Scatter my ashes here...

Scatter my ashes here...
scatter my ashes in the desert...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Two Owls and a Goat

I've outdone myself. On the bright side, I could call it a PR.

I rarely do things this stupid in training, but this time I proved, once again, that the lessons will be repeated until they are learned.

All you runners out there who get that smug little attitude toward walking, who think walking doesn't count, and who look down their noses at walkers, listen up!

This old goat ultrarunner had the bright idea that she would do a 50 mile walk in training. After all, it's just walking, right? Not like doing a 50 mile run, should be easier to recover, doesn't count so much, after all, moving at 4 miles an hour is not that fast compared to running.

I started out at 5 am, ate a huge breakfast, and began walking to Loveland. I kept a sub-15 minute per mile pace the whole time, including the time I took for my breaks, so it worked out to something more like 14 minute miles. Not a blazing fast walk pace, but requiring some focus and concentration to keep going that fast. Not a casual stroll.

My plan was to walk down Lemay to County Road 13, turn at County Road 30 and then take the bike path through Boyd Lake State Park, until it comes out near the intersection of Denver and Eisenhower. At that point I would continue southwest along the Loveland bike path until I hit the 15 mile mark from home, then turn around and go back home, where I would take a break and then head out for my final 20.

Simple minds make simple plans.

On my way down Lemay in the dark, I passed two owls, who were loudly "WHOOOOO, WHOOOO"ing at me. The sunrise was spectacular, far beyond what is shown in this picture.

My hands were too frozen, and by the time I was able to dig the cell phone camera out of my pack and navigate the buttons on my Blackberry, the sunrise had faded. But it was spectacular blazing red on the horizon, with black silhouetted trees and deep purple and red-streaked clouds against the lavender mid-sky.

I blasted down the bike path near the lake, and as the sun came up it got a little warmer, but I was dressed for sub-20 degrees. I still had water so I waited until on my way back toward Fort Collins to make my stop at the little coffee shop at Denver & Eisenhower. I scarfed half the sandwich in my pack and I was still hungry.

On my way through downtown Loveland on the bike path along the canal, there were a few houses with goats in the yards. I actually saw more than half a dozen goats. But I was the biggest goat of all. There weren't too many people on the path this morning, a few older people walking near the senior center, but that was it.

I stopped off at Dazbog Coffee at the intersection before heading back through the park, and bought some water and a blueberry scone. I was looking for something with a few more calories but nothing sounded good at the moment. I refilled my water bottles and left, inhaling the scone before I turned the corner to go north, and damn, the thing had cinnamon in it.

I hate cinnamon. UGH! But it was some calories, and I only had another half a ham & cheese sandwich and a package of margarita shot blocks left to get me through the next 12 1/2 miles to home. Normally that would be plenty of food, but my tapeworm came out of hibernation this week. I washed the scone down with as much water as my stomach could tolerate, and started blasting up the bike path again.

By the time I passed Carpenter I was less than 5 miles from home and it had warmed up some. I was way overdressed. I usually don't mind but today I was uncomfortable in all those clothes and I couldn't wait to get home to peel off some layers. My legs were a little sore, but I didn't think much of it.

When I arrived at the house I was well under 15 minute miles average including all my pee breaks and coffee shop stop, and I felt good. I took a long break at home, changing into all clean clothes.I had some soup and drank some water and gatorade, and hugged the girls. Dennis was working in the yard and he heard the girls howl when I came in, and he asked how I was doing.


A few minutes later when I tried to get up out of the chair to leave the house again, I realized just how sore. My quads hurt to the touch. I could barely stand up from the chair without using my arms to prop myself up. I waddled out the door, practically limping down the street for the first mile. My plan was to do a 10 mile loop, then come home one more time, and go out for my final 10.

I wasn't too much slower, maybe 17 minute miles on the way out this time, but I was hurting! My quads were in agony! I have never been this sore during a run before. Then I realized, I usually don't walk 30+ miles at a fast pace without breaking it up with a substantial amount of running.

This past week I ran 15 miles on Thanksgiving Day easy with a lot of walking, the next day I ran 25 with some walking but mostly running. But today I walked. The only time I ran was to get across the intersection at Harmony & Lemay because the light doesn't last long enough.

Thinking 50 miles of walking would be easy was the ultimate hubris. The ultimate arrogant runner attitude, it was smacking me in the butt and quads with every step. I went home on the shortcut and finished with 37 miles. I was done.

I could barely take my clothes and shoes off. I screamed trying to pull my socks off because any movement of my quads was agonizing. Just a light touch sent me through the roof. It took me forever to get undressed and into the shower, and I screamed with pulling each leg over the ledge of the bathtub.

I will be lucky if I can get out of bed tomorrow. I took some ibuprofen after the shower and it seems to be helping. I still can't lift my feet more than 6 inches off the floor without my quads screaming in agony, but that's better than when I got done with the run.

Dennis made catfish tacos for dinner and brought the computer to me so I could work without having to deal with the stairs. He also brought home some chocolate chip cookies from Starbucks to feed the tapeworm.

I got 80 miles for the week and I guess that's good, but I was hoping to do a 50 miler before Across the Years. I did learn a lesson though, it is a lot easier to do distance when I mix up the running and walking, than to stick to walking.

Walking is NOT easier. It will kick your lazy arrogant runner butt off it's primadonna pedestal.

I learned my lesson...


The Runner said...

I walked a half marathon with my daughter one year, and it seemed harder than when I ran it the previous year. It's not 50 miles but I can relate.

Alene Gone Bad said...

Walking is tough! A day later I'm not quite as sore as I thought I'd be, but things still hurt. I'm taking the day off, other than walking an easy mile this morning to stretch things out. Might have to hit the hot tub later.

mike_hinterberg said...

Well that sounds silly and painful, but otherwise a nice day! Good memories as much of that route is various running and biking combinations I used to do from Battlecreek and Timberline. I've used Dazbog as a water/coffee stop, in addition to the water pumps at Boyd Lake during the summer.

Not sure if you knew about/have been on the newish extension of the Powerline Trail, between Harmony and Trilby, just West of the railroad tracks? It's unofficial singletrack on either side of Harmony, but then concrete or gravel (on the side) all the way down to Trilby, so it's my favorite way to go South (and then head right into Boyd Lake).

Robert James Reese said...

Ouch, I would much rather run 50 miles than walk it. That's bold of you to try it, and to get 37 miles logged. Nice work.

Alene Gone Bad said...

Mike, is that the path that they recently extended from Boyd Lake that goes across County Road 11? I saw that and wondered where it went. Maybe will have to check that out this weekend.

Alene Gone Bad said...

In retrospect, it wasn't such a bad idea to do this long walk. I recovered quickly and now I feel stronger whn I'm walking a long way. I don't get so sore as a result. It sure hurt at the time, though!