Sunday, September 03, 2006

Girls Morning Out

We pulled in to the Y parking lot at 4:40 am to find Sonya, Darcy and Jenny waiting. None of the lights were on in the lot, so it was pitch black. Brenda pulled up, and then Wendy. Everyone threw their bags into the back of our car, we said good-bye to Eric and took off. We expected to see Eric and Rob at mile seven, so we were quite surprised to find Eric cheering us on from the side of the road at less than a mile out! We headed down the big hill and into the valley, as we ran through town, we spotted Eric ahead again, this time with the camera.Downtown was closed down tight and there was little traffic. As we approached the train tracks the lights started flashing and alarm bells ringing. We had to wait for a freight to pass. Across the tracks, past the car lots, past the big store and over the river. We turned on to Levee Road and left Puyallup behind. There were no street lights here and in fact, no shoulder. We'd run in the lane of traffic until we'd see a car approach then drop into single file. We saw a few fishermen out on the river, and we saw Eric a couple times. He'd drive by us, hang the cowbell out the window and ring it at us, then park to see if we needed anything. Then we saw Rob drive by and knew they'd be waiting at mile seven as promised. The highlight of this stretch was probably the guy who slowed by, rolled his window down and said "you girls are hard core, man, hardcore". The only thing we could see of him was the lit end of his cigarette. This was a really long stretch of road, and eventually we could see a headlamp coming toward us - it was Rob and Eric, running out to meet us. They checked in, then turned around and ran ahead of us to the car. This turned out to be how all our aid stations would go - they'd drive ahead, park, run to us, then run back. We held to our pace and they'd be ready when we got there.We finally got to hand off our headlamps, and then the next time we saw them, our reflective gear. We were all feeling good, except Wendy - she has had a cramp on the side of her foot for two days. We were now just outside Fife. We took a pit stop at the little park just outside of town, then continued on. We were now on the stretch that I ran in the Rainier to Ruston Relay. This route takes us through the commercial area of town, then through to Tacoma the back way, through an industrial area. We came into Tacoma via an old bridge that goes over the river and a railroad yard, then up one of less attractive streets in Tacoma. Eric and Rob ran back toward us, and warned us that there was a homeless guy yelling up ahead, but not to worry, he seemed harmless. We never did see him. We finally made the turn onto Tacoma's main drag - very nice. Tree-lined, cobblestone and brick, in front of the history museum and the art museum. We turned the corner to head down to the working waterfront and saw the guys again for one last, long aid station. We changed shirts to something a little cooler as the sun was getting stronger, we refilled bottles and packs, grabbed a little something to eat and refilled gels and sharkies. Wendy left us here - at about 13.5 miles. She's signed up for Chicago, and isn't to the 20 miler on her training schedule yet.

Our route took us along the working waterfront, then up and over and dropped us down to another nice shady sidewalk. We were paralleling the waterfront at this point, but were four lanes and a median away. This sidewalk leads into Old Town Tacoma - and just ahead we spotted a few runners coming toward us. Patch (Sonya's husband), Rick, Barb and Lesa had parked down at the water, met up with Eric and Rob, then they all ran back to meet us. It was fun seeing everyone and having a chance to talk. Of course, it wasn't long before they all pulled away, taking Brenda with them, but leaving Barb with us. We ran through Old Town, then dropped back down to the waterfront. If the other part is the working waterfront, then this part is the playing waterfront. This is where you'll find restaurants, parks, skaters, bikers, walkers and runners. We had a chance to stop at the cars here, but didn't need it and kept moving. We had to run two miles out and two miles back to finish up. We all pressed forward, but we were much quieter than before because now it was starting to feel like work.

We kept moving forward (thank you Olga, I could hear you saying "just keep moving forward") and finally reached the end of the sidewalk - it ends in a concrete circle - 18 miles. I did a little dance in the center of the circle - after all, from here to the end, it was all new mileage and I thought that deserved celebration. For some reason at this point, Jenny and I actually got a second wind. Oh, I forgot to mention we picked Brenda back up along the way - the others were going too fast for her today. Brenda seemed fresh, Darcy and Sonya were both a little tired. Sonya was feeling a little sick to her stomach, but we talked about "moving forward" and she did. She kept going and going, till finally, we were done!20 miles in the bank! Our time was 4:26:40 - a little longer than I anticipated (I thought 4:15) but we had many stops, and a couple fairly long ones. I felt a little stiff so I laid down on the sidewalk for some stretching. Then Jenny and I walked about a block to a point where we could get down to the beach, pulled off our shoes and waded in to just over our knees. It was cold, but boy did it feel good. We had an attack of the giggles and had to hold hands to keep our balance - neither of us remembered to bring water shoes, so we were stepping gingerly over rocks and barnacles, trying to stay on our feet. We finally got out of the water, walked barefoot back to Sonya and Brenda, then walked up to coffee.

