Yesterday marked a new personal running distance record for me. 16 miles. Yes, one-six, like the age when you get your driver’s license, only somehow I ran that far. Whew – it’s tiring just to think about it again! I am so thankful for my CarreraThon training group because it would have been an extremely tough run all by myself. Truly, the only reason I finished this run is because I prayed that God would keep me going when I wanted to quit. I totally was leaning on the verse that says “in your(my) weakness, I(God) am strong” because I was very weak, but He kept me going.
It was raining when I got up at 4 am and I really contemplated going back to bed and running later in the day. Instead, I started baking a pumpkin loaf and getting ready for my run. I like to have time to relax, eat, organize my fuel/water situation and mentally prepare for the run. It wasn’t until about 6:25 that I actually decided I was going to meet the group at 7 to run. It was still raining when I arrived at our starting point, but by then I was committed to running, as long as everyone else was running.
We waited until 7:45 because it was very dark and by that time the rain was pretty light. The first three miles tried to dodge the puddle but still ended up soaked head to foot. Our route was along most of the last half of the Rock N Roll marathon route. I was very happy to run this because I always feel more confident running a race when I know the route ahead of time. Our turn by turn said something about Ghost Tracks, and I didn’t exactly understand this. Everyone kept making jokes and finally, I had to tell them I didn’t know what they were talking about. We ran past a large cemetary, which is part of the marathon route, and apparently there is a Ghost that will stare at you if you get too close. I did not see any ghosts, but our coach said on that stretch of road during the actual marathon, the crowd will be pretty dead. Ok, bad joke, but we laughed pretty hard!
Running, running, running, bathroom stop, running, running, running. And then the ghost stories began. We ran along the rail road tracks for at least a mile maybe longer, and that is where I got to hear the story about the Ghost Tracks. Apparently, in the 60’s or 70’s, a schoolbus full of children got stuck on the railroad tracks and was hit by a train, killing several children. At this point, I’m feeling down, not the way you want to feel less than halfway into your 16 mile run. The upside is, the little ghost children are still in the area and watch over the tracks. People will line up, put baby powder on the trunk of their car and straddle the tracks with the car in neutral. If you wait long enough, the ghosts will push your car off the tracks. I was highly skeptical at this point, but our coach said she actually did it and there were little finger prints on the back of her car when it got across the tracks. I’ll let you know if this actually works, but I’m not sure I really want to try it.
Ok, back to running, running, running. Eat a LARAbar, running, running, running. Take a Rehydrate GEL, keep running. Yeah, it is kind of boring I know. I wish I could tell you all the funny jokes we passed around, but I’m terrible at telling a good joke. At mile 12, our coach fell back to make sure two other runners finished and three of us kept on pushing. We had a couple little hills right at this point, and we all kept encouraging one another to keep running. When we got to mile 14, each step was a new personal record for all of us. It was very cool, even though we were tired and only wanted to stop for breakfast tacos, we kept running. It really made me think of the TEDtalk I watched about running and how it is meant to be done in community. If you have 15 minutes, definitely listen to it!!
Our route ended just short of 16 miles, so we looped around the park just long enough to make 16. When we stopped, it was like we all had jello legs. They felt like they were still moving even though we weren’t running anymore. I immediately took off my shoes and sat down indian style. After about 10 minutes I got my foam roller and rolled out at much as possible. I also downed a powerade and about half a liter of water. I felt very accomplished, tired and a little dismayed that in about 5 weeks I would have to keep running for 10 more miles after this point. Thank goodness for God and his angels to carry me because otherwise it just won’t happen.
Do you have any real life ghost stories?? What were your first marathon training experiences like?