Rough & Reddy

March 4, 2007 on 11:12 pm | By | In Training | 1 Comment

Last Sunday’s long run was SOOOOO tough… (all of you, in unison):

“How tough was it, Betsy?”

I had to call on Helen TWICE just to make it through.

Normally I do my long runs on Saturday, but after consulting the forecast, I decided Sunday would be much more desirable. Besides, I was preparing a make-ahead service Saturday morning for a dinner party that evening and wouldn’t finish up until early afternoon. As I dipped the asparagus and Asiago-stuffed chicken breasts in Parmesan-panko breading the pounding rain outside the client’s kitchen window confirmed I made the right choice to postpone. (Call me a wuss, but if I have to run 12-13 miles, I want to be relatively comfortable).

Sunday morning dawned, and while it was still cold and overcast, at least the rain had stopped. Perfect day for a long run! But as with all Sunday mornings, I lounged on the couch with the Seattle Times and coffee in hand; I felt no need to rush. Eventually I made my way to the stove to prepare my steel-cut oats, loaded up the iPod and did a bit of stretching. By the time I was dressed and ready to go I looked out the window to see steady droplets falling from the sky. DARNITALLTOHELL.


My darling’s foot was bothering him, so not only would I be running in the rain, I’d be going solo for much of the run (he would join me for the first 2 miles, then meet me for a burger & beer lunch at the Red Door in Fremont). As we started out Dylan forewarned me to “accept it that soon you’ll be drenched to the bone.” Thanks a lot, Bob. Rub it in. Fortunately I was bundled up and we began a pleasant meander through our neighborhood. I kept the sound down so I could converse with my darling and allowed him to choose the street on which to turn. As I kissed him adieu in Ballard the rain started pelting with increasing intensity. But I was a woman determined; I jacked up the volume and continued at a steady 7 minute run/1 minute walk pace.

My route brought me down through Golden Gardens, which was virtually deserted (no surprise given the weather). I looped my way around the park and as I headed south along Shilshole the wind and rain really picked up. Not a worry — John was singing about those country roads taking him home to the place where he belongs. (Shut up; the song’s a perfect pace for my long runs).

“Denver, on my iPod, makes me happy
Denver, in my earbuds, makes me smile”


By the time I reached the heart of Ballard my grumbling stomach forced me to take a longer walk break so I could gulp down half a Clif bar and guzzle one of my water bottles. By now the rain had stopped, but the temperature also dropped. This run was not going to be easy. I was forced to jump several puddle-filled potholes along a mile stretch of Ballard back roads, but I finally wound my way to the start of the runner-friendly Burke-Gilman. Stopped for a pee break at Hales Alehouse (I was impressed with my resolve to not quaff a quick beer) and continued on my merry way. A mile later and the Rainier “R” at the top of the Red Door loomed over me. HALLELUJAH!

But wait; my elation was premature. I still had another 4 miles to go. Rassen frassen.

I called my darling to let him know I was within 40 minutes of finishing, but I REALLY wanted to just give it up, head up the stairs to the pub and order a nice cold brew. Instead I polished off the remainder of the Clif bar and somehow mustered up the strength and motivation to continue on. Of course it began raining again, but I just kept thinking of the fries and Bloody Mary I’d enjoy once all this was over and soldiered on.

About a mile and a half in another runner passed me; how DARE she! I stifled the temptation to yell out that I normally DO run faster, it’s just my training program calls for a much slower pace during the long run. That’s when Helen came on. I pumped up the volume even higher and put myself into high gear, leaving Ms. Speedy Speedster in my dust (or more accurately, my puddles). I turned around at University Ave. and psyched myself up for the final 2 miles.

Let me tell you, it was a long slog. By now my quads were shrieking, my feet were soaked and numb and my stomach was snarling with hunger.

With less than a mile to go my running playlist ran out. When faced with such adversity, there’s really only one thing to do: summon Ms. Reddy once again. I couldn’t quite muster up the speed from my first Helen encounter, but she at least stoked my mental faculties. “I can do this. I will make it. I am invincible.”

I bounded up the Red Door steps, threw open the door and found my darling waiting with a glass of water and an order in for fries. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is!

1 Comment

  1. John Denver! Why didn’t I think of that?! I’m going to upload “Country Roads” for my long run Saturday and fully expect to run six minute miles. Thanks!!

    Comment by Angie — March 8, 2007 #

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