With the Boston Half Marathon quickly approaching, our training schedule has reached its peak. Saturday was our longest scheduled run, and we truly felt it was a make or break week for us. It was the gut-check that we needed to pass in order to feel prepared for race day.
It was a cold and rainy morning. The temperature was barely into the 50s. We woke up, and delayed our start until about 10:00 am. The radar looked like it was going to clear up a little bit, and the risk of thunderstorms had mostly passed. I loaded up my running belt with 20 oz of ice water, and two types of energy shot blocks, and we set out into the morning. The air was cold enough that it was actually a little bit uncomfortable at first, and it took about a mile until I fully warmed up, or at least stopped caring that it was cold out. (for more of the post, jump to after the break... warning.. a gross picture is attached)
Planning a twelve-mile route in Buffalo is actually pretty difficult. If you are like me, and do not like to run loops, or even repeating the same streets, it takes quite a bit of thought to get a decent route that covers the appropriate distance. I tasked Ellie with the job, knowing that if she could envision exactly where we were headed, it would help her be mentally prepared for when we were nine to ten miles in to the run. She picked an awesome route the took us every where from North Buffalo all the way into the historic Allentown district and back again. That kind of distance really lets us see almost all of Buffalo.
After three miles, the skies opened up and the rain came pouring down. We got pretty soaked, but instead of letting it get to us, we picked up the pace. I think it was partially to stay warm, but also because we could. It was cold, we weren't getting hot, and it is just plain fun to run in the rain. We continued on in the rain nearly to the seven mile mark, and it was perfectly fine.
There were only a couple of times during the run that we weren't really happy. About eight miles in the sidewalks on a particular street were absolutely brutal. We were spending more energy jumping up and down around holes, cracks and uneven gradients then we were propelling us forward. It took a lot of energy and concentration to not fall or stub our toes. Note to self: avoid that street in the future.
When we hit ten miles, Ellie asked where we were at and she was genuinely happy about how fast and far we had gone, and it didn't seem to matter that we had two miles left. This was the first time she had ever pressed past eight miles without stopping, and she was still going strong. Stronger than me in my opinion.
We wrapped up the run strong, and walked the few blocks home from the end. It was overall an awesome workout. We finished in 2 hours and three minutes... about 20 minutes faster than my goal for us that day. Perfect!
Despite Mike's injuries, they finished out pretty strong, with an awesome time too. I think Team 2FNS will be all ready to go in two weeks for race day . . . and I am more excited than ever to get this first half-marathon done with.
Oh! And we got our race packets!!!!!