Friday's shift concluded. I was in bed by 2:45 and up at 6:30ish to stretch, hydrate, urinate (a thousand times it seems pre-run) and head to Lakewood for my final long run of this training season.
My preferred running partner just finished his marathon and so I would be running a long run, solo. Well, somewhat solo, since I was running with my group, but uncertain as to how many people actually would be running more than 8 miles that particular Saturday morning.
Since my Friday had been spent on my feet, I opted to drop back to the 4:10:00 marathon pace group. I wanted to take it easy since I didn't know how I would fare due to how I chose to spend my Friday.
The course was part trail/concrete, crush asphalt through Lakewood. I will be honest. Running in the areas of Lakewood that we have run has been my least favorite Saturday morning runs. Either it is boring, ugly or too urban. I don't know. I think I am being too critical of it.
Anyways, I showed up and there were twenty people in the initial group. We headed out from the Belmar Shopping Center and I listened to my ipod and snippets of conversation going on by those around me. Typically, I prefer to not talk to people that I do not know. I tend to ease into the conversation, later, when I want to. I don't want to force conversation and so my first few miles are inspired by my ipod.
As we neared the 8 mile turnaround, there was a definite drop in numbers. The only remaining runners, in my group, were all doing 16. I don't know how that happened but I was thankful. Saturday was gloomy, humid and basically a yuck day to be running at all. I took off with this older woman that was a competitive runner. Her and her husband both used to run until he hurt his back. Being a man, according to her, limited his desire to go to the doctor. He lived with pain instead of enjoying life. We had a nice conversation and she wanted to push the run whereas I wanted it to take it easy. There were four men behind us, with Garmin's, and I knew they were tracking the pace. I wanted to stay closer to them.
At mile Eight, our turnaround, we split up, again. Two guys went forward to make sure this solo gal was safe running through Lakewood and four of us turned back to the start. I ended up running with a guy and the lady ran with his friend.
I recognized this guy, but didn't know his name. He, too, is running Vegas and so we had that in common. He's married and so we talked about his life for the final 8 miles.
He was nice but not very positive about life. His wife is a former runner. She doesn't travel to his events because it's boring to travel with someone that is prepping for a race for two days. Did I mention that she doesn't drink? He does. He's British. He likes pubs.
Or, that she is a vegetarian? He is a carnivore and the 12 lb. turkey for Thanksgiving could be wasted.
She has a thyroid issue and cannot drink soy since it interferes with her medication. She's younger, with a child and he is closer to her mother's age.
I mean, is there any joy in this relationship? I am sure that there is, but it was so different running with him compared to the Barefoot Runner who inspires positive thoughts. It's funny when I look back on the conversation, how different people are. And, I say that, because the conversations I have had with women, in this group, generally tend to focus on their kids, their husbands, life as a mommy, if that is what they are. Few of the women--my age--are single and we talk about travel, dating, not having kids.
I love it all, though. It is fun to learn about people.
The 16 miles concluded and I never hit my fatigued point. I think it is because we were going really slow at that point. Instead of taking off, I chose to run with the guy who was struggling. He told me, three different times, to go ahead without him, but I was okay with going slow. I knew that I would be able to work, later, if I didn't push too hard to finish quick.
Now I am on the Taper. Yea, me~So happy.
I am nervous. December 5th is in two weeks--Yikes!
I made it through a successful training cycle...that counts for something, right?