Friday, October 28, 2011

Mission Accomplished

Well, I successfully completed the 50 mile run on my 50th birthday for the Children’s Home and we raised around $10,000 for the kids. Yes!

Please continue to donate:

It was a spectacular day. The morning was clear and it was 44 degrees. The forecast was for rain-free weather with a high of 60 degrees. Purfect for running.
My son, Evan, setting up for the day.
Jenn and Evan helped me get my day’s supplies together. Some of it was prepared the night before. I took four peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, a box of Nutri-Grain Bars, and 5 bags of GU Chomps. I also packed a change of shirts and hats. Jenn and Evan will be my pit crew for the day. Based on the training, I planned to run 50 miles between 9-10 hours.

I'm ready!
I was off and running just after 7 am.
The run consisted of a 1.6 mile loop. I needed to do 31+ to accomplish the goal. The first loop was easy. I wonder if I’ll feel this good on lap 31. Yeah, right! I knew how grueling 38 miles was when I was training.
As I was running, people were joining in, walking for the cause, which was really appreciated. Whenever I chatted it took my mind off of the run – something runners need to do for mental diversionary reasons. In other words, "to keep me sane."  Not helping with my sanity was this dead possum in someone’s front yard. The wind was blowing over the carcass and up my nose. That will certainly wake me up 31 times.

Cindy, Sally, and Carolyn. I really wanted those donuts!

Cindy and Garry (Children's Home CEO).
Garry and Sharon
Pastor Scott and his wife, Robin (Hilltop Covenant Church)

Nice T-Shirt! Thanks Sharon and Cindy from the Children's Home.
I passed one of my neighbors at mile 21 and she asked how far I had gone. She said that I looked pretty good and I did feel good.
So, the first half was uneventful and I was feeling strong. My pace was faster than planned. I went through mile 25 in 4 hours 25 minutes (10:34/mile pace). At mile 29 the Garmin watch died, which was to be expected. Fortunately, I had the trusty Timex Ironman. After this, the run got interesting.
Miles 30-37 were the hardest. My pace was consistent, but it was mentally exhausting. Fortunately I had the pep squad upon finishing each lap. There was a clock on one road in front of the post office which was driving me nuts. It only reminded me of how much more time I would be going. I would pass the clock wondering when some friends of mine were going to get here. I tried doing calculations in my head to take my mind off of the run and I knew that even though I was alone, I was not. God was with me. He is always with me. So onward.
Miles 37+: Peter and Alene are great friends who live on the other side of Connecticut. They are both accomplished marathoners who were planning to come and hopefully do 18-20 miles. The only reason it was “hopefully” was because Peter was working until 1:00. That, plus drive time, was putting them too far into the run. At 1:00 I looked at the annoying clock on Main Street and thought it would not be long before they get here. It could not be soon enough. I needed a boost. My feet were getting numb and my left knee was sore, but I kept the pace.

The good news: They did get there before 2:00 when I had about 13 miles to go. Thank you God! Seeing them lifted a weight from my shoulder. They jumped right in and started talking to me. Happy was an understatement.

Friends: Peter and Alene

At mile 43, Jenn must have seen me either stagger or lose form. When I stopped for water she softly asked if I wanted to stop. I never gave that a thought and continued. As much as she was looking out for me, I’ll be darned if I’m stopping with 7 miles to go, even if I did feel woozy or sloppy at times.
That must have been the push I needed. The last three laps (4.8 miles) was at a 10:26/mile pace – faster than my first half per mile pace. The second 25 miles was at a 11:45/mile pace – certainly slower, but that’s okay with me. I finished it – my goal. I finished strong!
The finish was surreal. As I approached the finish line, I threw my hat in the air, stopped, did some jumping jacks, and some back pedaling, breaking the ribbon that Peter and Alene brought in 9:18:48. The second 25 miles was done in 4:53:48. Thanks to my family, neighbors, church, the Children's Home, and friends for sharing the moment with me and persevering through all my craziness. To them it was probably like watching a science experiment.

Pre-jumping jack's finish

Let's do jumping jacks

Upon crossing I said, “I feel like Forrest Gump. I’m tired, can I go home now?” And, “this is like Christmas. All the preparation and it’s over in a day.” At least I had a sense of humor. Shortly after, I received a welcomed great stretch from Grace, a sports message therapist.

Thanks Grace! I hope I can get up.

I love you honey!! 
I never “hit the wall” - Words to describe the depletion of glycogen (energy) stores in the body often experienced by marathoners. If a runner depletes glycogen, the body taps into fat stores, which is inefficient and results in lactic acid buildup. When that happens, the body shuts down and no matter how much will you have, the body wins and you can no longer run. Needless to say, my physical and nutritional habits for 20 weeks paid dividends.
In hindsight, my woozy feeling was from a lack of water. This dawned on my during my last pit stop and the decrease in pit stop frequency. The well-hydrated body excretes straw-colored urine. If it’s darker than that, you need more water. I won't talk about urine anymore.
Based on the Garmin for the first 29 miles and then estimating forward, because the blasted thing died, I burned 5988 calories. I ate 4 bags of GU Chomps, 1-1/2 PB&J sandwiches, and 4 Nutra-Grain Bars.
What’s the next adventure? The only plan right now is to run without a training schedule. I’ll run, instead, to maintain. The next training begins in January for the 2012 Boston Marathon. Peter will be running this, too. I have a feeling that I’ll need to train hard for this to keep up with him.
Let me end this journey with a runner’s prayer because I could not have achieved my goal without God’s presence:

Give me courage to run the race.
Help me to persevere as you taught us.
Grant me the strength to finish strong.
Honor me with your presence on my journey.
Allow me to be a Grace Runner this day.
Oh, Lord...
One more breath...
One more step...
One more mile...
This is my prayer.
I can do all things through
YOU who strengthens me!
Amen.  ©

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