Wednesday, January 1, 2014

How (not) To Run in Senior Nirvana

In yesterday's post about The Many Vomits of Team Giessler up and down the east coast over the Christmas holiday I made mention of an Epic Fail Run that I took while on vacation. Here is the tale of that run.

Because of the very cold and icy winter we've had so far, my Pay It 40-ward training has not been flawless. Anyone who lives in northern climates and is training through the winter to run an ultra marathon in early spring would be excited about the idea of a few days in warm weather and friendly terrain. I was downright GIDDY at the idea of doing my runs in The Villages, Florida for that very reason.
I was disappointed not to have experienced one single Golden Girls sighting. 

On the morning after we arrived, I got up at 4:30 in order to get in about a 3 hour or 18-mile run. Since running takes a lot of (selfish) time I make attempts not to make the rest of the world work around my schedule whenever possible. The Villages has many different communities within it and they are all connected by golf cart paths (and regular roads, too, of course). These golf cart paths are fantastic for running. The only trouble is that sometimes at an intersection the path takes you off of the main road and onto another road... maybe not the one you really want to be on any longer. I knew this, as I had run there before. To prepare for this, I typed out on my phone a list of the roads I wanted to take for my run. I didn't do the miles out but I knew that if it was too short I could always do the loop a couple of times.

Well, of course, I got out on the paths and lost my mind. I was loving the flat. Loving the comfortable temps. Loving the quiet. Loving the 'dark' (I had my headlamp but hardly needed it as the area is pretty well lit with street lights). After about 45 minutes I noticed that I wasn't on the road I thought I was on. I didn't panic because I knew I could use my GPS to get me back to the house. (I had wisely typed in the exact street address of their house on my phone.... otherwise this story would have an even more tragic/hilarious ending!)

After about 2 hours of tooling around different cart paths and generally  loving life, I got out the phone and typed in the address. It said that by foot I was about 7 miles from their house. Perfect, actually! I looked at the map, memorized the streets I needed to take and got on my way. Every 10 or 15 minutes I stopped to check the phone to make sure I was going in the right direction. The little blue line between me and the house was still solid. I was totally on the right track. I made a pit stop at one of the many rec centers to use the bathroom and refill my water bottles. I checked in with one of their early morning workers and he directed me to the street I needed. Still feeling good.

Coming up on hour 3/mile 18, I was wondering why I hadn't found the turn I needed. I checked the phone again. Still on that pretty blue line but, ummm, what's this? Now I was NINE miles from their house?! What the heck was going on? How could I be still on the right route but farther from the house!? At this point I knew, even if I figured out what I was doing wrong, I was not going to make it back. I just didn't have a 27 miler in me. I called Scott and told him where I was. (Right by the Nancy Lopez Golf Course, in case you are wondering!) He relayed through his Dad that I was a LONG way from their house and I needed to go SOUTH on the road I was on. I had, of course, been going north. Very north. For a very long time! Thankfully they were able to hop in the car and would be able to pick me up fairly soon.

As I ran the next 3 miles down the now-sunlit road I realized my error. Yes, I was on the right road. And yes, I was still on the pretty blue line. But I was only on the pretty blue line because I was CREATING the line... making it LONGER and moving it AWAY from my destination. That GPS was making me feel all warm and fuzzy when actually what I needed to do was so "HEY, STUPID, YOU ARE GOING THE EXACT WRONG WAY!"

Big. Fat. DUH!

So, that's runner's brain for you. It hits in any climate, apparently. Blessedly there was no fear of frost bite nor dehydration because I was in winter runner's paradise. I even had an extra Gu and Chomps when I was done.

All in all it was a great run. I got in 21 miles - a real confidence booster, actually. And I managed to get in 6 more miles the next 2 mornings as well. That was probably my first time ever hitting my very tired legs with another run the day after a 20+ miler. What a great 3-days of memorable running.

And then it was Christmas and I got sick... and the boys got sick.... and well, you read yesterday's post, right...?

If you're really curious, here's the link the RunKeeper page documenting my dumbassishness.

Pay it 40-ward updates to come soon! A big decision has been made Several great ideas from the Team to share! I will get my act in gear, I promise!

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