Sweet Sixteen

6 Nov

I’ve spent my Sunday resting and following the 2011 ING New York City Marathon. It has me ridiculously excited for my first marathon, which is quickly approaching in January: the 2012 Walt Disney World Marathon. But before I can tackle 26.2 miles, I had to tackle yesterday’s sweet sixteen.

This is the second time I run my longest distance of 16 miles. The first time I covered this distance was over a month ago in New York City, where I ran 16 miles with my group leader’s friend, Kate, who was training for today’s New York City Marathon. It was a great run for several reasons: I felt strong, time flew by because I was busy catching up with my brand-new friend, and dodging the NYRR races taking place in Central Park that morning added a nice distraction from the mileage.

Not long after my first 16-miler, I was sidelined for a few weeks with tendonitis in my foot, so this was my first time hitting that high mileage again. I started the run a little nervous for how my foot was going to hold up.

The rest of my group was running 20 miles. Instead, I decided to aim for 16 and joined them 4 miles into their run at 5:30 AM. We were a small group: we started with six of us, but dropped to four after an injury sidelined one of our runners. The dark sky was clear and riddled with stars. I tried to snap a pic but the iPhone 4G doesn’t capture stars, just dark sky. Boo.

Shortly before 7 AM a pick-up truck approached us and the driver said, “Watch out for the drunk guy ahead.”

At this point we had been running for over an hour and I was bored. One of the runners in my group wanted to cross the street in order to heed this probably-smart advice, but I pushed us to stay the course. By golly, I needed a distraction and seeing this drunk guy would do just fine!

As we ran in the dark I tried to focus my near-sighted eyes, but couldn’t see anything. Finally one of us noticed someone up ahead:

Christine: Is that him?

Me: Where?

Christine: Standing in the middle of the street.

Molly: Well, if he’s standing in the middle of the street it probably is him.

Me: Where? I can’t see anyone.

Christine: Wait, are his pants down?

Me: What? His pants are down?? Shoot. I can’t see anyone!

Christine: Yeah, I think his pants are down. I don’t see any pants.

As I struggled to really focus and we quickly approached a drunk guy whose pants were apparently around his ankles, a police car approached. The patrol car lights helped me see a figure ahead quickly pulling up their pants. We saw the police officer get out of his car, approach the drunk guy, ask a couple of questions and by the time we ran by them, the officer had a visibly intoxicated guy with his hands on the hood of the patrol car and his legs spread, just like you see on COPS or Law & Order.

As we ran by, my group ribbed me for not taking a picture to capture the moment. Okay, I admit it… I’m scared of taking pictures of police officers while they’re trying to do their jobs. However, I did get to capture this moment of the sun rising:

Sunrises are one of the best parts of running in the early AM

I also got this picture from my favorite little trail, nicknamed “the Dinky Dock”:

View from the dinky dock

Around mile 11, I asked my group if they wanted to play the Name Game. The way I play it, one person starts by saying a famous person’s first and last name. The next person has to say a famous person’s full name whose first name starts with the same letter as the previous person’s last name. For example, if I started with Beyonce Knowles, the next person would have to name a celebrity whose first name starts with the letter ‘K’ like Kevin Spacey. The next person would have to name a celebrity whose first name starts with an ‘S’ like Sigourney Weaver. If at any point someone uses a celebrity whose first and last name start with the same letter (for example, Janet Jackson) then the turn goes back to the person before you and the direction of the game reverses (for example, we were playing counter-clockwise, so a double letter name like this would change the direction of the game to clockwise).

The Name Game surprisingly kept us pretty entertained/distracted for 3 or 4 miles. However, around mile 13 my IT band in my left leg started to hurt and by mile 15 I couldn’t talk anymore. My silence didn’t seem to bother my group as they were running mile 19 and were struggling as well.

I pushed myself to pick up my legs and when my watch said 16 miles I almost cried out in joy.

After 16 miles, my dogs were barking

So energy-wise, I felt good throughout the run. But this long run was definitely harder than my last 16-miler a month ago. And while my tendonitis didn’t seem to bother me, I wonder if it’s changed my stride without me realizing it? I’ve already stretched and rolled my legs and hips three times since yesterday’s run and plan to do it again tonight. Let’s see how I feel Tuesday morning.

What interesting distractions have you welcomed during a long run? 

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3 Responses to “Sweet Sixteen”

  1. Jessica @ Sushi and Sit-Ups November 7, 2011 at 9:37 pm #

    Congrats on 16 miles! What a random, but sounds like fun, run! I’m sure that drunk guy provided some entertainment. I would have chickened out on taking a photo too.

    • Hemarie November 9, 2011 at 8:27 am #

      Thanks! Drunk guy was fun. I tried to find his mug shot on the Orlando Sentinel website but there was too many pics to scroll through. I got bored after 50 or so.

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