Saturday, March 7, 2015

Long Run, February 28th: PA Love

I can hardly think of a better way to say "good riddance" to February than by waking up super early and running 18 miles in fifteen degrees. Except for maybe a large, homemade brunch. Or sleeping in, and then doing a long run...or perhaps not running at all, maybe just playing with a cat instead. Actually as I write this, I am beginning to think of a rather large number of things that may be more desirable, so I'll just move on. I am sure that I wanted nothing to do with life when I woke up at an unmentionable hour to drag my sorry behind to Kenmore Square. I was, however, quite excited that my mom and Daniel would be joining the fun by handing out gatorade along the course. My mom and dad were in town for the weekend, and although my dad was busy at the IOCDF board meeting on Saturday morning, mom and Daniel agreed to be my support team.

It was awesome seeing my mom at Joint Ventures right at 7:30, and I started the run with more energy than usual. It was brilliantly sunny, but quite cold, and poor conditions around the reservoir and near Newton were forcing us to modify our usual route and instead do a simple out-and-back on Beacon Street and Comm Ave. I knew that my two cheerleaders would be waiting at the turnaround at mile 9, so I ran only the first mile or two slow with some Samaritans runners and then did my best to hurry down Beacon and get to Commonwealth Avenue quickly. It felt a bit odd heading the wrong way up Chestnut Hill Ave, and I realized that the backside of Heartbreak is actually possibly more difficult than the front.

Interestingly, Comm Ave all the way to the Newton firehouse was more of a spectacle than usual, with swarms of runners dressed like superheros and somewhat inexplicably like various fruits. The mood was contagious, however, and I found myself smiling at the ridiculous costumes. I was also aware that, for the first time, I was now "that person" coming down Heartbreak instead of going up. Generally, when one is panting their way up a hill, seeing other people cruising down the opposite way all effortlessly makes the sweat taste a bit more salty. I have often resisted the urge to yell at them for going the wrong way. You're supposed to go UP Heartbreak hill, durrr.

The density of superheros and other costumed runners increased as I approached the firehouse at the intersection with Washington Street, where I was enormously pumped to find Boston's legendary Keytar Bear playing on the side of Comm Ave at a gatorade table. His keytar beats are actually so fresh that I sometimes can't even handle it. I've never seen him outside of the T or Faneuil Hall area, so that really rocked my world for a second. In case you've never heard about this guy, read his interview for Boston Magazine here. It's pretty hilarious. My favorite part..."The costume is a little dirty. Do you think it's horrifying?" "I think it's horrifying." Also the way he hates on obnoxious school children.

Never have I continued beyond the Newton firehouse, but it was like entering the doldrums from the Phantom Tollbooth. The superheros and music disappeared, the carriage road got way more icy, and I swear even the snow got dirtier. Only our training program was going out another mile before turning around, so there were just few runners in general. But soon I could see Ma and Daniel at the turnaround, and it was nice to catch a break for a few minutes. I felt good though.  Heading back, I positioned myself with two other girls from the program who were holding 8:20 - 8:30, which is just about where I wanted myself. The run back was somewhat uneventful, to be honest. I held pace, got to see my cheering squad once more at the BC Wall, and then picked up some speed for the final 3 miles down Beacon Street to finish in about two hours and 40 minutes, including all the stops. I am sure that consuming three hyper-sugary gels along the way helped the process, but overall I was in high spirits. Good riddance, February. On to my least favorite month of all, March.

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