Monday, April 2, 2012

Pushing through... (500miles?)

Someone told me that Saturday's run time was going to be earlier, so I said what, 4:30? No wait, better 3:30 in the morning. Today's trek was a scheduled 12 miles and it is coming into the time of the year and the time of the training where we roll back the time a bit to beat the heat and allow people to get done at a good time. I'd been warned to take it easy, I've had a big month with the attempt at Little Rock at the beginning and the successful if exhausting first trail run at the Snake Run last weekend. But as I woke up and heard The Proclaimers "I'm gonna Be(500 miles)" on the radio, I was thinking I might just could do the whole 12.

Seems I was only partially joking as I ended up splitting the difference and started at 4 in the morning. I was just getting geared up at the River Trails West start point when a couple of others pulled up and we chatted for a minute and then we each took off.

Soon, I was left alone in the darkness. My headlamp broke a few weeks ago, after Little Rock, and I haven't had a chance to replace it, so it was just me and my eyes with the occasional switch on of my handheld flashlight.

The early morning darkness precluded some picture-taking, but I tried my hand at a few shots anyway. The city lights take on a whole new quality when as the city slumbers and its these times that I enjoy running and listening to the city's restive pulse, long before the day begins.

It always amazes me when I think about where our runs actually take us. The diversity and distance of these treks really leaves me in awe, thinking, 'did I really do that?' What possesses a big guy like myself to get out and push himself to do things that "normal" people consider crazy. I mean even if I called all this a "walk"... Me: "I'm 400 pounds and I just walked 7 and a half miles up and down some pretty good hills this morning because I think it is fun." Normal Person: "You're nuts, stay away from me." (The preceding is not representative of any actual conversation I've had, but a scene in my head only. Thank you).

So, the first part of this journey I recall from a previous training run. Over the river and down by the hospital, so far so good. At my first mile, I was greeted by the big neon Route 66 sign and I was in good spirits. I pressed on. Coming up to Charles Page Blvd, I was thinking about all the times in Little Rock that I would walk down to the viaduct and watch the trains go by, wondering what their destinations were and thinking about the Arlo Guthrie song, "City of New Orleans". As I passed over the tracks there, a train was passing beneath me and I paused, for that moment, in 2 times and places at once... or so it seemed.

I turned back north for my last push in that direction for the day. I would pass through Owen park and past the oldest house in Tulsa... Still too dark to take pics of that, but I did manage to get a pic of downtown from the park as dawn was starting to creep across the sky. Still had a big uphill to go so I took a moment to fuel and drink something. I figured that this was where the waterstop would be, but I was just out too early for that and I wasn't going to wait around. So up the hill I went.

Now the last time I came up this way, I honestly don't remember what the path was, but it seemed like I just kept going and going this time. I don't remember taking the turns I took, but I guess I must have. Finally, I got well up into the subdivision there and made my easterly turn. I crossed the pedestrian bridge over the Tisdale and realized that it was shaking... kinda like that bridge in Little Rock. Hmmm... Might need to remember this. Finally, I was back out on a street I had run a few times. Heading down toward Cains and more familiar territory, I was certainly starting to feel my legs and feet getting tired. But I wasn't done yet. The morning twilight was starting to brighten into a grand day as I passed Cains Ballroom and I realized that I was doing pretty good on time. My first 2 miles had been great times, but maybe just a little fast. I was still in the groove passing that spot, but I could feel the endurance starting to slip. I was coming up on my 5th mile and I started thinking about how I might need to cut this short. I could have just backtracked down 1st street until I got back to the Bridge I came over earlier. That would have been the quickest way back, but I wasn't ready to do that. Looking at the course map, I decided the best thing would be to just follow the course as it doubled back and cross the 23rd street bridge for a 7.5-8 mile trip for the day.
So I continued on. 500 miles, huh? Yeah... kinda felt like that. Push through it. My biggest obstacle now? Going down Galveston, the steepest grade of the path. As I came around mile 6, I was feeling real lean and a little nauseous, but a sudden realization struck me... Everything from here was better than I had done at Little Rock and I was still pretty strong. No cramps and I still had legs left, if not a lot. Soon I was to Galveston and I stopped to fill up 2 of my 4 bottles I carried with me on this trek. It was my only water stop, but I had planned well and was not abnormally in need of fluids. Just a little over a mile and I would be back to my truck, so no need to overstock here. Push. I was right, I didn't like the downhill portion. Uphill is for running, downhill is for skiing. No skis today.

Finally, I was on River Trails East and heading in. Right about mile 7, I realized that my left foot felt squishy. Great... same foot as on the trails last week -- I had a pretty big blister. Nothing for it now, I babied it as best as I could trying to get back to my truck. Up and over the bridge... Did that thing get longer? It seemed like it took me forever to hobble across that thing. Finally, I was on the last leg. But my feet had just about had it and I pulled up short and got a ride back to my truck. Total distance 7.6 miles. It's been 2 days and I am still feeling it. Maybe by mid-week I'll feel like I am back to normal. But this is an off week for me, as I have tests in OKC on the 7th and won't be running the Aquarium Run like I had given thought to. A shame. This year, I think I could really rock the 5k, too. Maybe next year.


  1. Good run!!! And yeah now that you have been training for the marathons and such you should whip those 5k's easy!

  2. She's right! 5k piece of cake after those longer distances :) It killer humid out Saturday too. J

  3. Wow... did I forget to mention the near 90% humidity? It was oppressive, to be sure!

  4. We did about the same distance! Every time I see you out there, it gives me encouragement for myself. Running is always there, no matter what. Great job!!!