Sunday, August 26, 2007

Bring it on, she whispered

Like Sarah, I was rather nervous before my run on Saturday (I'd link to Sarah's actual post, but I'm having to use Safari tonight because Firefox is gobbling up all my CPU, and Blogger and Safari don't seem to speak the same language). My long runs recently have been such disasters that I wasn't at all sure I'd be able to last 100 minutes. I knew that if I failed yesterday that it would all be over as far as the Pelorus half is concerned, and that I'd have to seriously talk myself into continuing on. In fact I was already trying to tell myself to give up on Pelorus all together and aim for Wairarapa Country.

It helped that Ingrid made us all run behind her for the first ten minutes as we made our way to the Hutt river trail and then onto the Hutt Rd. She started out at the pace I was hoping to maintain anyway. I was going for consistency, not speed, so I let much of the pack overtake me without letting it get to me at all. By the time we were nearing Petone it was warming up, and I was already wishing I was carrying water.

Things got abruptly interesting when I crossed a road on a pedestrian (zebra) crossing about 20 minutes in. I looked to my right and there were no cars turning into the street. I looked down the street and there was nothing coming. Rose was at my shoulder as I ran across the road, and I heard her cry out before I saw a road cyclist heading straight for me. He swore, I swore, he braked, I braked. I ended up kind of running into him in slow motion, my knee colliding with his pedal, his helmet smacking me on my right cheekbone.

I thought he was going to go over, but he somehow managed to unclip and stabilise himself. I said something about being a cyclist as well, but that this was a pedestrian crossing and he was supposed to stop or slow down and keep out of our way. I should have just kept my mouth shut, but I was charged with adrenalin and speaking out of shock more than anything. He told me where to go, then clipped back in and cycled off. I rubbed at my face and kept running!

To be honest I was more worried about getting some water than I was about any damage. It wasn't until I could see my cheek swelling underneath my eye that it occured to me that I might have some battle wounds! Sure enough, I now have a nice black eye, and Hamish's boss is teasing him about being a wife beater. Yeah - as if! I also have a pretty impressive bruise on my left knee, although that didn't really start hurting until today. I may be little, but I guess I'm tough!

Finally we made it to the Petone foreshore and we ducked down onto the path that runs between the sand dunes and the beach. The first block of toilets we came to were closed, but the second were open and we stopped briefly for a comfort stop and a drink. I splashed some water on my eye and then we kicked off again. A quick look at my watch showed that we'd been out for forty minutes. By this time we were running with Ingrid and Margriet. Margriet is a lovely older woman with a huge sense of humour. She and I both have blonde bobs, and every Wednesday we both run in our Addidas running tights, Addidas wind parkers and our SPARC duathlon shirts. Margriet was on fire today and left us all in her dust.

We were assisted a little by the occasional tailwind which carried us to Seaview. The temperature was still rising, and when I spotted a tap sticking out of the wall in the Beaurepairs I stopped off for another drink. This is what running in warm weather reduces me to, drinking out of scody taps on the side of the road! There must be a better way...

We ran to the end of Seaview on the grass verge and then we turned onto the Port Rd. From here back to the gym we were running into a stiff Northerly that was less than pleasant. Rose overtook me, and then Ann (!) overtook me as well when I stopped off at another random tap for another drink. The speedies were ahead of us now, having taken a bit of an unplanned detour that enabled us to catch up.

By this point I was getting flashbacks to the Harbour Capital half. I was rapid-cycling between these crazy bursts of energy, when I would speed up and start to push, and between feeling like crap and wanting to die. Each episode would last no more than a few minutes, like my body couldn't decide what it wanted to do. It was starting to drive me crazy! Mad Dog did kick in though, and there was no way I was giving in...

Finally we were on the Hutt River trail, but I got a bit disoriented and for some reason thought we had a lot further to go than we actually did. Things got a bit chaotic as part of the path was closed off. We jumped over the fence and kept running anyway, having to pick our way along the grass next to big bulldozers and workmen giving us odd looks. We carefully edged our way down the stop bank, through some mud at the bottom, then made our way back up again. Then it was under a bridge and back towards the Lower Hutt town centre. I was incredibly overjoyed to see the car park between the stop bank and the river, as I knew we were only a few minutes from the gym. We had to dodge cyclists and pedestrians carrying big bags of vegetables and fruit from the farmer's market, but that only made things more interesting!

