Sunday, March 11, 2012

Weekend Warrior

On Friday night, I went to bed at an embarrassingly early hour, excited to get a good night's rest and then head into the city for a reasonably long, reasonably hard run with Emily. I woke up at 6:30 on Saturday morning to this:

Beautiful, yes. Motivating, not so much.

In an instant all my aspirations vanished, and I could think of nothing more enticing than the prospect of brewing a hot cup of coffee, retreating back under my warm covers and spending the morning tucked into a good book. Instead, I got dressed and hit the road in the hopes that the deluge of snowflakes would subside by the time I reached our meeting point at the Harvard track.Sure enough, I arrived to chilly air and a blustery wind but only a few flurries. Along with Emily I was greeted by Jenn Donovan, a New Balance Boston runner training for the 10k, and Elle Pishny, a Duke alum and fellow Trials qualifier who's preparing for Boston next month. We set off down Comm Ave. in the direction of Heartbreak Hill with only vaguest plan for how the run would unfold. The first 10 miles passed effortlessly as we chatted, passing scores of other runners all logging miles on the Newton hills in preparation for next month's race. At some point we turned around and returned the way we came so we could drop Jenn off at her house, leaving Emily, Elle and I only a few miles from where we'd started but desiring at least another hour on our feet. At that point Emily and I agreed to commit to 20 miles, since that's what Elle's long run schedule dictated. I was feeling great and still harbored intentions of picking up the pace, but I only had a general idea of where I was geographically and besides, what's the fun in running hard by yourself when you can click off the miles while enjoying good company and conversation?

Instead of attempting a full-fledged workout, we all compromised by subtly picking up the pace for the final 45 minutes--or, should I say, what I thought was the final 45 minutes. We rejoined the Charles River path around the 2:15 mark, and just as I was about to congratulate myself for finishing off a strong 20 miler, I heard Emily's far too chipper voice saying, "We've only got another two and a half miles from here!" Uhhh, excuse me? Did you say two and a half minutes or miles? And thus I proceeded to complete pretty much my longest run ever, excluding marathons. (I was mildly worried that Coach JSK would be angry at me for overdoing it, but I quickly dismissed the thought after realizing that he would have (and has, in fact) done the exact same thing in my situation.) Of course we still finished hard and of course Emily still dropped me toward the end, but all in all the three of us were very pleased with our efforts. As a reward (not that we wouldn't have an
yway), Emily and I treated ourselves to a delicious brunch at Sofra as we made plans for a repeat outing Sunday.

Oh, and as for the snow, had I not seen it with my own eyes a mere six hours earlier I wouldn't believe it ever happened.

Nothing but waves and blue skies when I returned home in the afternoon.

Less than 24 hours later and only slightly groggy from springing forward we were back at it. I was excited about this run because 1) Jordan was finally back in town and healthy enough to join; 2) we were taking a field trip to a new (for me) venue--and soft surface!--called Battle Road in historic Lexington; and 3) the pace was advertised to be relaxed and slow. The group consisted of Jordan and myself, Emily, Carly (the cutest and fittest pregnant lady I know), Brett (my new friend from the Trials) and her husband Matt, and another BAA runner named Katie. As promised, the trails were terrific and the pace was nice and easy, and before I knew it over 14 miles had elapsed. I wasn't exactly planning on a 37+ mile weekend, but with great company and several new venues I certainly wasn't complaining. I'll be out of town the next few weekends for work, but I'm already excited about rejoining these ladies again soon.