And on February 22nd the weather gods shined down on Boston and said: "Thou shall enjoy a special Saturday with highs of 50 degrees." And the Boston Marathon runners REJOICED!
That's right folks. After battling snow, rain, sleet and negative degree temps, we got some nice weather for a change.
And I freaked. What the heck am I supposed to wear?
I leaped out of bed as my alarm shrilled at 6:30am as I still hadn't planned on what to wear. I knew it would be a high of 50, but that didn't mean it would be 50 when our run began at 8am! :P
I settled on a fitting Today's Miles shirt. I mean if the training plan AND the shirt said I was supposed to run 10 then I would. Right? Plus, it was a nice lightweight long-sleeved wicking t-shirt so I thought it would be perfect time to test it out.
Egg Whites, Wheat Toast, Peanut Butter
I put together a quick, but satisfying breakfast before my ride got to my house. All for only 5 Weight Watchers Points to boot. Of course, I took my ENERGYBits as well. I needed the extra boost and it is the best vitamin I can find.
(Interested in purchasing ENERGYBits, use code WEIGHTOFFMYSHOULDERS for 25% off your order)
After a catch-up session in the car with my Tedy's Team running mates, we were at Joint Ventures in Kenmore Square stretching. On the "Riverside runs," which was taking place today, we take the train to the Riverside stop on the Green Line and run the 10 miles back to Kenmore Square. It is a long train ride or rather feels long while you are on there. But the run gives you yet another attempt at Heartbreak Hill.
Thank goodness the Riverside train station has a bathroom. We know I have the bladder of a child so it comes in wicked handy. After a pit stop, Cristina, Nanci and I got this party started.
We got into our rhythm of running and chatting. You really get to know your teammates thanks to Facebook and countless hours pounding pavement together.
I was definitely recognizing that the first mile of this training run is always a warm-up. Reason being - besides the obvious - is the time between the stretching at Joint Venture and the actual time we start running. You can get a little cold while taking the train to the start of the run so the first mile is a time to wake the legs back up.
Oh and did I mention we kick that first mile off on a hill. Yay! :P
Mile 1: 9:39
But once that first mile is behind you, you are back in your groove. We complete about three miles before we show up at the beginning of Heartbreak Hill, which for those that don't remember is a series of rolling hills through Newton. The hills themselves aren't that bad it is the position they come in the Boston Marathon that takes the toll on your legs.
We have been greeted the past few weeks at the beginning of Heartbreak by the Newton Firefighters offering water and snacks outside their firehouse. I will be sure to snap a pic next time I see them. Such an amazing outpouring of support!
Mile 2: 9:03 Mile 3: 9:09 Mile 4: 9:07
The sun was certainly shining today, which made the course seem warmer than it actually was. We know on the 10-miler that we have two water stops to check out.
Can you tell I get a little excited when I spot Margaret at the water stop?
Today was especially meaningful because I got to give her the Stop Stroke Shuffle 5k medal she earned last week. :)
We took in the scene as a film crew drove past following a runner training for - I assume - Boston Marathon. After a little Gatorade and water, it was time to get back to the hills. I set out with Cristina (who is a Boston Qualifier) to pick her brain on how to attack the next week's worth of workouts as I prepare for March 1st's 20-miler. I love hearing the training methods of other folks - especially speedier runners - for possible ideas.
Mile 5: 9:45 Mile 6: 9:04
I always take an extra breathe as we look up at the final hill of Heartbreak. It is the most daunting. I uttered my normal: "I'm ready to make you my b^&*ch" statement and set to work. Something was different today, my legs felt strong and I barreled up the hill. Okay barreling might be an exaggeration, but I definitely made it up the hill faster than usual. Oh and I felt stronger. During the trek up, I was thinking how much stronger my legs felt and thinking all that biking I am now doing might just be paying off. :P
Few things can top the feeling you have getting to the top of the final hill of Heartbreak. You really know that the final 4-ish miles will be a true breeze.
Mile 7: 8:26 Mile 8: 8:27 Mile 9: 8:49
And by looking at my splits you can tell they are pretty darn flat. My legs felt nice and fresh today. I was talking to Cristina and Nanci today about my experience with the Runner's World Running Streak (#RWRunStreak) I participated in at the end of 2013. A Run Streak means you run at least 1 mile a day for x amount of days (set by you are the host depending). I loved doing it, but think it took a toll on my body. Not sure I am built for running every single day.
Now that I am back to running, biking, yoga and swimming, I feel more balanced and I think my legs are really benefitting.
At Mile 9.26, I spotted the familiar water stop hosted by the amazing folks at Blue Trailer (which I will talk more about on Monday). They always have great snacks and signs.
Can you tell we ALL appreciated the weather?
Today their crew was triple the norm so it was like hitting the scream tunnel at Wellesley on Marathon Monday. There was high-fiving, cheering and of course kissing ... oh wait, scratch the last part. That is a Wellesley only thing! After chatting with Molly (owner of Blue Trailer) briefly, I finished up the final 1/4 of a mile.
Mile 10: 8:28
I was probably 0.2 miles from Joint Ventures, but decided to take that last stretch as a nice cooldown walk. I was okay skipping the last 0.2 miles today since I walked with someone instead.
Back-to-back 9 min/mile pace long runs
Overall, the run felt amazing. At the beginning I was dreading it, I think I always feel that way after the extra train ride. However, once we got out on the course, the tune changed.
Plus, I was rocking my unicorn socks. Yes those are rainbows coming out of their bums.
I honestly forget what I am wearing while running so I was wondering why I was getting so many quizzical looks today ... the socks! :)
We foam rolled, stretched and called it a day. I had to get home to refuel anyway: water, low-fat chocolate milk and Dunkin' Donuts Iced Coffee. In that order!
Next week I will miss the Tedy's Team 16-18 mile group run since I will be running the Black Cat 20-miler in Salem. Will anyone else be there?
Week 11 Workouts:
Sunday, February 16: 30-minute bike trainer session
Monday, February 17: Spin Class (47 minutes)
Tuesday, February 18: 5-mile run and 45-minute bike trainer session
Wednesday, February 19: Hill Repeats (2.6 miles), 30-minute Stairmaster and 62-minute Yoga
Thursday, February 20: REST DAY
Friday, February 21: 60-minute bike trainer session
Saturday, February 22: 10 mile group run
Looking To Donate
Are you interested in helping to fight Stroke? Please feel free to click on the link HERE to share a donation. Wondering how much? How about $10 in honor of the 10 miles I ran today with Tedy’s Team?