At last we made it back to the gym. So much for 100 minutes - we ended up out there for just under two hours! I managed to put on a little burst of speed at the end and felt pretty good afterwards. I was just pleased to be able to keep running for that amount of time, given that even 80 minutes had seemed impossible the week before. My poor feet weren't feeling that great though. I've developed some impressive blisters on the soles. My beloved Orca socks are fine for the shorter runs, but I think they slide around a bit much on the longer runs and I may have to give in and try some Thorlos.

My lower back was a bit sore as well. My poor sacroiliac! My right hip and glute were pretty achy, but that's all part of the same injury. It's not really getting any worse though, and I think it will resolve itself. I can't be bothered going back to my physio for a telling off, so it will just jolly well have to! Given how dead my shoes are I'm pleased that my knees are feeling good, my shins are fine, and I took my sore glutes as a good sign that they were actually being used.

As soon as I made it through the gym doors I was on the lookout for a water cooler. I stood at the first fountain I could find gulping down cold liquid for several minutes, just not able to get it in quickly enough. I know that I was well hydrated beforehand, so the warmer temperatures obviously did make a difference. Mum's offered to buy me a Camelbak for Christmas, and at this rate I'm definitely going to need one.

A quick stretch and then it was into the car for a four hour drive to Taranaki to spend some quality time with my parents. For the record, sitting in a car for that period of time after the longest run you've done in two months, not such a good idea. By the end of the drive I could barely flex my right ankle! Thankfully Mum and Dad have carpet (what a luxury) and a nice hot fire. The lounge reached temperatures of Bikram proportions, inspiring me to spend an hour or so sitting in front of the television dong hamstring stretches, hip openers, twists and downwards dogs until even my dodgy right hip started to let go. It must have helped because I felt great today - almost no pain whatsoever. I was almost inspired enough to head out along the Patea River for a half hour recovery run. Hmmm, almost, but not quite!

It was a lovely afternoon for a drive yesterday. For once there was (almost) no rain. The spring sun was shining on the green pastures of the Manawatu and Southern Taranaki, National Radio played the whole way up the island, and a post-run gentle sense of well-being and euphoria settled in. I drove along mulling over my training and slowly concluding that I am going to run the Pelorus half. I know that I can do it. I've run the course a couple of times now. I'm familiar enough with its little tricks and its rhythms, its stages. I don't think it's going to be a fast run. It somehow seems like a slower course than the Harbour Capital. However it's going to be fun. I recognised my mind and body responding yesterday the way that it did on the day of the last race. I know how "I" work now.

I'm doing things in exactly the way I should have expected myself to. I just got here a couple of weeks later than I did last time around, which in a way is good because I'm not feeling overtrained having backed off a bit this week. According to my Pip predictor I'm going to head out this weekend and run a hard, fast 90 minutes and be completely thrilled with myself. On the day I'm going to respond to having a few other runners around me. I'm going to be so focused on picking one off after another that I'm not going to notice the discomfort I'm in. When I reach the the 16km mark I'm going to be happy that I've only got 5km left to run, because 5km is nothing, and this time I'm going to put a little extra speed in.

I made it to Taranaki in good time, had a huge roast lamb dinner with my family, watched some amusing British melodrama and then slept incredibly soundly on their spare futon, undisturbed by husband or cats. The next morning Mum made us all french toast with banana, stewed plums and yoghurt, then we all went for a bracing walk along Hawera Beach. After that we returned home for more food (fresh bread and a spread of delicatessan items) before sitting around in the sun for a while reading. Finally it was time for me to jump back in the car again. I arrived at the Kapiti Coast in time to see the sun setting over the tip of the South Island. How much do I love living here? Almost as much as Kate (again, no link) loves running around the Southern Coast.

I'm so looking forward to my runs this week. I think I finally got that loving feeling back. Bring it on. Bring it alllllll on!!!


Kate said...

I love the 'Naki.. It's a recent ('06) discovery for me and I'm mad about it. The drive from the Waikato through to the Naki was amazing...

You definitely need thorlos- I love them! And I always seem to have a shoe clinic voucher to get them $10 off, which makes them almost reasonable.

Glad you got through the long run today- and I definitely know what you mean about driving after long runs. Ow!

Pip said...

Yep, I've only really discovered it since my parents moved there two years ago. Stratford's such a cute town - it's perfect for them.

I think I've got a Shoe Clinic voucher somewhere, so yes, I think it may be Thorlo time. Let's hope this good weather hangs on for a few more days ...

Bruce said...

Glad you survived the long run in tact, what about that cyclist though not giving way? Trust the war wounds heal soon.

I agree Stratford is a cool little town, I five years there as a kid before moving to the big smoke.