Running in a Blizzard Never Felt So Good

Ok, so it wasn’t so much a blizzard as it was a typical snow storm; but it was still terrible outside. Saturday morning I went through my normal routine. I had known it was coming all week and I wasn’t happy about it, but after last weeks poor performance a little snow wasn’t going to stop me from trying to reclaim my dignity. So when the alarm went off at 6am Saturday morning, I woke up, stretched out, jumped into moms Volvo (safety first!) and drove to Wellesley for the team long run.

I’ve been doing long runs by myself for the past few weeks due to schedule issues. When last week went to complete crap, I emailed the coaches and they both agreed that running with a group may help me get over the mental hurdle I’d been facing. I completely agreed, but was really nervous that I would be the slow kid in the pack.

Yes, that’s a really dumb concern. I know. 11 miles is 11 miles, and it’s still way further than a lot of people can, or are willing to run. When I got to practice Jeff and Sarah reminded me that everyone always worries about being the slow kid, and while they were sure I wouldn’t be, even if I was, who cares? It was a snow storm. Fast kids weren’t happening that day anyways.

Once everyone arrived we had a great seminar on gels, blocks, bars and all other supplements that you can reach for during a run and what works best for what. The best part of the seminar? Samples. Now, I’ve always been a Vanilla Bean Gu girl. It’s what I’m used to, it tastes like frosting and it seems to work. But when that didn’t work for me last week I thought giving something new was worth a try. I grabbed two strawberry chomp blocks and ran out the door with the rest of the team.

The first two miles were what they have been lately. I felt OK, but a long way from great. It probably wasn’t helping that on the up-hills I would put my foot down, take a step and slide back a half a step because of the uncleared sidewalks and whole blizzard thing happening. Didn’t stop this guy from driving around in a Lamborgini though.

 

Safety first?

Around 1.5 Coach Sarah ran over and asked how I was doing. I told her I felt OK, but still a little off. She told me not to worry about it, just run at whatever felt comfortable to hold a conversation and we’d run together for a while. I was nervous I was slowing her down, but I agreed.

It was the best possible decision I could have made. Coach Sarah was so great to run next to for 5 miles, so easy going and encouraging the whole way. She talked about her past marathon (she did Chicago this year and agrees that one hill is a cruel way to end a race), how she got into coaching and funny running stories in general. Casually talking for the first few miles was a great way to take my mind off of the hills and not worry about the pace. After a particularly brutal hill I could feel my breathing getting a little wheezier than I was comfortable with, so I told Sarah to go run ahead and I’d see her at the end of the run. Once I started walking I grabbed my Nike+ (which I had had on mute) out of my pocket and that’s when I saw it…

I was averaging a 9:20 mile for 5 miles! What? I was shocked. I was confused. I was ecstatic! I’ve always been conservatively comfortable at a 10:00 pace, and thought going above that would be pushing it a little too far for a double digit run. Apparently not. The thought that I was pulling that pace in those conditions was a little mind boggling to me, but I’ll take it. From there it got a lot harder, but the water stops were pleasant breaks.

Who needs ice??

I kept trudging along and the snow was picking up, so the next 5 miles were not as smooth as the first. Negative split certainly didn’t happen, but honestly, I’m not concerned. I ran 11 miles. In a snowstorm. In a really respectable time. And I only fell once (pretty sure I pulled some muscle in my calf, but I was just happy no one saw).

Don't be intimidated by the sexiness.

I got back to the hall where we drop our stuff, stretched it out and talked to a few of the faster runners who were already back from their 13. They were all saying this 13 really counts as 18 because of the conditions. A few were saying they’ve never felt that strained during a run. Knowing that I had one of my better runs while these rockstars had one of their not so great runs was comforting to me. It reminded me that no matter how fast or how far you can normally go, you’re going to have your off days.

 

After I defrosted on the drive home I was perfectly OK with the idea of staying snowbound for the rest of the afternoon. Peanut butter toast, a banana and a cup of tea later, I got in a solid nap then watched a lot of Netflix that I’m not particularly proud of. I also spent a lot of time on Pinterest. I’m obsessed. It’s ok.

Sunday morning I was expecting to wake up sore because of the snowy hills. Hills do a number on my quads anyways, when you add a sheet of ice on top of them I figured they would be screaming to spend the day in bed. Surprise again. I woke up feeling fresh and ready to hit the gym for some cross training. 45 minutes on the elliptical, a lot of stretching and some weight training made for a solid morning at the gym. I even made it out before the last of the New Years crowd came in!

Other than that, the weekend was filled with a lot of family time and laundry. Life during marathon training is super exciting, I promise. As much as I miss my wine nights, staying up past 11 on Fridays and not waking up to run at 5am every morning, I feel healthier than I have felt in a long time.  The loose jeans don’t suck either. But those are about to ruined by this deliciousness that I found on my desk when I got here.

Breakfast of champions.

Tiramisu Brownies? Ali, I love you. My jeans hate you, my future case of diabetes certainly doesn’t think you’re awesome, but I love you. And that’s what matters.

 

Happy Monday everyone! xoxo

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