Our day started at 3:00 am - well, Jeff's did. I didn't get out of bed until 3:30 am...yes, I was the slacker. We got ready and were on the course, setting out the first batch of water and Gatorade at 4:30 am. Right on schedule, doing fine, until the security guard from the nearby fancy building came by to see what mischief we were up to. This is not the first time we've been visited by security guards as we set out water and I swear, I'm beginning to understand how teenagers who get harassed by "the man" feel! This guy was a real piece of work, insisting that we needed prior approval to run around the building AND that it was on private property. Funny, there were no signs posted, plus it's a regular street...not to mention (oh but I will) we ran around it two weeks ago on that five mile race! I played along with his "authority" but geez, how dumb.
We managed to get the rest of the supplies dropped off without incident and met up with our runners to start the day. After a few route announcements (including one regarding the power-happy security guard) we all took off. It was a great run - Amy and I just trucked along, doing our 1:1 intervals and chatting away. We reached the ::ahem:: private property where sure enough, the security guard was in his vehicle, watching us. We ended up not running entirely around the building; instead we made a couple of loops to get our mileage in. As it turns out, several of our earlier runners had made it a point to run around the building, including one who works in the legal arena...and I love it! Way to stick it to "the man," runners!
While we were in that area, we came to our first water stop, manned (or I should say, WOmanned) by none other than Joni! She was the co-organizer when I joined USAFit back in 2010 and of course, Mama to sweet Davis, who I get to babysit on occasion. For me, it was a calming thing to see her, as it brought back good memories of my first season of training with USAFit. We took off again and in another three miles we were at our next water stop, WOmanned by Karen (who I ran the five miler race with a few weeks ago) and Stephanie, who unfortunately was diagnosed with a stress fracture in her foot on Friday (such a hard thing to hear, especially with the goal race only three weeks away!). These ladies cracked me up - from Karen, who stepped out in the middle of our lane and called us to her like puppies (complete with patting her thighs and saying "come on, come to mama!") to Stephanie, who immediately offered up some donut holes...yes, donut holes! Months ago, having tasted one after a long run, I decided these would make perfect energy bites during our benchmark run - a nice change from GU. So I included several dozen with the supplies we left at this aid station, and they were a hit!
I don't run with my phone so unfortunately I didn't get any pictures at the aid stations, but Stephanie indulged me in a dramatic reenactment afterward - don't you love the USAFit Hydrator apron she is wearing? Amy decorated them; we had an apron for each volunteer and they all looked so cute!
We visited with the ladies for a bit before finally deciding to hit the road once again. Things were going pretty well, but around mile 7.5 Amy noted that we must be getting tired since we'd stopped talking...yep. My hamstring was bugging me a little, but I knew I was going to stop at mile 9, so I didn't worry about it. We got to mile 9 and Joni was there with the water and Gatorade - that's where I stayed while Amy soldiered on for the last 3 miles. Joni drove me back to the park, which was great - by her being at mile 9, it meant that I could run all 9 of my miles with Amy instead of having to turn around earlier. We are social runners, what can I say?
Back at the park, I asked Stephanie to take my picture showing my 9 mile accomplishment:
Nine miles, woohoo! My longest distance of the season!
Then Stephanie told me to flash my mileage gangsta-style:
Yeah, it's apparent I am not a gangsta. Also, my inner gangsta cannot count to nine.
We waited around for the marathon group to finish their 21 miles - egad, I still cannot believe they did that. Jeff drove out with some more donut holes and fed a couple of the runners along the route, plus Sadie the dog got a few...hey, she needs fuel too! By the time they all came in and we went to Blue Baker, it was a little after 10:30 am and they were cleaned out of bagels, cinnamon twists, cinnamon buns and most of their breakfast food - it was slim pickings, which was disappointing, as I'd been up since 3:30 am, run 9 miles, and only had eaten a GU and a few donut holes. Starving, I was. We made do with bacon, a cranberry/walnut muffin, and coffee. Luckily the company around the breakfast table made up for the lack of post-run feast (and the Mexican food later on helped as well).
We're now officially on taper mode for the race - we'll decrease our long run mileage dramatically for the next two weeks. I can't believe that this season of running club is almost over! Of course we'll keep running together on Saturdays, but after such a long, crazy day like this one, it will be nice to not have to plan and coordinate so much.