P.S.S. You’ll want to check out my Run Over To Ellen’s fundraising run. We only need 30,000 people to donate $1 each. When you get your donation in and get your private access to the donor’s only daily updates, you’ll want to go check out the video blog because we love to do give-aways to our donor’s.
So every Tuesday, except on rest weeks, Vickie would pick me up fairly early in her truck, bicycle loaded in back, and we would drive the 8 miles to the trail in Lolo for my longer marathon training runs.
I have to admit those were some of the best runs of my running career. Vickie and I soon got into a comfortable rhythm. She was very attentive to my sight issue, making sure I knew when there was a turn in the path or that other bikers or runners were approaching. For the most part, the trail was free from cross traffic, especially as we got further away from town. Having Vickie on her bike was also beneficial in that it gave me a visual anchor. That made it so much easier for me to navigate.
Both of us would start out with several layers of clothing, and I was the first to start shedding my layers, as Vickie on the bike was going at a much slower pace, and she could not stay as warm as I was running.
Since we hadn’t seen each other in quite some time, we had a blast catching up. Vickie had moved to New Mexico for a few years and had just moved back to Montana. She had once lived down in the area where we were running, so she had lots of stories to tell about living off the land and building a cabin.
One morning after a big wind storm the night before, we were starting a long run of 16 miles. As I was running along the path, Vickie stopped me. On the trail a few yards ahead were huge sheets of metal roofing! I know if I had been running this trail alone, I would have been disoriented, and could have easily run into it or fallen on it or something.
Most of our long runs took us through Florence about 11 miles from our starting point. In Florence we would pass a little café, and Vickie would say, “We need to come back here and get a piece of that home-made pie.” Hey, I’m still waiting for my pie, Vickie!
On one of our runs, I think it was a 20-miler, the head wind coming back was so strong, I thought the run would never end. It was hard to breathe, and I had to shout to be heard, not easy when I was struggling for every breath! It was very trying, and to be sure one of the toughest runs I have ever done.
Now, here in Montana we are blessed with very low humidity. In fact, sometimes in the summer we have lower humidity than the deserts of Arizona! But that was not the case this one particularly humid morning. During that 21-mile run, my liquid intake was nearly double, and I was way more exhausted at the turn-around point. Sweat was pouring off me, and I wasn’t sure I could finish. But I kept plugging along knowing it was good for me to experience these different conditions, since I had no idea what kind of weather to expect for the marathon in July. Little did I know it was going to be one of the worst heat waves western Montana has had in 100 years!
We discussed having her ride along side me during the actual marathon itself, and we got permission from the race organizers to do so. She would have been happy to do it, but it happened that the marathon was the same weekend that Vickie had made plans to be out of town on vacation. As it turned out, I didn’t need any assistance during the marathon, as the route was very well marked and volunteers were everywhere!
I am so grateful to Vickie for helping me achieve my goal of running a marathon. We used to joke that these runs would be a good way for people to unburden their worries and concerns. I could start charging people to be their running therapist: Just run or bicycle along beside me, and tell me what’s going on with you. I must admit there is something to it. As we did those long runs, it was great to see how much better Vickie felt about herself and her life in general. There’s something exhilarating about being in the fresh air, just existing and being one with my body that makes me appreciate all the wonderful blessings in my life and gives me confidence knowing that even more and better things are coming!
There’s no need to be afraid of the long runs. They will prove not only to be the most valuable and enjoyable part of your marathon training, but undoubtedly the most memorable as well.
Remember, training for a marathon is about the journey … and the running!
Now we’re getting into the fun part of my marathon training adventure! As much as I love running clothes, and the sweet tasting goo, the reason I get to love them is because of the running.
In 2007, when I decided to train to run a full marathon, I was fortunate to have fairly decent weather to start out my mileage build-up. I started on Jan. 1st , and I was able to do all my training runs outside. I had joined a gym thinking I would have to take advantage of their treadmills if the weather turned ugly, but to my delight, I didn’t have to use the treadmill even once. On the down side though, I never made it into the gym to do strength training either.
I did my early runs on a path not far from where I live. This afforded me easy access to run the necessary miles I needed to get me on track. There were a few times where the trail was too icy in parts, so I would turn around and run the same dry stretch of trail again. Kind of hard for me to do, as I am like a horse; that is, once I’m turned around heading for the barn…err I mean home, I want to keep going that way. But I knew I had to get the miles in, and I’d rather do it outside up and back the same trail several times than run on the treadmill anyway.
Come April I needed to find other safe running routes, as I was moving into my higher mileage marathon training program. This would require longer runs of anywhere from 12 to 23 miles at a time. I could do a 12 mile route I used to run along the river and an old railroad track that has been converted to a nice running/bike path. But what to do about my longer runs?
I could run on a running/bike path that went for about 15 miles. The problem though, was that it was 8 miles out of town outside of Lolo. I thought I could get dropped off and I could call to be picked up when I was getting close to being finished. Yeah, that could work. But my other problem was stashing water and power drinks along the trail. I wasn’t worried about someone taking them, but with my vision issues, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to find the spot where I had left them! So I had to burn up some brain cells trying to figure out what I could do.
I know that the Universe is on my side, and I totally believe that once you make the commitment to do something, the “How” of it will figure itself out. Cause the next inspired thought I had was of my friend Vickie.
I knew that even though there was a gulf of several years between now and the last time I had seen her, we always had a close bond. So I didn’t hesitate to call her. I told her how I was training for the Missoula Marathon in July, and I asked her if she would be interested in helping me with my training. She was thrilled!
In fact, she told me the timing couldn’t have been more perfect, as she wanted to do something to get back in shape. I suggested that she could ride her bike alongside me during my long runs, hauling my water and power drinks, along with any extra gear I might need. That would leave me free to just run! She immediately agreed and was totally on-board!
I'd like to donate a cuppa coffee to Vision Runner, as I understand that all that running and writing requires a great deal of strength and energy and focus......
I'd like to send Vision Runner $10.00 so that she can get a gift card for her favorite coffee establishment.
I'm feeling very creative and I don't want to be inhibited by someone else's choices. I'm going to pick my own dollar amount...cause what if I want it to end with 46 cents or something?
What about me? I need some for me..... (Go ahead. Order some for yourself, why don't ya?)