Well, winter - in my opinion - has officially hit Chicago! This morning was brutal. While walking from my house to the Lake, I felt as if I was walking in a wind tunnel. It was like walking in place. But, for some odd reason. The wind settled down near the Lake for the start of the run. El and I met at our normal 6am time. I layered up this time: sports bra, running tank, long sleeved under armour shirt and running jacket. I also broke out my new Lululemon full length running pants. So today was the testing phase of what will work to run in this winter as I train for the Half Marathon.
We started out with the wind at our side. Just lovely. Thankfully we got into our usual running/chatting rhythm that I tried to block out the wind as much as possible. The news kept saying it would be raining during our run, but thankfully it held off.
As we headed North, the wind picked up the closer we got to the Beach, but at all times it was bearable. Until the turn. There is a nice roundabout around Mile 3 where we turn around and head back South towards our starting point. That turn was wind filled. :P Thankfully once we completed the turn, the wind was at our back for once. It remained at our back until we hit the 6 mile mark.
Today, it was time to push El to a new running mark. She had previously gotten to 7 miles and instead of just letting her hit 7.5 - I wanted her to hit 8. I nice round number and c'mon it looks like a snowman, which was perfect for today's running conditions. :P
So I told her, once we hit 7 miles - we obviously were in new unchartered territory for her - we would play it by ear, but I would really like to hit 8 if possible.
As we continued on in Mile 7, we ran South towards the city - still along the Lake. Well, the Lake is closer to the path the further South you run than when you are running North. While you run North, you have some soccer fields, basketball courts and just green shielding you from the elements a little bit.
So as we headed South, I told her we had to get to 7.3-ish before we could turn around. Well the wind was definitely picking up and was at our back until the turn around. You guessed it, the final 0.7 miles of the run was RIGHT INTO THE FREAKIN' WIND. Oy vey! It felt like I was running in place - no scratch that - it felt like I was running BACKWARDS. It was so strong. But I told El, we have passed 7.5 so let's keep going to 8!
We bared down, got our game faces on and got to business. We got hit with water from the Lake. Yeah, wind and waves were strong enough to hit us on the path. Let me tell you that didn't help, but it did push me to keep going.
I was never happier than to hit stop on my Runkeeper after hitting 8.01 miles. It was a great feeling. I could've slept in. I could've just blown the run off once I saw the weather conditions. But no! We pushed through and finished what we started! It took 1:18.55, but we did it ... and sub 10 minute/miles to boot.
To put it in perspective, the first time I did 8 miles when training for the Half in August - I finished in 1:26. That is 7-8 minutes slower than this morning.
Since having major back surgery in January and being banned from running until June, I can't believe what I have accomplished. Training has really paid off. The early morning wake-ups have paid off. The commitment has paid off.
I am feeling stronger each run and I love it! :)