Remember that marathon in May I’m training for? Well, my weekend runs are getting longer and longer, and I’m only about halfway through my training. Last weekend, I ran my furthest distance in almost a year, 14 miles. Actually, to be honest, it was 14.2, but who’s counting, right? If you’re a runner, you know that .2 can do you IN. For me, it wasn’t the .2 that threatened to do me in, but the 12 degrees Fahrenheit with the crazy windchill of around 3 degrees. Oh MY was it bitter cold. Lucky for me, I had some motivation to even get out of bed.
First, I met a few of my best running buddies at a local trail to run for 5-6 miles. Once we hit 2.5 miles, our friend, Michelle, reminded us that she’d never run a 10k distance before (for all you laypeople, that’s 6.2 miles), so heck yeah, we got to that 3.1 mile mark, instead of turning around sooner.
I was going to turn around and head back onto the trail after that 6.2 was done and do another out and back to reach 14 miles, but I decided I needed to get somewhere where there were more people, and I would be safer if something happened (the trail can be a bit deserted, especially on a bitterly cold day).
I drove home, trying to only warm up enough to stave off hypothermia (for real). I tried not to get too warm and sweaty because I knew trying to go out would be so much worse if I did. I reached home and since my husband was on the way out the door with the 4 stinklets, I did not feel any guilt readying myself to hit the road. I used our facilities, and posted a bunch on Facebook about how I did not want to go back out there, but I would, by gum it (okay, I didn’t really say THAT, but I think it’s funny). And soon, I was ready to hit the road. I reset my Garmin, and donned my warm gear (which was now cold and wet from sweat….ugh), and headed out the door. Three false starts, and I was ready to go.
I took the path through my neighborhood that I take when it’s light outside. My neighborhood is pretty hilly, so I try desperately to time my walking intervals for the worst parts…I started out down our relatively well-maintained part of the road, and across the street, and up the other side of our road…oh my…lots of ice. I was already slower than normal because of the temperature, and now I had to watch for the slickness of the road, and on an pretty steep, hilly road. GREAT! But I soldiered on.
By almost 3 miles in, I ended up at the Junior High parking lot and track by the end of that loop (which is where I had planned after seeing the state of the roads). It was like a frozen tundra up there. Wow, ice packs about an inch thick. It was very hard to run, even on the relatively flat surface at the school. I decided to stay there anyway, until my watch said I had finished at least 5 miles. At some point, I decided I needed some energy, so I tried to take a drink. I was wearing my hydration belt with one bottle of water, and one of Powerade. They were both FROZEN SOLID. At the trail, they had been slushy, but now, I wasn’t getting anything from them at all. BUMMER. But I wasn’t up to 5 miles, so I had to keep going.
After 5 miles, I headed back out the way I had come. It’s sort of nice to reverse my big loop like this. The hills feel very different depending on which way I run them, so both ways are hard in different places. Finally, my watch said 7.5 miles, and by staying a little more than I needed at the track/school, I had to only conquer ONE MORE HILL…the one I call, “The Hill That Shall Not Be Run”. It’s one of my milestones to reach that I’ll be able to run the entire thing. But I’m not there yet. It’s almost a 200 foot elevation climb over the course of less than half a mile.
Finally, at the top, I ran all the way home (like the little piggy…wee wee wee…) for an 8.01 run (if I don’t make my watch say .01, sometimes it flicks back to .99, which can be very upsetting). Time spent running 14.2 miles…3:29.24
For more Pink Saturday fun, check out Beverly’s How Sweet the Sound. Her blog and many more with Pink Saturday.