I’ve been running with Mitch every few weeks since September. We do Saturday morning runs in Anadel State Park or Spring Lake or somewhere. Having somebody to run with makes a difference to me. To me, it’s about having (or being) somebody who shows up and pushes your limits.
One Friday I’d gone out drinking and dancing (The English Beat) with a few other friends in Santa Rosa. THAT was a three-hour cardio blast. I had a few drinks, but also–water. So I did OK that evening. But I knew I was supposed to be running with Mitch the next day. He’d planned we were going to run 15 miles (25 kms) that day and I just wanted to be able to run that distance. That was enough for me.
With Mitch–it’s great. All I have to do is show up and run. And that’s all I do–for the most part. The first few times we went running, I didn’t even know what to bring. But, I’m better at it now. The night after The English Beat, I think I was dehydrated from the dancing and drinking because I seriously felt like throwing up when we finished that first (my first–not Mitch’s) long distance run.
Regardless. That day was the longest distance I’d run (ever)–until today. Today, Mitch signed us up for a 30 km Pacific Coast Trail run. We’d done a 17 km last week and at the end of it, I thought that I could have done 20. But when he went to sign us up for a 20 km this week, it was full. So he signed us up for the 30 km run.
I said No. Absolutely not. I need new shoes. I didn’t even know how I could do another run with these. But somehow, I did.
We were only going to do the 20 km run (even though we were signed up for the 30 km run). Once we got to the first break station though (the turn around point for 20 km), I said…Let’s go for it. Let’s do the 30 km.
So we did.
We walked up the hills (elevation gain: 3,740 feet according to the website). And before the second break station, I didn’t think I could run any more (and we weren’t even half way finished).
I walked (and subsequently, Mitch walked–although I’m sure he didn’t need to) into that break station. I filled up on water and other hydrating liquids (they provide something with electrolytes in it–a CLIF drink I think). We walked up the huge hill after the rest stop and alternated walking and running more of the trail.
At some point, we came around a corner…and there was a final break station. I’m not sure anybody was expecting it. And there, I felt sick again. I couldn’t munch on anything (even boiled, salted potatoes….mmmm). BUT–I did re-hydrate again. Sprite. Electrolyte stuff. Water.
3.7 miles to the end they told us and we started out again. I put on my iPod to get me going. My favourite Dire Straights song started: Walk of Life.
AND THAT SONG is my running song. My pacing song.
I started going. And Mitch started going. We just started going. And going. And going. It was all down hill. We ran all the way to the finish line. We ran entire rest of the 3.7 miles to the pace of that song.
I felt I found my groove.
So, thank you Mitch. Thank you for helping me push my limits and be better than I thought I could be. Running further and faster than ever. Here’s to being on the trails in 2009.
For my Canadian readers…check out Mitch’s flickr stream. Today is one of those incredible days when it’s just great to be alive … and running on the Pacific Coast Trail just north of San Francisco. It’s the 20th of December.
I’m spoiled. I know. But it really was an incredible day.
PS: I’m definitely going to get some real running gear next year. Definitely.