Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Accidental 30

So I’d like to say a few words about Saturday’s run.  It was a grand-scale solo running adventure and it wasn’t terrible; mostly I just felt bad that I had to interrupt other people’s - namely my dad’s - Saturday to rescue me from my own mistakes!  

The simple plan was for me to run about six segments of the Ice Age Trail between two of my favorite state parks here in SE WI.  My obliging sisters agreed to drop off my car at my finish point and everything.

I like to think of the Ice Age Trail as my "home trail" - it stretches all the way across WI and one of my goals in life is to run the whole thing!

So I got up at 6 a.m. ON A SATURDAY, packed up four gels (including two faves, Peanut Butter GU and caffeinated apple cinnamon PowerBar gel), a peanut/raisin Nature Valley bar, and 32 ounces of water.  While we’re on that subject, 32 oz. is not enough water for anything.  Ever.  
Best GU flavor ever.  Wish it was caffeinated.
The plan was to run a marathon - it’s Marathon March, after all - and so I crunched some numbers and added the segment mileage for the pieces of the trail I planned to run.  Things I failed to consider: 1. The mileage of several road connects between trail segments, 2. The half-segments at the beginning and end of my run that I dismissed as negligible, and 3. The possibility that I might get lost and end up running, oh let’s just say, two extra miles trying to find a damn trail blaze.  Oops.
So, most of the run was pretty ok.  I felt good, it was sunny and warm out, I wasn’t sick to my tummy at all, and I was optimistic about my pace.  But then I ran out of water.  And food.  I got tired of the lengthy road sections, and tired of slipping around in mud when I finally got back on trail, but then, oh good, I got a chance to trade the mud for ice.  Sucky mcsuck.  I knew it was getting bad when I got teary eyed in a particularly slippy downhill stretch and started yelling cuss words.  Apologies to the nice family that hiked by a few minutes later; really hoping you didn’t hear that.  
As I topped a rise and emerged onto a prairie, I spotted Holy Hill in the near distance and started crying for real - both out of frustration and relief.  I was sure I was in the HH segment of the trail, which is seven miles long and which stood between me and my final segment.  Alas, a helpful trail map showed that I was still a couple miles from being seven miles from being 1.2 miles from the end.  Eff.
And so, as I stumbled onto a road connect, I decided it was time to dial up Dad Stein.  
“Hi, Kim!”
“Hi!  How are you?” I said brightly.
“Well, I’m good, how are you?”
And then I got a little shaky.  "Um, I'm okayyyyy..."  The GPS read 30 miles, and I knew I couldn’t do 8.2 more.  

My view of the church at Holy Hill.  I (almost) was too pissed to be inspired. 

35 minutes later, my dad picked me up at Holy Hill, which it turns out they don’t call Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians for nothing.  I had a chance to freak out some dressed-up Italians on a Lenten pilgrimage, get cleaned up in the newly remodeled bathrooms (I feel like running has really given me an appreciation for public restrooms), and perch on a sunny rock next to a very nice statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary (hereafter, BVM) until my rescue car with diet Coke and a banana arrived.  Dads are the best.  
So, although my anger was outmuscling my endorphins on the way home, my mom and sisters were kind enough to remind me that I *did* successfully complete 30 miles, and it wasn’t for naught - I learned some things about fueling, running in mud, and assessing fatigue, and it was a beautiful day, and there were some pretty views.  And my mileage-addition skills need work.
And now, Marathon March takes a break until next weekend, when I do really truly honestly vow not to run further than 26.2 miles.  

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