This morning, online I ran 21 miles. Once again, I tagged along with students. This time it was the Mt Gleason Runners out in Sunland. The team’s coach, Craig Moss, put out an open invite on Twitter and I jumped at the chance. I’d had a great experience with the Hamilton HS runners, but they were doing 10 miles this weekend and my training plan called for more. I knew running with the MG Runners along a new route with support would be great motivation. And it was.
The MG Runners are a big group with several adult runners. For the majority of the run, I was near students (good since I’d lost my map and was unfamiliar with the area and course). The views of the snowy mountains of the Angeles National Forest were quite awesome; I wished I had my camera. Parents and volunteers manned 5 water stations with gummy worms, oranges, bananas, water and Gatorade (much better than my GU Chomps). One of the parents even brought an RV for her station at mile 13. Impressive.
In a short break between mile 17 and 18, a parent asked if I was one of the students’ parents. In between water and orange slices, I told her no and explained the Twitter open invite. I found the concept of being a middle school kid’s mother amusing until I realized I was old enough to have a 12-14 year old. I thanked her once again and continued on my run. Some students offered “good job!” as I passed them. Shortly after, I caught up to a man who said his son was running in his second marathon. He was training for his first. We chatted a little and then concentrated on the hills.
If I was a runner in middle or high school, I know my mom or dad would definitely be at a water station. My siblings and I were lucky enough to be involved in lots of activities as kids. My parents paid for us to participate in Little League and take other classes, they bought the necessary equipment (cleats for baseball and soccer, botas for ballet folkórico), drove us to all the practices/games/performances, and watched us play and perform. When we were in the high school band, they were active in the parent booster club. Dad helped set up for half-time and pre-game shows. Mom helped hem uniform pants and jackets. When our high school hosted a day-long band competition, they were out there all day. I took their presence and support for granted back then. I just assumed all parents gave up their Friday nights and Saturdays.
The parents out there this morning reminded me of my own awesome parents who are still the best support I could ask for*.
As for the run, I felt much better physically and mentally than I did two weeks ago for the 18-miler. I fueled much better today with Chomps (1 pack), gummy worms, orange slices, water and Gatorade. The ~20 degree difference in weather definitely helped too. I was also free of the self-doubt that hit me hard in the last few miles two weeks ago. During the tough part of the run today, I repeated my mantra (¡Sí se puede!) and concentrated on getting up the hill rather than wonder what I was doing training for a marathon. I finished in 3:40:56 (10:31 pace).
Many thanks to Craig Moss and the MG Runners. I look forward to seeing them in 28 days (!) running from the stadium to the sea.
[*Sean and Lori are great too. Sean had ice waiting for me when I got home. Ice baths used to sound so torturous, but now I look forward to them. Lori comes through with great advice, massages and discounts on athletic gear.]