Well, we did it. Seth and I ran the entire length of Long Beach Island in about 3 1/2 hours, with zero complaining about pace and no arguing. We ran companionably together, occasionally pointing out a new Island establishment and high-fiving when we reached the half way point.
18 miles is a long way to run, especially when your butt cheek start chafing at about mile 6. There's nothing more attractive then a very sweaty woman yanking at her shorts while running. In the beginning, I tried to time each yank when there was no one (a walker or cyclist) behind me but after about the 15th adjustment, I gave up caring. After so many miles, self preservation triumphs shame EVERY time.
At about mile 13, I hit the proverbial wall and I hit it hard. My feet were hurting; I was tired (a 4am start time is no fun); I was out of Gatorade; and I just wanted to curl up on the ground in the fetal position. In front of a garden sprinkler, if possible.
I've hit the wall before. Mile 18 of the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon, mile 22 of the Charlotte Thunder Road Marathon, and mile 23 of the NYC Marathon. You literally feel like you can not possibly take another step, and that if you do there's a good chance you'll fall over and die. All the training in the world can not prepare you for this moment. You are now a spectator as your brain and your will to succeed duke it out. Your body will automatically take the steps and keep you moving forward, but each step will be agony.
At first, I tried to sing along to music playing on my iPod. I replayed one song, (everyone sing along now) "Hey, I just met you and this is crazy but here's my number so call me maybe..." but after a few times that stopped helping. I then moved on to praying for people, but unfortunately ran through that list pretty quickly. I then attempted to literally picture a brick wall and imagined myself kicking, screaming, pounding, and slamming through it. SUCCESS! Not to say that the last few miles weren't hard - because they were - but I knew the end was in sight and was confident I would make it.
I don't know if I will attempt this craziness again. Running 18 miles while on vacation makes me tired and my legs sore. I missed an afternoon at the beach because I needed a nap. That is so lame. However, despite the chafing, wanting to throw myself on the ground, and the sweat dripping into my eyes, it was a good run. I'm so glad it's over.