Sunday, December 15, 2013

Long Run, December 14th: First team run!

So yesterday was my first day training with a program that many of us on the team have signed up for. Led by a coach named John Furey, it involves Tuesday evening hill workouts on the Common and Saturday long runs leaving from Kenmore Square, from now until the marathon. The program is tailored for marathon charity runners, so we get to meet many folks who are fundraising for other non-profits. While all of this sounds really cool, the downside is that we had to meet downtown at 7:30am. Now...I usually run at 7:15am during the week, so you would think that 7:30 would fit into my schedule quite nicely. BUT, Saturdays are my sacred sleep-in day, so when my alarm went off at 6:40 that morning, I can't say I was feeling super jazzed about how my day was starting. These feelings were compounded when I looked at the weather and saw that it was 12 degrees out, plus a bunch of wind. I have run in colder, but in general this whole scenario was becoming a bit offensive. Still, gotta tough it out.

I ran over to my teammate Nicole's house, who lives just two streets down, and was met with another runner (also named Nicole) who drove us both to Kenmore, saving me from having to a) take the bus and inevitably be late, or b) run there and add a good 2 miles to the training run. Very awesome arrangement. I had avoided bringing any extra layers (I have it down to a science, which running clothes to wear in given temps), just my Brooks leggings and then on top my thick Underarmour  under my magenta Brooks long sleeved half-zip, which is pretty thin. I run hot, so I have to remember to keep the layers to a minimum, but it can be tough to convince myself to go outside like that initially. I think the secret was keeping my head warm, with a fleece headband under my fleece Samaritans hat, which unfortunately makes me look like a huge dingus. Still, effective. The downside to all this methodology was that, while standing around outside and parking the car, I was absolutely freezing.

We scurried across Comm Ave to Joint Ventures, our meeting point. The upstairs is pretty great--a big weight room with foam rollers and such, and a good 50 runners warming up. John Furey laid down the game plan; out to Cleveland Circle and back, or a bit further to the reservoir if you wanted to make it 8 miles instead of 6 (I am not a huge fan of out-and-back runs, and hope we'll do some loops in the future). He seems knowledgeable. Given how I say his name in my head, I wonder if he could legally change his last name to be all caps, maybe even with several exclamation points at the end. And maybe while we're at it, just drop the E so that there is no room for confusion. Anyways, by 8:00 we took off in a hoard down Beacon Street with John FURY!!! scooting off to set up a water table at mile 2.

Since runners automatically separate based on pace, I was able to find people who matched my speed. There were some frontrunner dudes who I was with for a while, but eventually I found myself matched with a woman who introduced herself as Katherine. She lives in Brookline with her 3 children and husband who does work in the renewable energy field. Katherine is running for Boston Medical Center, where she also works. We had good conversation as we made our way to Cleveland Circle (thankfully she knows the area well), and we elected to continue around part of the reservoir and then to the top of a big hill next to Boston College before turning around. She was great company, and very good at estimating pace (she thought we were doing maybe 7:40). She's done the New York marathon, but never Boston. As we were passing the Temple Beth Zion, we happened to run into her Rabbi going up the steps. It seems like a very open-minded, caring community to be part of. It is great to have a running buddy.

When we got back, my legs and butt were so surface-cold that I could barely feel them. I kind of expected to look in the mirror and see that half my face had turned black and was about to fall off, à la Beck Weathers after the 1996 Everest disaster. Indeed my bad finger had taken a bit of a beating in the cold with all its poor circulation, but no permanent damage had been sustained. Although while stretching I kept noticing water dripping off some part of my body but couldn't for the life of me figure out where it was coming from. It turned out there was a massive chunk of ice frozen into the base of my ponytail, where I guess all my sweat had been accumulating.

I have to say, it was overall a very good experience. Not to mention coming home and it was not even yet 10am...I hardly knew what to do with myself (actually I went to Harvard Square to Christmas shop, just as the snow began to fall....ahhh). Unfortunately I will miss the next two Saturday runs, since I will be home for Christmas, but I will definitely continue them in the new year.

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