I'm not sure whether or not I made this clear, but when I ran that marathon in July and didn't qualify for Boston, I woke up the next morning and registered for the Bay State Marathon in October. Right now, Bay State is just a little more than six weeks away, so I'm in the throws of my long runs. I did an 18 miler this week, I'll do a 12 miler next week, then 20, 15, 20, and the taper sets in.
Lately, I've been doing my long runs on Wednesday mornings. I roll out of bed before 5, and trudge out my door in the dark. Jared does the morning routine on his own, and I come home to an empty house, ready for a morning of work.
I don't know about you, but I firmly believe that 15-20 miles is a small price to pay to get out of the morning routine.
So, like I said, yesterday morning I ran 18. The night before, on my way home from Target, I drove to a couple points on the route to plant a water bottle and a snack. Some people like to carry their water with a camel back or a fuel belt, I like to camoflauge mine in the bushes. To each his own.
I was driving along, trying to find some half-decent hiding places in the pitch black night--we don't really have street lights in this neck of the woods--and I thought I did a really great job. Water and snack #1 were hidden in a stone wall next to a stop sign, #2 was at the base of a 'curve in road' sign, and #3 was hidden at the base of a hollowed out tree near a street sign. Done, done, and done.
So I set out the next morning, sometime after 5 o'clock, and I'm not sure if you've heard or not, but there's a ridiculous heatwave happening in New England right now. It's been 96 degrees in Maine, which is total and complete bull crap if you ask me. By the time I approached the end of the first mile, the big digital thermometer at the bank already said 76 degrees. I knew it would be a hot one.
But I was good, for once in my life, I had planned ahead.
Water #1 was somewhere around mile 6, and I couldn't wait to get there--not so much for the water, but for the Rice Krispie Treat I also stuffed into the stone wall. It was the chocolate kind with little chocolate sprinkles on top and I stole it from my in-laws' snack basket--makes it taste even better in my book. I just love contraband.
So I'm running up the road, looking for the intersection, and see something in the distance that makes me say, "Please, please, please tell me that's not my snack stop!"
Of course it was. Snack stop #1 was also a bus stop, and since it was the first day of school, that corner was packed with kids, parents, grandparents, cameras, football helmets, tubas, you name it. And somewhere behind it all, my Rice Krispie Treat was being held hostage by the public education system.
To avoid looking like a crazy person, you know, by saying something nontraditional like, "Oh, excuse me. My provisions are nestled into that stone wall back there. Mind if I squeeze through and dig 'em out?", I just ran on by.
The good news was, snack stop #2 was only 3 or 4 miles up the road, behind the 'curve in road sign.'
Well, as I set out along the next section of my route, I noticed that the road was kind of going a lot like this:
It was a very curvy road, and as such, there was a 'curve in road' sign approximately every 3 to 5 feet. My 'curve in road' sign was directly across the street from a guard rail, but guess what? They all were. Someday, when the Rapture comes, I hope a hungry homeless man finds that water and that Power Bar--after all, it has six grams of protein.
So, it was on to snack stop #3, the one near the hollowed out tree. It was somewhere around mile 14 and by this point, I was starting to see a host of hallucinations and mirages--nothing a little water and a granola bar couldn't fix.
I was running along, keeping my eyes absolutely peeled, when I spotted the glint of the shiny granola bar wrapper. I kid you not, when I saw the slightest sign of my snack I started to do that crazy lost-at-sea laugh/cry thing that people do when they're about to be rescued by a Chinese cargo ship. Real life tears of joy, you guys. Real tears.
When I approached the snack and realized that I hadn't only hidden it by a hollow tree, but also in a huge patch of poison ivy, do you have any idea what I did? I said, "Screw you, poison ivy," and I ate that snack with all my might.
Better than Outback Steak House. And I never did get a rash.
Around mile 15, my phone rang. I'd been expecting this. I picked up the phone, and without even saying hello I said, "I don't know where the sippy cup is. I looked for it at 4:45 this morning and couln't find it. You'll have to look around."
And then I found myself asking the usual, wifely questions...."Did you check the sink?"..."What about the dishwasher?"..."Did you look in the diaper bag?"..."The cabinet?"..."Do you really need me to suggest these places? You can't think of this stuff on your own?"...."Sorry, you're right, that was rude."..."It's coming back to me. Last place I saw it was in the woods, behind the sandbox. I'm sure of it."..."Oh it wasn't there? That's because I MADE IT UP!"
Finally I said, "Jared, go drive out on Route 15. There's 'curve in road' sign with a water bottle next to it." And I hung up the phone and ran it on home.