Long run song of the day:
So today's long run was...epic. And awesome. And hands down the best long run of my life - I am not joking. What the hell is it about the combination of pouring rain, gusting wind, and general nastiness that turns me into some kind of run-dominating beast? I spent most of yesterday and this morning debating whether I even should set out for 22 miles in the craptastic weather - I seriously don't think I've ever been so unhappy about the prospect of going for a long run in my life. 22 miles just seemed so. long [okay well...it is...but yeah] and throwing the weather on top of that didn't help. But since this was really a KEY workout I had planned in my training schedule - 22 miles on the actual marathon course - I knew I had to just suck it up buttercup and get out there.
So I did - and I think once I realized that it wasn't as bad as I had made it out to be, I knew everything was going to be okay. I wasn't planning on really worrying about the pace, so I just fell into something that felt comfortable and easy and got into the groove. You know those days when things just fall into place and you find that sweet spot of pace where you feel like you could literally keep running forever? That was me today. Running on the course, as always, was a great plan because while there weren't a ton of runners out there, it seemed like everyone who was was a) wearing some kind of neon jacket or shirt that made them like a beacon of light in the endless gray of the rain and b) was equally happy to see a fellow runner partaking in this madness and would give a wave, hi, or at least a smile. Seriously, every runner I saw gave me an extra shot of energy - knowing I'm not alone, and that we're all out there for a reason, is such a boost.
It actually took me kind of awhile to notice that I was cold or wet. I think I had on enough layers that the gradual soaking-through process took about an hour haha. I stopped at the Marathon Sports on the course in Wellesley to grab a Gu and some water - perfect timing because I was getting really hungry and had the feeling I was on my way to being pretty dehydrated as well. Tried the new flavor of Gu - Jet Blackberry - it pretty much tasted the same as the Tri Berry, but I think it has more caffeine...anyway, after a few minutes in the store coming back into the deluge kind of sucked, and that was the first time I noticed the cold. And then I just kept trucking through Wellesley. There seemed to be a lot of hills [I really wouldn't notice that as much on the way back, maybe because anything that was uphill running the course backwards would be downhill going the right way]. I got nerdily excited when I saw the 14 mile/water mark with the BAA unicorn on the road, waved gleefully at a fellow runner on the opposite side of the street, and had to kind of laugh at the random empty Gu packets strewn around randomly on the sidewalk. [Definitely don't advocate littering...but it was just kind of funny...like, gee, do you think a lot of marathoners run out here or something?]. Generally I just continued to enjoy myself, finally reaching my turnaround point at Bacon Street [which...I seriously picked because I thought I would want some bacon at that point in the run. I really don't know what's going on in my head sometimes haha]
So I started the long trek back towards Boston, and honestly I kept waiting for my legs to do their usual seizing up/dying act that they always seem to do at the end of long runs, or for it to start feeling hard, or something...none of those feelings ever came. It just simply felt easy. Seriously, I don't know if there's magical fairy dust scattered all over the course or what, but every time I've run out there over this training cycle, it's been an incredible, effortless run...fingers crossed that the magic still works when I have to share it with 25,000 other runners. :) Also, my thought on this new part of the course that I hadn't seen before: really, not that many bad hills. It's funny because at first I thought "yes, well, you'll be running this at mile 12-20 of a marathon"...but then I realized that this section of the course was at mile 12-20 of my long run too...which was obviously the point haha. I guess the impression I get is that the course is never REALLY flat...but that you also spend more time running downhill than you do running up...and yes, that is the definition of a net downhill course, which Boston is, so sorry for stating the obvious haha. The one hill for me that was sort of a beeyotch, actually moreso than Heartbreak, was the one that comes right after the turn onto Comm Ave, at around the 18 mile mark. It's sort of a long hill that seems to drag, and I think since you've just had a big downhill it's kind of like...aww...a hill? Wah wah. But then there's like a mile of basically downhill before you have to deal with Heartbreak...I don't know, maybe it was just because my run went SO well on the course today, but I was left feeling a lot more confident about running a good race on this course than I was before.