I had trouble staying awake in the car on the way home - Eric and Jenny were talking, and I kept drifting off. When we got home, I talked to Web for a minute on the phone, then stretched out in a sunspot on the living room rug and went to sleep. Life is good!

Finishing the week:
Thursday: am 4 miles, pm 3 miles
Friday: rest and Pilates
Saturday: 3 miles
Sunday: 20 miles, 4:26:40, avg hr: 140, high hr:161 (on one hill!)

Weekly total: 41 miles

24 comments:

robtherunner said...

Nice job to you all today. You looked great out there and did not need us those last four miles. You cruised in with no problems. And besides, most of us remember the suffering of our first 20 miler and we just wanted to make sure you had some of that as well. Didn't want to make it to cushy for ya.

Wes said...

Woo hoo! Sounds like a fanstastic way to have a party! And your support group was fantastic :-) Don't know that I'm looking forward to 20 miles, but I'm sure the day will come!

olga said...

You know, I am completely jealous! I never had support for my first 20 miler. Or second. Or whatever else number...not fair, I need to move up to that plave I can'r say the name of:)
Great run, Michelle and girls, marathon is in the bank! Especially since our lazy friend is supporting you - it will be a moving aid station and a motivational speaker all in one.
And why did you start at that hour?

Jack said...

Hardcore, man, hardcore! I agree with Olga, great support and what a fantastic 20-miler. You all look too fresh and happy, go back and do it again ;-) I can't wait to read your marathon report, you're going to do great.

Sarah Elaine said...

Sounds like that nap was definitely well deserved! Great photos, too.

Good job!

TryAthlete said...

Great job, everyone!

Thomas said...

Well there you gom you're in 20 mile territory. And you seem to enjoy the experience. I can't help but notice the difference between my lonely miles on the road, and your rather more social outings.

backofpack said...

Olga - in our running group, the goal is to all finish at the same time so we can go to coffee together. We were close yesterday - a little over on the projected time, and the dip in the bay made us late.

5 out of 6 of us are first time marathoners, so yesterday was the longest ever for most of us. The guys tell me that now we are experienced and we'll be on our own next time.

Thomas - I know I am very lucky to have such a great group of friends to run with. I don't know if I could run much over 10 with out a companion to distract me. I think you get double kudos for going it alone (and fast!)

Annette said...

What a fun training run! It was like doing Rainier to Pacific or something - cowbells, support crew, new territory. . . what a great idea! And a quick dip in the water at the end - nice! :) Good job, sounds like you're ready for Portland! :)

Darrell said...

How lucky you are all to have a roving support station. What a great idea. Sounds like you more than "survived" the 20 miles, good for all of you.

Sue said...

I didn't think I minded running on my own, but after reading your report I really could do with some friendly running companions - you make it sound such FUN!

Jess said...

Sounds like it was fun and rewarding. Great job!

Anne said...

That's some impressive weekly mileage for someone starting a new job. Nice work.

Sarah said...

I think that's a great time, especially considering your stops, changing shirts, etc. Sounds like you had fun! I don't think I could have said the same about my first 20 miler. WTG! : )

Ryan said...

Wonderful! Great pictures and report!! 4:40am that’s devotion, like that guy said "you girls are hard core, man, hardcore". Keep on keeping on!

D said...

Congrats on your first 20 - mile training run!!! You guys are so organized! Your average HR was GREAT.

matt said...

i love how organized your group is...i am guessing that you deserve major kudos for that, michelle :)

you must be getting excited about your progress. i cannot wait to see how you do, but most importantly i just know you are going to enjoy yourself out there.

keep up the great work, michelle. your progress is very inspirational to me.

Jenny said...

Michelle- Love the photos. I saved the one of us finishing to put as the wallpaper on my laptop for September inspiration!
Jenny

teacherwoman said...

Nice job on the 20-miler! Thanks for sharing the photos! A

teacherwoman said...

The "A" is not supposed to be there! OOPS! Typo.

JustRun said...

How fantastic to have support and company on your long runs! Sounds great. Good job on finishing... I'm glad you did a little dance, that's a major accomplishment. :)

Nicole said...

I LOVE the women power. Great run!

Dori said...

Congratulations on your 20 miler! I'm sure you'll have many more. I'll bet you were tired--I always planned on a nap after my long runs. Sometimes the only reason I'd get up is because I'd be starving. Going into the lake was probably the best thing you could have done for your legs.

E-Speed said...

great job on the 20 miler, love all the pics!