Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Long Run, January 31st: That Time of January

I don't often find myself honestly dreading a long run, even though they can be a bit daunting at times; usually I find myself ready for the big push. But when I looked out my window at 6:45 a.m. on Saturday, I watched the branches on the sturdy maple tree outside my window whip from side to side while fresh snow swirled down with some apprehension. I knew it was only 10 or 11 degrees out, and I truly felt little afraid. I've done colder runs, but they weren't quite sixteen miles, nor were the conditions quite so fun. I piled on the layers per my formula, resisting the urge to put on everything I owned. Hypothermia is no joke, but overheating is also pretty harsh.

My first step onto the sidewalk from my porch sent my foot flying out from under me, and although I did manage to not fall (thank God, because when I go down it's like a redwood being felled), but it didn't spell such great things to come. Daniel was being hugely supportive by driving me down to Kenmore Square and planned to take the T to Newton to then join me for part of the second half of the run, although at first it seemed that we might not even make it out of the parking space. We did, and 30 minutes later I was beginning my trot down familiar old Beacon Street.

The first three miles to Cleveland Circle were really just not great, I have to say. Like to the point where I began to have giant looming doubts about my finishing the run. The snow from Tuesday's blizzard had been packed down by pedestrians and was now being dusted with fresh powder, and resulting surface was sort of like someone cut a bunch of potatoes in half, glued them down to the sidewalk, and then poured soap over the entire surface. The amount of energy spent merely trying to propel myself forward without twisting an ankle was unwelcome, and when John Furey asked how I was doing when I reached the reservoir, I didn't have much good to say. He said that we should expect to be a minute or two per mile behind pace in such conditions, so I tried to convince myself that three minutes was also valid. The amount of wind coming off the reservoir as I approached BC was absolutely insane.

Daniel was waiting for me at the Starbucks in Newton, and I must have looked pretty worked when I came in the door based on the look of pity he gave me. I had to pee so bad because of the cold, so I ended up lingering for some minutes. We abandoned the sidewalks in favor of the roads to make our way out to the turnaround point (Chestnut Street), and thankfully the carriage road on Comm Ave was cleared for the way back. We stopped for a picture with Heartbreak Bill before Heartbreak Hill, and then continued up and over to BC. It seemed as though we might be on the home stretch, but then the situation started to degrade at Cleveland Circle. One, Daniel's IT band began to give him issues, to the point where he wasn't sure he should continue. Second, it came to my attention that I was having some sudden and serious "lady issues" that could not go unaddressed for an additional 4 miles. I honestly considered not mentioning any of this in my blog post, given people's squeamishness when it comes to discussing "that time of the month" (I'm going to see how many euphemisms I can use here), but the fact is that unsolicited visits from "Aunt Flo" are a real thing that us distance ladies have to navigate when doing runs that last several hours. Luckily I don't think any of my students read this blog, otherwise...well, health class just came early (ew, do you remember how horrible that was?).  But to make a long story short, the severity of the circumstances required a very long pit stop at the Cleveland Circle CVS to buy "sanitary items" as I attempted to salvage the situation. I believe the medical term for this particular case of the "monthlies" would be something like 'explosion.' Good God, all I have to say is that I am glad I was wearing black pants.

Anyways, with all the long breaks along the way, it hardly felt like a true 16 mile run, but I did honestly do the full thing in one way or another. To round out the distance, I continued through Kenmore Square to Hereford Street, and then looped back to Joint Ventures. While waiting at an intersection near the Mass Ave bridge, I could see the air over the river was thick white with whipped up snow, and the wind shooting down Mass Ave almost pushed me over. Yeah, we're having a bit of weather up here in New England these days, but I suppose it makes us all the more badass.


  1. Good job on getting out there for your run! It takes me a big of courage to get out there and do my long runs outside, and the other 4 days of running are spent on my treadmill... because, it's just so convenient and cozy! Wind is definitely not my friend, and I have opted not to run outside because of that. At least it's good that you have a store to stop at because of your "situation"... I run on trails and paths that have no buildings (other than a few houses in the distance) around. But then again, I guess it wouldn't have mattered because I never see anyone out there! :)
    Keep up the great training.... see you in Boston!

    1. I am sure I would also rely on a treadmill, if I had one!! But being short on income these days, the street is the only gym I have, which pretty much forces me out in most weather. Hope your training is going well and I'll see you on April 20th!!