You'll notice that I've only mentioned the crazy-ass weather once in this epic description of this run so far...really, I didn't pay much attention to it, and what thoughts I did give to it were basically along the lines of "this is so effing awesome. I am kicking so much ass right now. If the marathon was today, I would probably run a PR. I am so freaking glad I didn't skip this run. I love the rain". So the "song of the day" came on my ipod just as I had crested Heartbreak, and was headed onto the GIANT downhill through BC. Everytime I run that downhill, I want to put my arms up and yell like a little kid on a rollercoaster haha...it's like..I MADE IT! Combine that with The Who screaming about rain and the fact that there are less than 2 miles to go of a 23 mile run, and you have yourself a pretty amazing moment. I was also pretty impressed at how the run absolutely FLEW by...normally I get so sick of running by about 2:15 into a long run that the last 30-45 minutes are just a death march...but this time, probably since I was feeling good, it was totally no big deal.
Probably the funniest moment of the run actually happened after I finished. I finally made it back to my door, thrilled to be done, thrilled at how I was feeling, basically just on this massive runner's high...oh yeah, and also completely drenched and dripping a puddle into the foyer of my apartment building. My hands were COMPLETELY frozen, so I struggled for like 5 minutes to get my key out of my pocket...then struggled to actually get it in the door...and THEN once I got it in the door, I couldn't grip my hands enough to turn it...FAIL! I was just attempting to use the two-handed grip approach and looking like a giant idiot when a neighbor came in behind me and was like...uh...are you okay? [he probably thought I was trying to break into the place or something!] Just then I got the door open and let him in, and I was like oh, yeah, I'm fine, I just ran 22 miles though and so my hands are really cold, I couldn't get the key to turn. The guy was like oh...and then was like..wait...you ran 22 miles...TODAY? You have issues... Kind of reminds me of my boss who commented yesterday that "looks like you won't be getting any miles in this weekend". I'm pretty confident that 99% of the population [my mom, grandma, and boyfriend included!] think that what I did today was borderline insane...but seriously, having that great of a run in this disgusting of weather gave me such a HUGE mental boost - like whatever raceday throws at me, I'll be able to get through it. Maybe more importantly, it gave me the confidence that my training is actually working - that the higher miles and workouts and things I've been doing that I've bitched and moaned about really HAVE made me stronger, much stronger, than I was going into Baystate. Being able to hit 8:15 pace [haha, guess I didn't mention that I was actually running kind of fast for a LR...] for that long of a run without going downhill into my usual "run for a few minutes...legs tighten up...stop....stretch...start again" act that I usually wind up doing for the last 5 miles or so of any long run, was a total eye opener to me. And it was my longest run EVER...coming in at 22.9 miles [and yes, I kind of wish I had run around the block to get in that extra .1 mile, especially since I was feeling so good. Oh well!]
Sooo I will stop boring you all now with my epic account of my long run haha...I'm just really pumped about it and I feel like it's been so long since I had a run where I just wanted to run around shouting from the mountaintops about how awesome it was, that I had to let myself get a little excited about this. :) Running on the course was a great idea and one I'm going to continue to incorporate for the next few weeks...and probably for the rest of the time that I live near it too, since like I said, I think it might be magic. :)
Well, now I am comfy and warm [well, as warm as is possible in my apartment, where we don't pay for heat but the heat is also almost never on...], the rain is still blasting outside, and I enjoyed a delicious plate of pesto pasta, a Magic Hat #9, and some Ben & Jerry's as a post-epic-run treat. I actually have a lot of random things bouncing around in my head to post about, more musings than actual day-to-day running stuff....but I think this post is long enough, so maybe I'll just actually post more than once this week!
Oh...and it's a little late...but happy pi day! :P Thanks MarathonMaiden for reminding me :)