Something about waking up and it not being February anymore put me in decent spirits on Saturday morning. February is the worst month anyway, but this particular one has been a struggle, needless to say. Not helped by my own inability to get my brain back online since the fire so I can succeed at doing simple things. Like going to Market Basket without losing my wallet, or park my roommate's car in one of the many spots where it wont get ticketed and towed, or properly remove those "damage-less" Command strips from my immaculate new walls without taking a chunk of paint and drywall with it. Yes, I moved into a new apartment last weekend with two of my roommates, just on the other side on Inman Square; moving is the least fun, but I have a home again. And as long as I manage to not sabotage the deal with my half-functioning brain, I should be here through August.
So on Saturday morning I was ready to finally take a stab at 18. Despite the fact that it was finally March and the sun was shining at 6:45 am, weather.com informed me that it was 13 degrees out. And to make things more complicated, was predicted to warm up to the high 20s by 11:00am. I have previously talked about my clothing formula and how I know what to wear for certain temps, but spanning a 15 degree differential is not something that I am equipped for. So I decided to dress for the cold and suffer later, and then walked to Nicole's and we headed downtown with Nicole #2. We rolled into Joint Ventures only a minute or two before the run began, and while stuffing a gel into my little pocket and quickly getting Nan's iPod ready, I scanned the crowd for one of my previous running buddies. I knew Katy was in New Orleans and Katherine was nowhere to be seen, but once outside I ran into Morgan from BMC, who was about to head off with 4 other runners and graciously invited me along. We began by heading in the opposite direction to tag Mass Ave before running back through Kenmore and down Beacon (I guess without doing that, the planned course would only be 17.4, and nobody wants that).
The long trek out past Newton has become very familiar, but new company brought new conversation, including Morgan's story about an unexpectedly rough Thai massage. It felt good to laugh. As we circumvented the BC reservoir, we came up behind a pretty large guy who was trotting along and chatting with several people, who ended up being Tedy Bruschi. I don't often find myself in a situation where I feel physically on par with a former NFL player, and it was a rather nice feeling. Once through Newton and past Chestnut street, we were finally in new territory as we entered Waban. Waban is where Carolyn would sometimes pick me up from the T back in August and September of 2012, when I was trying to find work up in Boston but by the end of the summer was still jobless and then also homeless. Hence me living for some time at her parent's place in Natick, which was so nice of them. I thought about that as I passed through the village.
When we hit Washington Street, we were back on our usual Riverside Run course. For the record, I did do the 10-miler last Saturday right before I moved, but I was too busy to write about it. Although it is worth mentioning that I ran with Katy, who has FINALLY received the bib she deserves! Which means all of our alternates are now able to run, and I am so pumped for her. Anyways, Washington Street was out of control as usual with tons of cars and crappy sidewalks, although we did see Batwoman and Superman. By the time we turned onto Commonwealth Avenue, the sun was facing us and as the hills rose up under our feet, I was starting to get hot. When we hit our water stop, I decided to just go for it and strip my Underarmour layer. Which I knew meant taking my shirt fully off, but I thought that if I just got behind the car and did it quickly, it was all good. It would have gone better if I hadn't gotten both layers tangled around my neck after trying to sneakily remove the Underarmour without taking the top layer fully off, and then gotten stuck trying to put my damp outer layer back on, and if Captain America hadn't been coming down the hill to see the whole thing.
When we got to Heartbreak, we all popped in our music to get in the zone for the hill. I had just eaten a GU that had extra caffeine, so I was feeling pretty amped. I was making good time when suddenly I came upon a guy hunched over the side of the hill, puking aggressively into the snowbank. Everyone was just running past him like we were in one of those hardcore "every man for himself" situations, as if Heartbreak Hill had suddenly become the freaking death zone on Mount Everest or something. So I stopped and asked if he was OK, and he just managed a weak "no" and I realized that he was clearly just a high schooler. A junior named Calvin, I learned once he straightened up a few minutes later, whose teammates had all left him behind. Morgan and the others passed by, but I felt bad leaving this kid all by himself, especially after he confessed that he really needed to run with someone. So we finished the hill slowly together and then headed down to Cleveland Circle, and he explained that about 100 students from his high school were training to run the Providence Marathon in May, which totally impressed me. I think in high school I could run about 3 miles. I told him about Samaritans and Nathaniel, and he opened up about a friend that he just lost to suicide. He mostly seemed too exhausted to speak, so I talked about struggling to find my passion and the fruitless job hunt and the recent fire, but then realized I was starting to freak him out about becoming an adult so I hastily switched it up and asked him about what he was interested in. Turns out that he is all about computer programming and hopes to go to MIT. About two miles from Kenmore, he had to take a turn to reach his destination, which was about a mile away. I felt really awful leaving him half-collapsed on a hedge, but I figured he could always just walk the rest of the way. Guess that's what happens when you start a 14-mile run at a low-7s pace.
I appreciated doing the last couple miles on my own, able to pick up the pace (I had to pee soooo bad!!) and listen to fun songs. No chafing this time, thanks to a liberal amount of Body Glide, and no wall. Guess I'll have to wait for 21 miles for that. And besides my ankle tendonitis being more present than usual (I've had to ditch the Mizunos and go back to the Adrenalines), everything went fine. We're getting close to the peak, and on top of it I only need $304 more dollars before I hit my goal. Let's hope that it's all a good sign that March will be better.