount of weight (she asked hopefully)? If my feet swell on the plane, how long before they will fit into my running shoes again? Is this a valid excuse for not running? Oh, wait, I didn’t mean to mention that last one! I’m sure that everything will come together somehow and even if I have to self-medicate to get on that plane on Friday, I will be there, heading out for a huge adventure and definitely looking forward to Monday (or even Sunday afternoon), at which point I will have a huge grin splitting my face and can start boring everyone with how cool it was to run a marathon—and anyone reminding me of the pain and suffering of the last four months will be suitably and efficiently ignored. :-)
Finally, I would like to thank everyone for their support throughout this journey. With your help, we’ve raised more than $6000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. That’s simply amazing. I never had any doubt that the people I know and love would come through, even in these rough economic times. So a huge thanks to all of you for that. A big thank-you also for the emotional support you’ve all offered me through these months—from encouraging e-mails and CD’s to advice and fun little pick-me-ups in the mail. It’s all been wonderful and made more of a difference to me than you know. So pat yourselves on the back and know that each and every one of you has made a big difference both to me and in the fight against blood cancers. You’re my heroes. (Oh, and if you have anything left, send up good thoughts and prayers for me next Sunday starting around 7am California time because the marathon that was so reassuringly so far off way back in May is apparently starting then and I’m going to have to run a really, really long way. Whose bright idea was this anyway?!!)