Lake Merritt stroll

Originally uploaded by TomLog

Yesterday was a big day! I decided to check out my entire marathon relay leg. I wanted to feel it from beginning to end. I had no expectations I would run the whole thing, in fact I was hoping for 60-40% at best. Normally I have to start at the beginning, then run for a period and then turn around to get to my car. But yesterday was a Saturday, and Mr. McBody was available to pick me up at the “finish line” so I could go all in one direction. I was psyched!

I was all in a quandary about how to pace myself for this run. I thought about possibly using one of the couch-to-K programs on my phone, so I could interval. But then I decided (big brave move!) to just interval intuitively; ie to run as long as I felt like it, then walk as long as I wanted to, etc. and just SEE what happened.

Previously, the longest I had run was 5 min run/2 min walk and that felt strenuous enough last week. But I wanted to see what I would do without that dinging in my ear.

So I took off. I walked fast for 2-3 minutes and then started running. I was about half a mile down the road, and jogging in place at a stop light, when this guy comes out of NOWHERE and leaps out at me. I was so freaked! And scared!

Guess what he was holding in his hand? My car keys. My only set of car keys in the world. They had flown out of my pocket while I was running, and I hadn’t heard (due to music in my ears) or felt a thing. He had seen this happen, had stopped his car in the middle of the road, and charged over to me before the light turned! After being totally scared of my wits, I was quickly thrilled by the kindness of humans.

I kept running. I ran for about 12 minutes, or the first mile, according to my Runkeeper app. That was pretty shocking and exciting for me – and more than double what I’d run consecutively, since last summer. So that was great. I only needed to walk for a minute before starting up again. So I decided that I’d try to run to each mile and then walk if I needed to. Which could also come in handy during the event itself since I am assuming there will be mile markers posted.

I got to the point where I normally turn around. I continued on to the lake and that was very exciting, because I’d never made it that far before. I’ve done so many runs on that lake and I love it – it makes me so happy to be out there in the community, and to see other people walking and running, from really old people to elite athletes. So I’m super psyched that my relay leg includes the lake.

I was running with a sheet of paper in my hand, with the road directions for the marathon. (but no map) I looked down at real quickly and saw “right on Grand Avenue.” So I turned right and started circling the lake counter-clockwise. So far so good. I was at about 3.5 miles then (5k!) and feeling okay.

When I was about halfway around the lake, I thought I’d take a peek at my directions. They didn’t make any sense to me. 14th St.? 19th St.? Lakeside? Suddenly I felt completely turned around and disoriented. And I realized I had run way past my last intersection.

Suddenly I was exhausted. What if I had run way beyond and I had just added like a mile to my 10K? I couldn’t bear the idea. I turned around and headed back to 14th St. I was so confused. I searched for my location on my phone’s GPS, and kept staring at the paper, and nothing made any sense to me. Finally I stood at the corner of 14th and Lakeside and burst into tears. “I don’t know where to go!!!!!!!!!!!!” The idea of going further away from the real path just seemed unacceptable. I knew I was close to the end but didn’t know which way to go. I was losing it BIG time.

Finally I backed up and studied it all again. I realized I had made a mistake when I got to the lake. The FIRST direction said “Turn left on Grand,” but I’d skipped down on the paper and read the wrong one. I had gone counterclockwise when I should have gone clockwise.
But there was NO WAY I was going to do it all over again so I got a grip and kept running. I found my way to 14th, then Lakeside, 19th, etc., until I was in the home stretch. Then I got a text-message ding from one of my relay partners from Team Penguin. She was just a few blocks away! At every intersection I jogged in place and texted, “I’m at Harrison now! Broadway! Telegraph!” until finally I was running the last 3 blocks to the finish. I was so elated. I imagined the finish line and the thousands of people and I was beside myself.

I know now that I can do this. When I got home I mapped my route, lost turns and all, and found that I’d run 6.69 miles. Which was MORE than a 10k! (a 10.6k, in fact) This idea in itself has been overwhelming to me. I ran almost 7 miles, with only a couple of walk breaks and a few stops for traffic lights. I can’t believe it.

It also woke me up to the sobering realization that the relay itself is going to be 12K! Yowzers. But I can do it. Yes I can.

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