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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

MY HEART FINDS A NEW BEAT

With an impending hand surgery in my near future, I realized I would still be able run afterwards since working out and surfing would be put on hold for the next 3 months.  After surgery and almost a month layoff of doing nothing due to a nasty chest cold that left me walking to the end of the block and back, I wondered if I could ever run those 3.25 miles again and not feel fatigued.  Well persistence paid off and I finally made it to that 3.25 mile mark again and slightly beyond just as we were heading to Scorpion Bay in mid March for 4 ½  months of camping, surfing and yes, running.  With my new trail running shoes packed and ready to be used we were off.

Scorpion Bay is the perfect place to run and surf because on most mornings the wind is in the wrong direction for a good clean surf but great for a morning run followed by a nice long surf session.  Slowly I began running every dirt trail I could find leading to longer runs and mileage.

The time spent alone running had become a time to meditate while in motion.  The sound of my breath and pace was a lullaby all its own.  Every thought became clearer and my zest for life which was always unyielding turned more fulfilling with each step.

I wanted to learn everything I could about how to run proper so I began emailing a friend of mine, Stacey, an accomplished marathoner who lives in San Francisco and whom we also see in Northern Baja in the winter with her boyfriend Tobin and their dog Sadie. 

Stacey was thrilled with my new love for running and was and still is more then eager to pass along a lot of extremely valuable advice.  No question was to silly to ask and believe me I ask a lot of questions.  She even put together a runners care package that was waiting for me when we would arrive home in San Diego in late July.  What a great surprise!

By the middle of June my longest run was now at 17.50 miles.  I wanted to go beyond that before leaving in mid July and before the weather became to hot for me to run any long distance.  Then one day during the last week of June I would run my farthest distance up to that time, 20.50 miles!

The past 5 days were filled with constant surf and early morning winds that gave us flawless perfect waves to surf.  I managed to fit my runs in between sessions but I kept wondering when the morning would arrive for my big run.  Then on day 6 the morning was magic!  Clouds, fog and onshore winds would greet me!  Yay!  Everything I was hoping for, I was in heaven.  It was exciting and I just couldn’t wait to run my dream goal of 20 miles.  I knew the weather conditions would change for the better later for another great day of surfing but right now was my time to run. 

I had my route down.  As I prepared I ate a banana and half of an energy bar.  I saved the other half in a baggie for later on during the run.  I grabbed 3 12oz bottles of Gatorade, laced up my shoes, kissed Glen and off I went.  At the 5 mile mark I stashed one of the bottles of Gatorade knowing I would need it for those last miles home.  At the time I didn’t have the proper equipment like a bottle palm holder and electrolyte packets which I would later learn is essential for any distance running.  So I carried my Gatorade bottles in each hand and stuffed the energy bar in the side of my shorts.

At mile 10 I was hungry so I ate my slightly melted energy bar and drank some more Gatorade as I trotted along.  The weather was nice and cool and now the fog had started to lift but I still had clouds and a nice breeze.  My route took me thru the desert to the ocean and over to an area where there are sand dunes.  All I could hear was my breathing and the pounding of the waves breaking.  I was now at my turn around point and I was still feeling strong and having so much fun.  I thought, hum, another 10 miles to go and I feel so good.  Cool.

At around mile 15 I made a wrong turn without noticing and ended up running a ½ mile out of my way thru ankle deep soft dirt.  This was a mess.  The detour did bring me back to my original route so onward I went.  I was still feeling good, dirty and sweaty but good until I noticed there was no longer a breeze and the sun was beginning to break thru the clouds!  Oh No!  The last thing I wanted was the sun beating down on me.  But that was not to be.  Mile 17 and now I had full sun and one bottle of liquid left.  I was now getting tired and thirsty for water and the Gatorade was just to sweet.  This must be that “runners wall” I’ve read about I thought as I kept running but now I was moving pretty slowly.  I didn’t want to stop and I didn’t want to walk, all I wanted was to make it back to camp and see Glen.  There was only one way back to camp and that was by the route I came up with so there were no short cuts back so the only way was forward.  Eventually I started feeling better and the sun didn’t seem so bad.

I started thinking about Glen and wondering if he was out surfing, surely the waves were good now.  This kept me company while I kept on.  Finally I made it to the light house that overlooks the point where we surf.  I glanced over as I ran by, perfect waves, a dozen in the water but no Glen.  Hum, maybe he already came in.  I only had a ½ mile to go and I was still feeling good.

As I ran up the path to camp there were my 2 dogs, Apollo and Taxi standing next to Glen who was banging a pot and blowing a whistle cheering me into the “finish line” he had made complete with a tape and a sign that read; FINISH LINE!  I was so overjoyed.  I leaned into his arms smiling and crying while my two dogs wagged their tails and licked my legs as if saying, “welcome home mommy, good run?”


I looked at my watch, I had run 20.50 miles in just under 4 hours and I felt so good, stiff but good.  I couldn’t believe I had done it.  I felt so proud.  I was full of energy and here was my wonderful husband waiting for me.  This is a man who will surf all day long and he hadn’t even surfed today at all, he said this was my day and he wasn’t going to miss it.  I am truly blessed.

While I stretched outside eating a banana and drinking water, Glen made me some scrambled eggs.  When I walked into our rig for my feast he had fully decorated the entire place with red streamers and even made me the most touching card.  I couldn’t stop the tears.

After a great breakfast we suited up and went surfing.  I wondered as I paddled out into overhead perfect surf if I would even be able to stand up on my board.  Much to my surprise and delight I paddled right into the most perfect wave and felt an enormous amount of pride and love.  I wanted to run farther today than I had ever run and I did it.  I accomplished something I had set my mind to do.

After 2 hours of non stop surfing my legs finally said no more.  I told Glen I was done and went in. On the walk back to camp or shall I say hobble back, I was actually slightly bent over as if looking for something as I moved, I smiled to myself and thought, I am a runner.

2 comments:

  1. Found your blog after watching a video about Glen on thescuttlefish.com. Your post about your 20.5 mile run is absolutely fantastic. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete