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Inspired Living

July 18 ~ Welcome to Long Beach!

Sarah Stanley

Good morning from Long Beach, CA! 2.7 second version? Ran 36 miles in 6:20. Solo. In a new place. With no food/fluids mile 14 on. Did I spike your interest in reading? Good:) Enjoy!

Long day yesterday. 24 hours long to be exact. By the time I landed, and got to the hotel it was midnight. Then, my tummy decided that TONIGHT was the night to be sick. Go figure.

Moving on. I was pretty apprehensive  about my run this morning. You see, I had to run 36 miles. In a new place. Jet lag. No trails. And let's not forget being sick. Oh & solo. Somehow in the midst of my obsessive organizing & planning for the LONG RUN I forgot to pack my beloved Kashi. I got some yogurt & a muffin from the hotel and prayed & that it would stay down.

Left  Hotel Maya at 7 am with no clue where I was going.

Ran across the bridge over into Long Beach for a run of a life time. It was pretty quiet out. And refreshingly cool! The sun was out and let's just say I had no idea what was in store for me! Made my way along the boardwalk, then after a few miles, was at the beach. They had a nice flat path. Only problem was that it was concrete. Just a tad different then trails. Ran there for a while, then for a change of pace ran on the beach for a mile. That quickly ended and I was once again faced where to run. Found a street and ran down that. Only at mile 7 and I quickly realized that this was GOING to be a while.

Now for a bit of background. I had originally planned to run out 10 & back. Refuel. Eat. Then out 8 & back. Done. Well, as I kept on running and realizing that I would have to retrace the SAME steps, that idea was quickly fading. However, I didn't bring enough fluids or food with me. Ok, CA, let's see if you can help a ultra runner chicky in need.

Back to the story. By this time, I was already running through another town. Never did catch the name. Mile 8 I do know that though! Mile 9 I ran past Whole Foods. This was firmly planted in my memory for the next 20 miles.

By this time, I was at mile 10 and running along Pacific Coastal Highway. Lots of cars. And cyclists. I quickly got bike envy. Not just for a ride, but for the gear. And their speed! Ran through Surfside Beach. Sun starting to get hot. Water quickly going down. Going to have to start finding some good souls. Next up, Seal Beach. Then Sunset Beach. Mile 14, I was at Bolsa Chica State Beach. Perfect!

At this point, I got off the highway and up onto the boardwalk. Time to hit it. First 2 dudes had nothing. So, on I ran. Spied a family having a picnic. A very LARGE picnic. Bottle of water was received. In exchange for running a few miles for them. I told them not a problem.

Run on. I was keeping my eye for out my return visit. I knew I was going to need it. At mile 16 I was tired of my ipod. And I thought it might be preventing me from receiving freebies. So, off it came. I also had a beautiful of the ocean. And a lot of dogs. I had arrived at Huntington Dog Beach. The next 2 miles were tough. I finally ran into Huntington Beach. I was never so happy to be at mile 18. And to freaking turn around only to REPEAT!

HB was having the Hurley Surf Contest. Perfect timing. Lots of people around and vendors with samples. FREE SAMPLES! Score! SoBe Water was there. I ran right up and nearly knocked down the teenage/college dudes behind the stand. I quickly told them I loved them. I was running 36 miles. And I need water. I filled my bottles up. I drank up (too much, but I didn't care). Then time to turn around. Let the fun begin!

The next few miles were ok. I was happy that the sun was only hot and not humid out. I can deal with that!

Soon, I was upon the state park. I could not wait. Loot time! A whole row of unsuspecting surfers, family's and dogs. Yeah, I was desperate. Dog biscuits count as carbs, right? As I ran, I shouted (well, more like panting) to the people around me "I am running 36 miles. Don't have food. Need salt. Water. Anything". So, I received: 3 Special K 90 calorie bars (perfect, I made them last for an hour), a bottle of smart water and a handful of rice crackers. That got me through the next 10 miles. I could make it to Whole Foods.

Mile 27 came. Gave myself the thumbs up. Told myself that I was proud of me. And how strong I was. Did I mention that it was getting HOT? The sun was strong to say the least. BUT. No humidity!

Finally, at mile 28, I arrived at Whole Foods. Was sadly disappointed to find NO fruit samples. I always CRAVE fruit (grapes, pineapple, watermelon, etc) when on runs. So, I wandered around the store. Sample loot: soy milk, crackers, coconut water, chocolate chip cookies, cheddar cheese, beef jerky (salt), and some kind of water. Filled up my bottles with the coconut water & prayed the next 8 miles would pass quickly.

Mile 30. I was getting sun burnt by this point. I was just wearing shorts & a sports bra. Sunscreen had long worn off. Was STILL craving grapes. I was approaching a very long picnic. I could feel something good coming out of this. I could SEE the grapes. Really. And, as if in a real live movie, there they were. Large. Red. Glorious. Crisp. Juicy. GRAPES. I was in heaven! I ran along the table. Mumbled to the guy getting some food "p-l-e-a-s-e" and pointed to the grapes. His wife came over and said "she is training for an ultra, give her some grapes NOW!" Thank you kind lady! They were the best grapes. Ever. I will ALWAYS remember them.

By this time, the sun was already  frying me. I tried to run as fast as I could. Mile 33. I was still thirsty. I wanted a popsicle. In luck. I spied a cart ahead. My next prey. Keep in mind I had NO money on me. I ran up. I could barely speak English, let alone Spanish. So I resorted to sign language. It worked. Well, I think the guy knew he didn't stand a chance. I HAD to have it!

Walked a bit here. As the popsicle melted over my hand. Prayed the bees wouldn't attack me. As you know from my other runs, bees kind of like me:) I finally put the popsicle in my bottle. With 2 miles to go, I really needed some ice. Thank god I was running beside the beach with little stores. I saw a stand up ahead. The words "ice cold lemonaide" and "ice" stood out. I guess I can still read. Thats a good thing. Ran up. Asked the girl for ice. She replied its a $1.00. I told her, its ice for pete's sake, give me some NOW! She mumbled something about her boss. I quickly told her I would take care of that. She gave me about 5 pieces. I didn't even bother to ask for a squeeze of lemon.

I finally made my way around the board walk. Over the bridge. Into the hotel lobby. DONE. Run time was 6 hours, 20 minutes. 36 miles.

The lady at the desk asked if I was ok. "You don't look so good", she said. I told her I was fine. But could someone please bring me a 5 gallon bucket of ice? I think I am going to stay at a hotel on long runs days from now on. I won't have to lug ice up the stairs! How nice!

Upon arriving in the room. I quickly saw that I had a pretty bad sunburn. OUCH! Made my recovery drink. My legs felt fine from the run, but sunburn=sun poison. So, after a ice bath, I took a nap. Then, I knew I had to get some aloe, water and food. Back across the bridge I went. Well, apparently, downtown Long Beach doesn't have stores. Just places to eat. All I wanted was water & aloe gel. Not another 4 mile adventure. After 45 minutes of walking, I found a 711 and was happy to find Smart Water + aloe vera gel. Then it was a walk back to the hotel.

So, if you are STILL reading this, thank you:) I had fun writing this. Bottom line? You can do anything you set your mind to. I just proved it today:) Just don't get sunburned like me:)

Photo by Kevitivity