Posted by: Karen | May 22, 2006

Past Halfway

Up until yesterday none of my long runs have taken me past the halfway point in a marathon. Yesterday, I did it. I ran 25 km/15.5 miles. In a row! One after the other, yep.

It was gloriously warm out. When I awoke at 5:00 a.m. the radio guy said it was already 12C/54F, and I didn’t hit the river pathway to start running until after 7. I?had a full bottle of raspberry Ultima,?2 chocolate Powergels and a couple of homemade orange oatmeal cookies.?I had?applied?Body Glide, Vaseline, and?Ombrelle sun screen (spf 4o). I’d been to the bathroom 3 times and it was time to get out there.?I started out with a smile and total confidence that I was really going to enjoy this. As I ran along I greeted other runners with full fuel belts and gels tucked into the straps of their?drinking backpack systems. Heck, I greeted everybody who gave me eye contact.

Somewhere in the first 15 minutes I smiled at a man out walking his dog. He smiled back,?held a feather out to me and I took it. He told me “Maybe it will help you to run faster!” I carried that feather for the next hour, entwining it between my fingers and using it to remind me to run lightly. I remembered a mantra that *jeanne* uses, “Smooth, Strong, Glide” and it came in handy several times.

I counted 21 geese along the north side of the river before I got to the Eau Claire YMCA bathroom.

*Warning* Gross runner stuff coming up *Warning*

After almost 10 km I suffered a?vivid reminder of why I should be training with Imodium in my system this time of year. I don’t mind the warmth of the day so much in most ways, but it turns my innards to liquid. I was very glad I was running alone, because exactly one minute before I made it to the bathroom my body made a distressingly gurgly noise when it was supposed to be farting. Oh great.

And there, between me and the bathroom, was Gord of his own Running Store and his lovely wife and family. “Hi folks! Yep,?gorgeous day. 2 more hours to go!” I’m glad I’m not on a hugging basis with them – I really didn’t want to get close to anyone right then. It took me nine minutes to clean up half decently in the bathroom, and my “lucky long run underwear” just about became disposable. Lucky for the undies, I had a spare snack-size, sealable?baggie on hand. If I hadn’t potty trained two children earlier in my life I’d probably be selecting a new pair of undies to deem “lucky”.?Good for me, I’d also packed a panty liner and am very, very grateful for the liner in my running shorts.

We will now resume our cheery, poop-free report.

?*Done with the gross runner stuff now*

I was glad to be back on the pathway. Especially glad, because within 2 minutes of resuming my run I enjoyed the truly majestic view of a half-naked, totally ripped, tanned torso coming my way. Man, the scenery was breathtaking.

I did an extra little loop around Prince’s Island to extend my previous?21 km?out and back route?to 24 km. Then?I headed up the curling club hill and instead of going directly back down again, continued on to Center Street and down the bridge there. I enjoyed a gentler descent and added on the last extra km (to make the?whole thing total 25 km)?to the middle of my route at the same time. Now all I had to do was run back to my car, about 10 km away.

As I ran along the south side of the river I spotted none other than the Mayor running towards me. He touched a plaque near one of the statues at 14th Street and turned around to run the other way. Everybody has their little rituals, even the Mayor.

I counted 4 more geese before getting back to the north side of the river. There were all kinds of trees blooming along the way; purple and white lilacs, wolf willow, honeysuckle, fruit trees?totally covered in white and pink petals. I realized I’d left the feather back in the bathroom. Shoot. Oh well, run light anyway. I heard a train chugging on through and it reminded me to just keep that momentum going “like a freight train, baby”. I thought of Nancy doing her olympic?distance?triathlon race that morning and wondered how she fared.

I’d been running 10/1s?for?over 2.5 hours and still had about 5 km to make it back to the car. Things were starting to ache now, but I kept on putting one foot in front of the other. At one point I resorted to counting each of my steps as if it were the first. “One, one, one, one, one…”

There were lots more folks out on the pathway now – kids falling asleep in strollers, all sizes of dogs and their owners, etc. As if I hadn’t seen enough famous people for one morning, I waved hello to Gord Gillies, a local newsguy, running along with someone else not far from Edworthy Park.

I made it back to my car, stopped the watch, and flopped down in a shady, grassy spot. You know, “to stretch”.?For the first minute or two?I just looked up through leaves of a big poplar tree at the blue sky, and then I did actually manage a few stretches before heading home. A cool bath, a warm shower and a change of clothes later and I made 3 omelettes for lunch with my family. On the calendar I had guesstimated it might take me 3:20 to complete this distance. My watch reads 3:20:50. The legs were tired and achy the rest of the day, but the smile never left.?There’s nothing like running a new longest distance. I’m looking forward to my next one!


  1. (sorry about the sick tummy, mine gets icky on long hot runs too sometimes…though not usually that bad).
    That’s AWESOME. GOOD FOR YOU! HUrray for the feather guy!

    You’re my hero.

  2. Incredible!
    You ran it,
    WITH icky runner troubles mid-run,
    and STILL enjyed it!
    And came up right at your estimated time!
    Way to GO!!!
    We’re right in synch with our training!!!
    We’re marathoning Calgary in FORTY-SEVEN days!

  3. Way to go, getting those long miles in! Keep plugging away at it, and before long 15 will seem short.

  4. Great job Karen. Way to keep going. You are gonna rock that marathon course!


    Did I tell you I peed in the transition area yesterday? Sitting on the ground next to my bike? With my shorts on and everything? I hope nobody noticed that wet spot.


    Even though you’re gross.

  6. Way to go Karen!

  7. Karen, you did great! Even if you are GROSS as Nancy said! I actually know what that is like because one day a few years ago I was running a long run and suddenly my guts started churning too, and there I was out on a country road with no place to go AND no toilet paper. I held on for an agonizing 5 minutes, got to a very densely treed section, ran into the trees and dropped my drawers. Fortunately I had a very old towel with me that I tore into strips. I still chuckle passing that area today. I think the trees are greener there too. Now I sometimes take immodium during a long run, in case I have a …long run.

  8. What a terrific rundown. I felt like I was with you every step of the way…and somehow you even made an unexpectedly messy pitstop not sound so unpleasant. Now, THAT’s a good run.

  9. I skipped the gross part, then came back to it just to see what I was missing. I should have stayed away. Next time I’ll know.

  10. Some folks will do anything to attract more readers, hehe! Good job on the miles and welcome to one of the perils of running, now thats out of way, phew! LOL Do you know TMI, hehe?

  11. I hate when that happens. And yes, it’s happened to me, too. Same exact thing. You are not alone!


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