Lies, I say.
It flurried. It misted. It was generally overcast, unseasonably balmy and oddly muggy – but there was no snow to speak of.
This week, Coach Rick changed up our route, sending us inbound on Beacon first; this resulted in a substantial climb right at the start of our run. Since Sherée and I often take four (or five or six) miles to really find our rhythm, this was a challenge. We settled in on the downhill, picked a run/walk schedule (nine minutes running, one minute walking, which though I know is often scoffed at, is a huge help in breaking up the longer mileage and maintaining efficient form) and kept things comfortable.
We maybe even had a bit too much fun? (Nah.)
I was nervous about this run. I had not covered 16+ miles since my fairly disastrous September marathon attempt, and I had neglected to restock my supply of applesauce. Our afternoon plans included a 3pm birthday party, so time constraints were in play. I was running with a backpack for the first time in a long time to carry extra layers for a post-run grocery stop.
Around Mile 11, I headed for home while Sherée continued over the back of Heartbreak Hill. Around Mile 12, I was suddenly ravenous, and stopped for a donut. Around Mile 14, I hit a not-entirely-surprising but surmountable wall (14.5 was, after all, my longest run thus far) and was really missing the company of an optimistic running buddy.
Around Mile 16, I arrived at Whole Foods, thirsty and starving – exactly the wrong time to shop for groceries. After one of three overloaded grocery bags tore waiting for the T, I called Jack to rescue me; even with his help, that walk up our hill with groceries might have been more mentally difficult than any step of my run. I felt dangerously close to sitting down on the not-snowy sidewalk and pouting until V8 and a banana appeared and my food magicked its way home.
I’ve mentioned before that the threshold of 13 miles is intimidating, and it is – every cycle, when reaching the point of running a half marathon on an insignificant day “for fun,” there is a moment of hesitation, and then, you move on. At this point, despite that moment, I’m happy enough to shrug off the hesitation, right up until a scheduled run over 15 miles. Sweet Sixteen somehow carries a different weight – six weeks to taper, two months to race day, a run only four miles shy of my longest scheduled training and only 10 miles shy of a marathon. Sweet Sixteen is where ice baths become a welcome consideration, where forgetting fuel can become problematic and where entire weekend days can feel lost on the road.
And so, we have arrived.