I had been trying to mentally prepare for today's 18 mile run, including hydrating the day before and getting some good protein in. Aside from getting to sleep early though, my mental preparation wasn't at the level I had hoped for. When I got to the starting line today, it didn't feel like I was about to run 18 miles. Maybe that's a good thing. Since daylight savings had ended, it wasn't dark this morning at 6:00am, but it was cold, and it remained cold for much of the morning. Our first three miles felt pretty great, and our mentors kept us at pace, if not a little below. I became fast friends with my running buddy next to me, and I commiserated with him over the fact his iPod was acting all funny and he wasn't able to listen to the songs he had meticulously chosen the night before for today's run. Eventually, his iPod did work. When I turned my iPod on around mile 5, I was happy to have it, but about 4 or 5 miles later it went kaput. That was ok, I'm happy to run with the playlist in my head. At one point, a girl behind me was singing the lyrics to a song she was listening to, so that was enjoyable as well.
We ran through Santa Monica and into Venice and continued South to Marina del Rey. We navigated past the Cheescake Factory at Mother's Beach, and past the Ritz Carlton, where sadly, no one was outside eating pancakes over which I could salivate. We then went further into the Marina and made it just till Fisherman's village, when we had to turn around. On our back, unfortunately, my running buddy took a nasty fall and when I turned around to see what happened, I saw he had stumbled in a narrow passageway between the parkinglot and the street. When he got up his finger was bleeding badly, and he mentioned that he was afraid he had broken it, after recently recuperating from breaking it just recently. I gave him a sanitzed wipey I carried with myself and a gulp of my water for his cut. One of our helpers, Larissa, stayed behind with him. I felt aweful. Especially, since he had mentioned his wife was recovering from a running fall of her own. Hope he got better and will see him next week.
There is a point during these long runs when we seem to lose people. By the time we got to mile 17, the group seemed to dwindle a bit, and there was a point when we were less than a mile a way, when my right knee was bothering me. I thought of stopping and walking the rest as well. But I stuck it out, and after that incline from the Pier back up to Ocean, it was a good feeling to be done with the run.
The hardest part today, aside from my partner's injury, was working on my mental stamina. My body was able to do it - It was mind that I was working on. Running, even in a group, can be very singular. It's just you out there on the road.
I got home and immediately drank some post-run chocolate milk, recommended after a long session. Then the aches and pains started to settle in. All morning 18 miler, 3 hours and 40 minutes. Now I am catching up on some tv.