Sunday, August 24, 2008

Inaugural Long Run: Life Is A Beach

There were a lot of factors for why I needed to do this.
One - I needed another 20 miler in my training regimen to prepare for New York City.
Two - With an upcoming move, who knows how many miles I'll be able to do for a while.
Three - What the hell. DO IT!

I have to admit, while I could have leaned on choices 1, 2 and any other rational choice, I really wanted to do it to say I could. I never ran across four beaches and back. So what if the temperature was in the mid eighties even on the shore line? So what if the humidity was like at 70% or worse? Hell, I was ready. The night before I went to Jack Rabbit Sports with Scott down in Park Slope, Brooklyn. There I purchased a Camelback Water Bladder. .

For those of you who don't know what that is, please. Do not worry. I am not out there in the middle of New York harvesting Camels or Rabbits' bladders. No, the water bladder is a compartment of --- ehhh --- let me just show you the picture....

As you can see it is a backpack that is loaded with water for continuous hydration for those extra long runs. The straps are very comfortable, and it holds a considerable amount of liquid. Most impressive was that on the run today, the water remained cold throughout the entire jaunt.

Speaking of jaunt, here is the map of insanity. And yes, I love insanity, especially when it comes to running. If it hasn't been done yet, sign me up. If it has, but it can be done more impressively, then yes, forge my signature, because I will be there. Okay, let me shut my hole for a second. Here's the freaking map!!!!

One of the most crucial elements to this run besides the necessity for water, since most of the run was on boardwalk and in parts where there is no access to fresh water, is S U N S C R E E N !!!! Hello, remember me? Mr. Casper the Friendly Runner? I get sunburned just by googling images of the sun.

Scott showed up at Bonnie's at 5:30am and we were off to Far Rockaway Park. Driving down Cross Bay Boulevard, I was appreciating sites for which I had only recently discovered since becoming friends with Scott, but for which I knew would be fleeting since I knew I was moving out to ...... LONG ..... GUY ...... LAND.

The first five miles was like a fetus waiting to be born. I felt all screwed up, but the word tired didn't even exist. Also verbal exchanges like this didn't exactly help the cause (for Scott that is, because for me I was having a blast)

Alex: "Hey Scott"
Scott: "What"
Alex: "1 mile down. 19 to go"
Scott: "Gee thanks......UGH!!!!!"

LOL !!!!

So here are pictures that I snapped up from the internet to show you the beaches we ran through. Of course I could pictures of any beach with a boardwalk. I mean, hey, sand. wood. water. overpriced snooty condos. it's like that everywhere around right?


Rockaway Park:

Rockaway Beach Boardwalk has some real gritty areas.  Parts of the boardwalk (in the abandoned area) are in pretty bad shape.  Raised nails, planks, even missing planks.  Pretty treachourus.  Also, in the "abandoned" areas like the one above, the clientel is poor.  

This is the beginning of the Atlantic Beach Bridge.   We were at the 10K mark.   I was feeling very strong.  In an "out n' back" run, you have to be careful how far "out" you go, since you have to backtrack that same distance.  After we crossed the bridge, we went down some lonely looking streets until we hit Long Beach and once I saw some familiar places from the 10 Mile memorial day race, then I was in my element!

With Long Beach, we ran down the "monopoly" streets until the boardwalk started up again.  We got onto the boardwalk and made it to the 10 mile mark.  I was tempted to run past it, but I am glad I didn't!

The turn around was great.  The liquid in my Camelback was still cool but almost on "E".  When we got back to the state-named "monopoly" streets I stopped at a local supermarket and reloaded.  This time with Gatorade!  

From this point and all the way over the Atlantic Beach bridge I was stoked.  Yes it was hot, but I was doing awesome.  I don't think I ever felt this good 15 miles into a run.   I turned to my pal, and told him that I felt I could convert this run itself into a marathon.  He reminded me about the mind and it's ability to play cruel tricks on me.  Cruel tricks?  How many people do you know that would want to even run 20 miles, let alone run to the corner deli?!!!!  But I knew what he meant, so I decided to reserve my strength for later to see how I felt.

Mile 16 was a breeze.  So was Mile 17.  
And then the mechanics started to break down.
Mile 17 to 18  lasted for like, ever.  The sun was roasting me.  All I needed was a side of potatoes, and I would have made a nice addition to any dining room table on Thanksgiving.
The Gatorade was not that cold anymore.  Shit.  I must not have sealed it well.  ..... Ahhhhh.....So that's why my back was all sticky!!!!!

Mile 18, I turned to Scott.
Alex: "Scott"
Scott: "What now."
Alex: "I don't think I want to do 26.2 miles anymore."
Scott: "See?  It was all a mirage."

Mile 18 into 19.    Death and Taxes minus Taxes.
As the roasting of Alex D. Gonzalez continued, all I kept wondering was....."and I am doing a hot yoga class after this?  I am nuts!!!!"

Mile 19.  Delusions are flying rampantly.  This is what I saw in my head below.

Nice delusion, ehhh?  Well, I've been to Maui.  And let me tell you Rockaway Beach, while very nice is no Maui.  But it was to me.  Had to be.  It would be the only way I could finish my goal of 20 miles.  

Finally it was over.  20 miles in the can.  3 hours 27 minutes and change.  Woo Hah!

When we did finish, we made a wise choice and rather than walking the rest of the way back to his house, Scott called his mom to pick us up.  When she got there, she looked at us like as if we had just escaped an insane asylum.  I don't blame her.  

Back at Scott's,  we freshened up, reloaded on Gatorade and water, and headed out for Rockville Centre to the Bikram Hot Yoga Class.  

The class was torture.
But what did I expect?
You go into a 107 degree dry heat room.  No air. No ventilation. And perform all kinds of stretches.  About the only consolation are that "some" of the woman in bikinis offer the occasional distraction from wanting to do one of two things.   Puke.  Pass Out.

The boot phase came in about 10 minutes after I started.  The pass out phase was about 20 minutes into it.  Incredibly, I survived both (without puking or passing out) and made it to the end.  The instructor even talked more than me (if that could be believed), and was very supportive of me "the rookie".  Scott also helped, by making sure that I placed my mat by the exit door.   It was nice because every so often, the teacher opened the door to the oven.
Now I know what it's like to be an oven-roasted turkey.  At the end of the class, the teacher instructed us to take our time and rest as long as we wanted.  Scott, was just laying there with his eyes closed.   Not knowing what came over me.  Perhaps the heat stroke that was taking over my body,  I decided the throw in the towel.  Literally.  I threw my towel on top of Scott's head.  Man was he pissed! LOL!!!  

Overall, I would have to say it was a pretty cool (heh) experience for $20.  I can definitely see not only how it can make you more limber, but how it can help me run better on hot days too.
Still, I was all too happy to leave.

I wanted to find a picture of the bikram class.  Could not, but here's one I thought was entertaining......

Okay.  And speaking of funny pictures.  I know you didn't think for a moment that I had an entire humoungous barrel roped to my back, right?  LOL

This is more like what I wore during my long run.....

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