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Pushing the envelope--running 17 miles

Pat Dooris

by Pat Dooris

Bio | Email | Follow: @PatDoorisKGW

Posted on August 2, 2011 at 5:53 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 2 at 5:53 PM

And away they go! 

Seventeen miles. Seventeen miles! Holy Cats!

The Galloway marathon team pushed the outer limits Saturday July 16th with a big ‘ole long run! I was thrilled to be part of the team, a slow part for sure, but along for the run none the less

. I started this trek in February, thinking it would be fun and a little crazy to train for the Foot Traffic Flat Half Marathon on Sauvie Island. I’d never run farther than 4 miles before that and did not enjoy it at all. Then I discovered the Galloway program, met Jeff Galloway himself and got signed up with an incredible group of runners and their trainers in downtown Portland. Still---my only commitment was to write a weekly blog about the journey and hopefully finish the 13.1 miles of the half. I did finish---although along the way developed severe pain in my left ankle and worried that would be the longest I’d ever run.

A physical therapist friend diagnosed the issue as a problem with the tibialis posterior tendon. I traded emails with Jeff Galloway who suggested easing up on my pace from a 3 minute run and one minute walk to a one minute run one minute walk. Next, I networked around the newsroom (which is full of fantastic distance runners) and found myself in the office of Dr. Robert Sampson, DPM, FACFAS (which I think means podiatrist). He is a runner himself and took part in the Boston Marathon a few years ago, which means he’s several galaxies past my running ability and a perfect doc to tell me whether its time to hang up the running shoes and get on a bike for exercise or keep running.

He said keep running.

But he also said I need new work shoes and new orthodics. Dr. Sampson explained that I have flat feet, something I remember my mom saying but forget time to time. The problem with flat feet is every time you take a step you flex the arch of your foot downward and all the tendons and muscles go with it. Not such a big deal if you are walking through a normal day (in fact I’ve never felt pain in this tendon before) but when you start increasing miles---as if you are training for a half or full marathon---the tendon gets really angry at all the extra work. Dr. Sampson gave me a stretch to do four times a day---suggested I look for new shoes and consider a set of orthodics that will support my arch. He also said its okay to keep running (really? I’d be okay with the excuse “doc told me its not my year!”)

And that, my friends, is how I found myself at Lower MacLay Park at 7:30 in the morning on Saturday. I felt excitement and intimidation at the same time. This would be my longest run ever. I thought the half marathon was pretty hard and felt sort of wiped out after. Could I really do this? I met up with my pals, got separated into my new pace group and off we went.

More than three hours later, I’d been hungry 2 or 3 times and was looking forward to the end. In fact I was fantasizing about a thick steak with three or four eggs and toast and coffee. As we passed the 13.5 mile mark, Mike, one of our runners, offered up that he was now going farther than ever before. Ashley, our 26 year old run leader, turned and high fived him. I did too---it was a new record for me as well. Chuck our fourth runner, has completed 20 marathons. He high fived everyone else but this was nothing new to him.

After a few more steps, Ashley said, hey that’s another new record, and that’s another, and that’s another---and we all laughed as Mike and I stretched our personal records with each new stride.

The only damage on the run came to my Garmin 305 running watch---which stopped working. Its an incredible instrument that tracks miles and pace and heart rate and probably lots of other things I’m too slow to figure out.

Then, finally, after four hours, we were done. Finished. Stopped. Tired. Relieved. Beat.

I went home, took an ice bath while I drank a beer then later ate a plate full of eggs. What a day!