As of Sunday, the Healdsburg Half Marathon is officially TWO WEEKS away! Our little group of walkers headed up to Healdsburg for one of our last long training walks before the big day. We were shooting for between 10 and 11 miles.
We parked at the Dry Creek Store at around 10am and headed out. We decided that since the last time we started out at the store and headed to City Hall and back it was about 8 miles, so this time we would start at the store, walk down Lambert Bridge Road and back which is 0.8 miles each way, and then we would walk the same route as before to equal about 10 miles, more or less.
We headed down Lambert Bridge Road. It is such a pretty area! I put my camera in my fanny pack, but of course neglected to take any pictures. I’ve been really bad about my picture taking lately.
After a short bit we turned up another gorgeous wine country road. It was gorgeous in two ways….of course the wine country is beautiful. The valleys open up in front of you with the rows and rows of grape vines coming right up to the road, the dark purple bunches of wine grapes still hanging on the vine. The purple mountains in the distance and the bright blue sky…Ah!! I’m so lucky this is my home.
The other sense of beauty was all of the uber-hottie bicyclists riding by! I turned to the girls and proclaimed that we were going to walk this route every Sunday morning! I think there was some sort of bike tour going on, because a few of the riders that sped by were wearing bibs and numbers on their bikes. Anyway, it made the walk down Dry Creek totally worth it. One of the bicyclists riding by called out to the people behind him, “WALKERS UP!!” and it became the catch-phrase of the day.
As we got to the bottom of West Dry Creek Road, after going between 5 and 6 miles already, we realized that we bit off a little more than we were planning on chewing. In our heads, we thought that the connecting road would lead us right back to Dry Creek Store. In reality there was another whole loop that we forgot about, which added at least a mile, probably a little more, to the trek. On top of that, it was getting blistering hot out–we got a late start to the morning and it has been reaching record temperatures here this week. We had all run out of water. And it was getting hotter and hotter.
We’d been at it for about 3 hours and around 8.5 miles when I started to feel a little faint. We were on a stretch of road with very little shade, and the little water that was left in my bottle was hot from the sun. As we approached the next tree, I called out that it was rest time! We took a couple of minutes in the shade but I didn’t really feel any better.
We started walking again.
I only went about 50 steps before I started feeling really faint. I’ve never actually fainted or had heat exhaustion before, but I imagine that is what was going on. I felt nauseated and dizzy. It was all I could do to get off of the road and lean up against someone’s fence. The girls were worried about me…I felt like I just needed about 15 minutes of rest and then I could head out again…but what if I couldn’t?
We were about 2 miles away from my car and a cold bottle of Gatorade. Every car that drove by was the worst kind of taunt.
After a few minutes, A. demanded my car keys. She was going to jog ahead to the car and come back and pick us up. I hated the idea….I hated the idea of her running ahead in this heat alone. Because I couldn’t finish. I hated every aspect of it. I was mad at myself, even though I knew I shouldn’t be….at this point, there was nothing I could do about it. I handed over my keys, and then sat down in the shade.
It didn’t take long for A. to drive up, miraculously enough. It’s a testament to how good of shape she is in…now I know why she doesn’t miss a boot camp class! So she can save the rest of us (actually, just me). We originally intended to have lunch at Dry Creek Store, but after A. had a—umm, disappointing experience, let’s say—we headed to downtown Healdsburg and got some food at Oakville Grocery. We felt a bit out of place…we were a total sweaty mess! I could have bottled salt by scraping it off of my face, literally…needless to say, we took our lunch into the park and enjoyed the shade and a cool drink. Then headed home.
After a shower and a nap I was feeling much better, physically….mentally I was still disappointed. The half marathon is coming up in two weeks. Am I really ready?
The answer is yes…and I just have to keep reminding myself that we started 3 hours later than the race will start, and we have had unusually hot weather lately which hopefully will not be the case at the race–and even if it does get hot we will hopefully be sitting in the finisher’s wine tent by then! Also, we didn’t have any support stops on our walk, so we ran out of water and had nothing to replace our electrolytes.
I’m planning on repeating the walk this weekend to prove to myself that I can do it…but this time, I’ll be starting bright and early while it is still cool, and I might stash a bottle or two of water and sports drink along the way.
The countdown has begun!