This morning’s 9 mile run had me a little nervous. I haven’t run 9 miles in forever so I wasn’t sure how this was going to feel. Actually, I knew how it was going to feel- rough. But my main concern was that the weather channel called for low 20’s temperatures and light wind. There are just some days when you don’t want battle with two big things before the sun comes up. This was one of those days….
I stepped outside into the frigid air this morning at 6:25 and almost instantly gave myself an out. Ok, let’s call it a plan B; I told myself that even if I only made it through 4 or 5 miles, I could do the others on a treadmill at some other point during the weekend. No big deal.
As I sat in my warm van in our typical meeting spot, the community college parking lot, I reviewed my plan B and how I would gracefully bail midway through the run. But then, one by one, all of my friends’ cars started showing up. I could see that they too were reluctant to get out of their warmth. One by one we took the plunge into the cold winter air. Gathered together, we prepared for the task at hand and tossed around an idea of shortening the run. I was secretly very excited and made sure to contain it. Then, like a boss, Mama T said “If I got up, I’m doing 9 miles.” Oooookay, then. Here we go.
We had three groups running again, everyone was operating on the buddy system as we made our way through the urban jungle. I love how we have 3 different pace groups on any given run- there’s something for everyone! Like last week, we had 9:30 min/mile pacers, 10:00-10:30 min/mile pacers, and a 12-13 min/mile pacers.
We got off to a great start and everyone was in good spirits. It’s always an adventure heading out in the dark. Then we accidentally wound up near some unsavory parts of town, but no worries, anyone who was outside in the freezing dark at 7am (or at any point this morning really) was looking at us like we were the crazy ones, a gaggle of loons running around with backpacks and having a good time. Ha! We saw some really great things along the way. Mamas C and G even turned their run into a scavenger hunt. They found wrong ways and limitless passion… good for them!
Our 9:30 duo finished and our back of the packers (AKA – the Fab4 – The group I was in) were nearing 7 miles. The temperature had clearly dropped even further and it was starting to snow. Anytime we slowed to walk or to fuel the sweat on my head would start to freeze and the experience became exhaustingly cold. Mama T’s water bottle leaked and froze her left leg. She found a chunk of ice in her pocket, which was funny at the time, but when I think about it now it seems so dangerous. I should probably text her now to make sure she isn’t frostbitten.
We continued on and by “mind warp mile 8” I was starting to break down and I wanted to be done. Luckily, I have very encouraging sole sisters that drag me through those ugly moments. When we finally saw the cars I was so relieved and so excited that we made it through the entire run. We could check the box – DONE! Nothing felt better than knowing tomorrow we could wake up and not have to run.
Luckily we have a break next weekend and only have to do 6 miles for our long run….but then we jump right back into the climb with 10 and 12 the following weeks! I know it’s not that much further than what we did today but it seems so daunting at this moment as I’m thinking about how my shins and right IT band are bothering me. The great thing is, I know we’ll do it and it’ll be another wonderfully fun and tough adventure that we’ll have completed together. Knowing we have so many more memories to make will get me out of bed on the next freezing cold morning in the dead of winter. I haven’t regretted showing up yet!