Friday, January 23, 2015

Long Run, January 17th: The Road to Brunch

It has been a while since I attempted a run as long as 14 miles without the support of teammates and water stops and swedish fish along the way. I may have topped 14 once during my pre-marathon days up in Boston, but I have since been spoiled by all the comforts that a training program offers. The situation arose because I decided to go home for the long weekend, mainly because I wanted to see the kitten and because I have a boyfriend who is somehow willing to trek down the East Coast with me just to play with a cat. Because of all this, I was challenged with two things: running 14 miles on my own down in Cheyney, and figuring out a route that wouldn't murder me with hills. Turns out that the latter is not possible, but the first issue was partially resolved by Daniel's willingness to run the final 6.5 miles with me. I figured out a route that would bring me back by the house halfway through to pick him up, and hoped that only one water break would be enough. I do have a little hydration belt that my teammate Michelle gave me last year, but I was hesitant to try it for the first time during such a long run. Maybe it chafes, who knows.

The intention was to get an early start so that the post-run breakfast wouldn't end up being mid-afternoon, but I was waylaid by cute kitties needing attention. The first part of my route took through the Squire Cheyney farm, which has been sprouting McMansions for the past several years. The upside of this decimation of historic Chester County is the new bike path that runs through the farm, so I took that up to Pete's fields at Westtown and ran the farm loop which I found less icy than it had been earlier in the week. From there I hopped into the Robin Drive cluster of developments. There is a deceitful nature to the hills in this older neighborhood, as they all sort of swoop and curve up out of sight so that you often think you're at the top when you really aren't, and then you'll have a brief downhill only to be followed by a bigger hill up. I found myself feeling quite tired by the time I finished the slow 2-mile climb to the top.

I had included a somewhat mundane loop through another development as I made my way home (just to add distance), and I slowly ate a gross chocolate-raspberry flavored GU as I ran it. These tend to take a mile or two to kick in, and I desperately hoped it would work by the time I made it home. I had saved the hillier part for the second half (unfortunately for Daniel), and I needed a boost. When I did get home, I took a few minutes to drink water and then finally ate a Cliff Mocha gel that I had actually bought to eat during the marathon last year. It has extra caffeine, and it was just the kick I needed as the two of us headed down into the Creek Bed for the final 6.5 miles. I have to admit, it was with slightly sadistic intentions that I included two of my worst hills to include, mostly just to throw in some extra Cheyney flavor for Daniel to remember the trip by. With by body practically shaking from sugar and caffeine, I actually didn't suffer as much as I had 8 miles ago. If anything, the downhills were more of a pain; I haven't replaced my running shoes since September, and the outer edges of the soles are almost completely worn away. I could get into the many issues I have with how running shoe brands keep changing up their designs for the same shoe, forcing me to search ebay for former models that wont destroy my feet (anybody else abandon Asics forever after the awful GT-2000?). On the final stretch home we ran into two of my donors, our neighbors Phil and Marilee, so that was a pleasant surprise. After that, off to West Chester once more for brunch at the Classic Diner. I have to admit that eating a ginormous brunch after big runs has started to become just about my favorite thing. I honestly feel like one of those dogs that you can get to do just about anything because it's so food-motivated.

I realize that I didn't include any updates on the 10 mile Riverside Run that I did with the Furey program the previous weekend, but there isn't much to say. What is far more exciting is that my fundraising has shot up to $7,200, thanks to many generous supporters and an amazing donation from the Shipley School. I can't say if I will make $13,402, but I will certainly try! Snow is on its way to Boston and should make tomorrow a mess, so on this Friday afternoon I will leave in about an hour to do my 10 miler out to Brandeis to meet Daniel. A big thank you to everyone who has helped me out thus far!

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