Hey, it's Gold Cup weekend! The mare in my icon, Shuvee, won this race twice. I don't get to go because I have to buy plane tickets to DC for the race in which I must actively participate. (Well okay, I could probably swing it anyway, but it's gonna be clammy and unpleasant and I'd probably be happier at home with this pie I just made.) Then the other issue is that the BC is the day before the marathon, and I'd have to pick up my packet at the expo conveniently at the same time that the Classic goes off. Boo. But quite frankly, horse racing is half the reason I goofed off ALL AUGUST and barely ran at all.
And yet, I still had a relay to run with Kathleen last weekend! A couple weeks before, I finally got my ass officially in gear and milled some treads at the gym a couple of times (I've been getting out of work too late to run outside). This wasn't much fun because 1. the fans are built for a taller person, and 2. Nancy Grace always seems to be on. On Sunday I needed to do a long run, but that happened to be the same day as the 5K I'd entered in Saratoga. Google said it was 19 miles from SPAC to home, so I did the 5k, hung out for an hour or so, and then sent Steve home and started down Route 50 on foot.
I hate Route 50. I hate even driving on it. As an extra super-awesome bonus, the humidity was raging, but when I started out it was still cloudy and I happily ran to Ballston Spa thinking about how easy this was going to be. Then the evil sun from Super Mario 3's quicksand level came out, and simultaneously I realised that B-spa is in a trench and running in was much easier than running out. Then... I suddenly became very, very tired. What I should've done was get Gatorade, but I didn't want to carry it, and the gas station had delicious Fiji water calling to me. I poured some on my head, guzzled the rest, and staggered towards Burnt Hills.
I think the hot weather rule is something like "for every 10 degrees over 60, slow down your pace by a minute." I didn't see thermometers on the route, but hours later in pitch darkness it was still 81 degrees. It sucked the life out of me to the point where I sat against a stone wall with my head between my knees, wondering if I should try to take a nap. When I finally reached Burnt Hills and found some Gatorade, a gas station was playing that wretched "song" about two people trying to cheat on each other over pina coladas. If there were anything that could make me run at that moment, it would be that song... and yet, I was too screwed up. It hurt. But the Gatorade gave me some of my life back, and I managed to get to Glenville. At that point, Steve miraculously showed up with water, a towel, a dry shirt, and some ice packs to hold against my head, and that little boost somehow got me home. I hate you more than ever, Route 50.
Two days later I went for an easy run below the Ave and somehow kablammoed my knee and limped for two days after that. Then it was fine for a day, and then it got funky again. I bought a couple different braces and some Advil and hoped for the best, but after a restless night at Kathleen's cabin (she has a 1930s fridge that buzzes, which is hard to tune out when you're psyched for the alarm clock) it was gimpy on my way to the outhouse. Luckily for us, I'd already generously given her the first (hilly) half of the marathon so that she'd still get to run if I became too broken to finish my share. I wound some piece of foam and fuzz around my knee, and by the time she showed up at the halfway point and I started running, I didn't notice it so much.
As for the running itself, I probably could've gone faster, but I was more concerned with finding a comfortable pace that would set me up to "beat the bridge" in DC. (If you don't get to a particular bridge in time, you can't finish the race because it's reopened to traffic.) Not wanting a repeat of the week before, I double-fisted water and Gatorade at every stop and ended up content and not sweating horribly, although the dark sky and creepy crosswind helped. I didn't notice until the end that my special knee-holding thing had gouged a bloody swath into my leg. It's good n' crusty now.
Sidenote: "Boom" (Flight of the Conchords) is a remarkably great song for running around a lake. The Adirondack Marathon is, according to the free windshirt, "probably the most beautiful 26.2 miles you'll ever run," but the second half is mostly on Route 9 and BORING. If I didn't have my iPod, I'd go insane. I was using it as a stopwatch with my shoe sensor but didn't put on the headphones until I was halfway up a hill, and "Weightless" by Astaire/Blondfire was already in progress. WORKED.
Steve's friend Tom stopped by later that day to see how it went. (He ran a half-marathon in Saratoga, but a good half-hour faster than mine, bah.) According to him, if you run the Disney marathon *and* the half-marathon, you get a Goofy medal. I never had any desire to go to Disneyworld, but when you phrase it in the form of a CHALLENGE, it becomes the greatest idea ever.