More than I could chew

At the conclusion of my last note I confided I’d signed up for a ten miler and was reasonably sure I was in over my head. I made it out for a single 2 mile run in all of Thanksgiving week so I hadn’t really prepared very well. As the day drew near, the weather seemed tolerable so I thought I’d go take a stab at it anyway. And away we go!

49th Annual Great River Road Run

Where: Alton,IL

Date: November 29, 2008

Time: 10am

Weather conditions: overcast, slight breeze, temp mid 30s

surface: asphalt

Alton is a northern suburb of St.Louis, perched on bluffs overlooking the Illinois side of the Mississppi River. It’s an extremely hilly little burg with many streets with very sharp rises and declines. The best thing about this day was that the run was not to be held on these streets. The run was an out and back north of Alton along the river. I had to park a bit from the sign in and had a bit of a trudge to and from there and to and from the start/finish line. If my only exercise that day was up and down the steep slopes before and after the run It would have been plenty. I must admit I entertained the thought of climbing back in my truck and heading for home after the sign in. However, that would have been pretty pussy even for me. After attaching my bib number to the front of my jacket, I headed for the starting line on the corner of Broadway and State. It was pretty good sized mob. there was was a 2 mile fun run going off 10 minutes aftert the 10 miler. There were maybe 900 people doing the 10 miler. I’m not sure of the total for the 2M but with the family and friends giving support and volunteers working the event, the streets were filled for a couple blocks. This time the timing chip was on the backside of my bib number. That was kind of a new one on me. I was acutely aware of where it was since I’d managed to take the last one home with me. I think I could’ve taken this one with me but they had a recycle bin there at the finish line and THIS time I actually left it with them.

The river road was very flat with just a bit of breeze at our backs on the way out and into us coming home. I took my usual place towards the back of the back and tried to get my mind in death march mode. The gun went off and off we slogged. The first mile I got passed by about a million people. Well not quite a million, just kind of seemed like it. There are many days where you know you’re in over your head but if you put you’re head down and gut it out you can surprise yourself. This was not one of those days. At about 3.5 miles, the leaders had already made the turnaround and were going by me on the way back. The old knees and hips were kind of aching after about 4 miles. It seemed like I’d been out there forever when I made the turn around after 5 miles. I was also feeling a bit over dressed. I’d worn a jacket and had my bib pinned to the jacket sort of straddling the zipper. So though I’d unzipped the zipper, I couldn’t shake myself out of the jacket because I was sort of pinned in. As I turned to go back in, the little breeeze we’d had with us suddenly was very refreshing. It was impeding my progress but was kind of a savior heatwise. At about 6 miles I came alongside a woman that had passed me, then walked for a bit, then passed me, then walked for a bit. It was at the end of one of these walks she started running along with me just so she could pace off me a little bit. She’d come there with some younger stronger runners who would no doubt be back at the finish long before us. We exchanged small talk for about a mile and a half when finally the muscles supporting my hip joints were just screaming so I had to just walk for a bit. She was ready to walk again by that point. We probably walked a quarter mile and then began to run again. I didn’t make it real far before I had to walk again. My calves were pretty tight too. I’d been drinking water as I went along but wasn’t sure that I might not be just a little dehydrated. At about the 8.5 mile mark she went on to run again and I walked a bit longer trying to loosen up. The loosen up just didn’t seem to happen. I tried at the 9 mile mark to jog the rest of the way in but only lasted about a quarter mile, walked and then finally managed to run the last half mile to put myself out of my misery. I unclipped my bib to recycle the chip embedded in it, my hands shaking slightly, then looked for the drink stand. There were wash tubs filled with soda and water and it was a real chore to bend my knees to get down and pluck out a couple cans. I scaled the hills of Alton to find the truckster. Oh yeah, the time was 1 hour, 52 minutes and something seconds. The one 10 miler I’d run previously, last December, was 1:45 and change. That was a more difficult course but I actually ran the whole way. This was way more of a struggle because I’m just not in as good shape at the moment.

That same 10 mile event from last year will be run again tomorrow. I’ve only gone for one small 2 mile run this week and if I’ve got any sense at all, and that’s debatable, I will just stay home tomorrow and try to get in 4 or 5 miles here. It’s supposed to be damn cool in the morning, possibly single digits, and I’m not thrilled with the idea of taking a road trip to freeze my toes off when I can run here, then come inside if it’s just unbearable. It also kind of snowed a little bit off and on all day too. Our first snow with any accumulation was last Sunday. I stepped out the back door and took a couple of pics. The first snow always seems so pretty before it’s been walked in or gets all crapped up.


After the first snow it gets old pretty quick. It’s going to be a long winter.


  1. Our poor bodies are so quirky. I walked 10-12 miles a week all summer. And now that its been snowing here I’ve been walking on the gym treadmill and my knee joints are killing me. I guess I must be working different muscles or joints on the treadmill. Bah! But that’s not 10 miles of hills. At least you got out and did that. Good for you.

  2. Do you wear cleats when you run in snow and ice? I would be really concerned about slipping and breaking my knees. And I thought you were going to say you had coffee with Runner Girl after it was all over.


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