Hi all.......just got back from my weekly long run and it was a GOOD one! At about 7:15, I met up with the other members of my charity team (Team Running For Cover - representing the Melanoma Foundation of New England) at the Station 5 Grill in Natick. It was hard to leave the homey dining area (the whole place smelled like warm apple pie.....trust me, it was HARD to leave!), but at about 7:30, we got into several cars and drove west to Hopkinton, the starting point for the Boston Marathon. After overcoming the initial shock of getting out of warm cars and having to acclimate to the chill (about 25 degrees with a fairly stiff breeze blowing west to east (more on that later!)), we gathered for a team picture, turned on our Garmin's, took a deep breath, and set off on the adventure.
As advertised, the first few miles of the Boston Marathon are downhill.....in some cases, pretty sharply downhill (particularly in the very first mile!), so I can understand why everyone warns you to take it easy at first. I can only imagine that the adrenaline surge on race day would make one feel invincible and lead you to fly through the first miles, but I know how hard that will make the last few miles, so you really do have to try to keep to a reasonable pace. Of course, as a "Clydesdale", I always try to maximize downhills to make up for time I lose any time the road turns upwards, so I filed the intel away to be pulled out again in April.
It was chilly out, but after a mile or two, I was fully warmed up and really didn't notice the cold at all. I was rockin' some new gloves (Manzella Hatchbacks - sort of a combo glove/mitten...ok, call it a "glitten") and also a handheld bottle (Amphipod Hydraform Lite - 12oz) which has a little pouch on the handle which perfectly held my car key and 2 GU's (for those who need to know - Espresso Love and Chocolate Mint.....what can I say, I like a variety!). The bottle worked great and the glittens kept my hands warm once I was warmed up.
Also, after about a mile, I was already essentially by myself. It's not a bad thing, in fact, I'm very much used to it. I tend to do all of my training alone, so this isn't much different. I probably could have pushed the pace a bit more and tried to stay with the others, but at the end of the day, one of my running mantras is "Run Your Race".....I have to stay focused on what works for me, putting ego and ambition aside and just focus on what needs to be done that day. After having gotten hurt the last time I trained for a marathon, I really want to avoid that this time, particularly as I'm 2 years older than last time, and also because I'm training to run BOSTON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So when everyone pulled away in the distance, I just kept plodding along at my own pace, lost in the beauty of a cold day and enjoying having the opportunity to build my base mileage on the same track I'll be running in April.
The miles slowly trickled by.......3........5........7..........as I passed from Hopkinton.....through Ashland.....then the 'Ham (Framingham)....and finally Natick. Ran into and through Natick Center and then turned about to head back to the Station 5 Grill.....and that's when it hit me.
The tailwind that had been subtly pushing me along through the initial 10.5 miles was now smacking me right in the face....I was already tiring a bit, so it was a rude adjustment. The key thing is that I made the adjustment and soldiered on towards the finish. Maybe it's knowing that you're close to being back in your warm car, on your way back home, that pulls you through the tough miles, but either way, before I knew it, I was turning into the parking lot, saying goodbye to my friends, and heading back home. All in all, it was a great day, a terrific run, and I feel so good for having done it. After the minor disaster I had last weekend with my long run, it feels great to have successfully completed my scheduled long run for Week 5.
Finally, another appeal for my fundraising. I'm currently in training to run the 2012 Boston Marathon on behalf of the Melanoma Foundation of New England, an extremely worthy charity. Thanks to the generosity of friends and family, I'm already 2/3 of the way to my $4000 fundraising commitment, but could still use your help. If you or anyone you know has been impacted by melanoma, please click on the link below, read my page, and give generously. Also, please feel free to forward the link to anyone you think might find it useful. I thank you in advance for your attention and your generosity.