Wissahickon Trail

This is my first official long run in preparation for the Richmond Marathon, and we decided to check out the Wissahickon Trail and some of the trails in Fairmount Park.  I packed my Honey Stingers and brought a bottle of water for the run, thinking I would be able to fill it up somewhere along the way.

I was wrong. Oh, so wrong.  And, I don’t like being wrong even though it teaches me so much.

It was in the 70s with low humidity, but on a long run I consume about 60 oz. of water and about 8 Honey Stingers. With all of the runners and cyclists in Fairmount Park, I was shocked that there were no water fountains along the trail following the river.  On the other hand, the Schuylkill River Trail on the opposite bank has plenty of water fountains, albeit more pedestrian and bike traffic.  Next time, I’ll run on that side, side-stepping people and dodging bikes, instead of crossing over on the Falls Bridge to the trail of no water.  If it wasn’t for Phil sharing his water, I would have only had 20 oz. There’s always next time.  Next time will be better, right?

Along the Schuylkill, the trail gradually climbed for miles at a time, allowing no break for tired legs.  My dry lips smacked together, and I couldn’t even spit due to obvious dehydration. The thought of Honey Stingers without water to wash them down made my stomach turn.  Consequently, my blood sugar dropped like the downhills.  By the end of the run, my legs felt stiff with cement blocks for feet, my head spun with dizziness, and my stomach growled.

Lesson learned again. Sometimes I make the same mistakes, figures.  I think I’m superwoman or something and forget to eat on the run and then quickly realize that I am really not.  Next time, I’ll take plenty of water by dusting off that Camelback so I can actually eat my Honey Stingers as planned.

As we approached Boat House Row and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, I was reminded why we run with tired legs and growling stomach and all–the opportunity to be outside, to clear the mind, and to do what some cannot.  Who am I kidding? Actually, by the time I saw those sights, I felt like crap and didn’t want to run anymore.  I only had 4.5 miles left. I became grouchy and looked at Phil with scorn for his easy stride and breathing.  Other runners started to pass me.  Uggh.  Then, Phil ran ahead without breaking a sweat in an attempt to search for water.  Gotta love that guy. That’s why I married him after all. Did I mention this was the day after our 17th anniversary?  Yeah, he cares.  I’ll keep him even though I want to kick his ass for his easy stride and effortless pace.

I hated running at that point and just wanted to be at home on my couch with a cold brew in one hand and a pastry in the other. But, I ran on and imagined what that cold brew would taste like after I got home and showered all of the salty sweat off my face after a run well done. I ran on through hip pain that felt like the flu from the waist down.  I ran on until I couldn’t run anymore because I am a beast. Thankfully, I was near the end of the 12 mile run–that helps too. Rawr.

Bring on the cold brew! And, Happy Anniversary, Phil!