Sweet 16. For some of you, that conjures memories of a special birthday party (assuming not quite the affair of our friends on MTV's "My Sweet 16". OMG-reality TV...guilty pleasure) and a date with a scared driving insturctor while you parellel park your way into the world of teenaged driving. Or, like SOME of us, you may have failed that first attempt at parellel parking (the curb just JUMPED right up in front of me!) so it was more like Sweet 16 and a couple months before getting behind that wheel...
For my husband, Sweet 16 brings thoughts of carefully filled out brackets and a little March Madness.
Last Friday, my Sweet 16 was the 16 miles I completed with my Running Diva girls. 16 miles. That's 2 hours and 34 minutes (if anyone is counting...) of running nonstop. Well, truth be told the Garmin DID stop a couple of times for some water/gaterade/GU/shotblock/jellybean love and a pitstop at the McDonalds for a potty break. And we did put a little pep in our step we we dodged an oncoming train at a railroad crossing (I can't make this stuff up friends...). Admittedly, there was nothing that "sweet" about actually running the 16 miles. For one thing, I sure didn't feel that *sweet*. I have been battling some sort of sinus gunk for the past week and a half so at that point I had the sinus pressure headache, nose running like a freakin faucet, and a nice hacking cough. Come to think of it, I didn't look that *sweet* either. I had tissues coming out of every part of my clothing, tucked in pockets, in my spibelt, coming out my nostils. And then when the tissues ran out....let's just say I am not gifted in performing the runner's "farmer's blow"(where you close one nostril and shoot your snot out of the other...mmmm...pretty). Instead, my Brooks running T became my tek gear snot rag. As my reality TV friend Paris Hilton would say: now, THAT's HOT.
We plowed through the route and at 14 miles I was really losing steam. I am not sure if I was "hitting a wall" since it was not quite my mile 10 experience at the capitol city 1/2 marathon, but it was darn close. I just wanted to stop and walk. My head pounding, nose leaking, and knees aching, I needed to dig DEEP to finish strong. At a more cheerful mile 11 and 12, a few of us were chatting about our favorite beers and how nice it would be to drink a big cold IPA after our run. So I threw my Ipod in, blaring Bon Jovi (who else is gonna get you through but Jon?) and thought about a lifesized Oberon in a frosty pilsner glass. I mean, the orange slice in that sucker was the size of my head. The wind screamed in my face as I trudged up the hill. I checked out my Garmin. 15.50. OK, why is it that I can run 15 plus miles and the 2 plus hours sort of breeze by but the last 1/2 mile seems like time is standing still? I felt like I was running in slow motion, with the Chariots of Fire theme song in the background. 15.80. 15.90. I just needed to GET HER DONE.
Finally, with my face crusted with salt and snot, my watch read 16. 16 miles! 16 sweet miles. It may not have looked so pretty as I was doing it, but it sure felt sweet to have accomplished it.
Now...just 10 more miles to go for the marathon.