A Run In the Rain

Why having friends to run with is crucial: 38 degree weather, rain, and 7 a.m. coming way too early after a night out with friends. 

Even knowing I was meeting my friend Thad (aka "Runnerdude") almost wasn't enough to get me out the door this morning. Why? Dark skies, rain, cold temps and the unwelcome task of 18 miles had me asking Blair, "What do you think? Is it raining too hard? Should I just stay home and try to run later?" 

Blair, smart man that he is, refused to comment. Thad was waiting, so I sighed and out the door I went. I'm glad I did. We ended up having a fantastic 10-mile run. As I set out to do the last eight on my own, the rain picked up. I didn't mind. There is something peaceful and meditative about running solo in the rain. The streets were almost empty of cars, the greenway where I was running was close to deserted, and it was just me and my breath and the steady tread of my shoes on wet pavement. 

Sometimes on inclement weather days it's hard to know if you're stupid or badass for braving the weather. Last Sunday when I forced my friends outside in ice and snow and we only made it a half-mile before the ice sent us scurrying back to our cars? Stupid. Today, with not-so-bad temps and a steady drizzle and the company of a friend followed by the solitude of my thoughts? Total badass run.

Far from being a drudgery, today was probably one of my favorite runs of the year.



Knee Blow-Out at Mile 12

So I'm trotting along on my 18-mile long run yesterday. Run, run, happy, happy. It's the first time I've done a long run outside (with some large unidentifiable yellow orb in the sky) in over a month. I'm thrilled to be back. 

Chatting with friends, I mentally make note of a light twinge behind my right kneecap. It's not pain. More like a warning that there could be pain. Big deal. It's not a run unless something hurts. 

Since most people I run with aren't training for a marathon (or they are but are considerably faster than  me), they drift off after mile 10. I keep running. At mile 12, I stop for a water break. Throwing down the water bottle, I stand back up, hit the "Start" button on my watch... and almost hit the ground as my right knee buckles beneath me. 

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A Really Good Run

Finally! A run I can be proud of. Conditions were perfect yesterday for a long run - 40 degrees, overcast, no wind. For all that, I still wasn't looking forward to my designated 17 miles. Mainly because I knew I'd be doing most of them alone. Poor lonely runner...

I showed up at the tennis courts, the popular starting point in Greensboro for most runners as it has a huge parking lot and leads directly to the Greenway. I ran a quick 3 miles before the formal Blueliner takeoff time of 7:30. Then I ran four miles out with the group. The majority of the group turns back at that point, but I was lucky enough to bump into a runner I'd seen before, but didn't really know. Dave overheard me say I was running 17 and he volunteered that he was going 18 and, like me, had already started the day off with an early 3 miles. Better yet, we ran an identical pace. WHAT A GIFT. The group turned back and Dave I carried on, running together for another hour and a half and chatting along the way. 

Time passes much faster for me when I'm with another runner, even if we're not talking. It's the steady beat of our feet hitting the pavement, listening to our rhythmic breathing, and knowing that even through I'm tired I can carry on a bit further, because the person running alongside me expects me to. 

During the first 4 miles of the group run, Thad, Lisa and me were talking about how, in general, most runners are really good people. If you want to get to know someone, run 15 miles with them. Hard exercise breaks down barriers and you get a quick sense if someone has a sense of humor, is driven, what motivates them, are they a whiner, are they generous... The joke is that around mile 10, everyone starts spilling their relationship and personal and work problems. You can't help it. It's something in the sweat...

So today's blog is a thank-you to Dave, for making Saturday's long run seem so very short indeed. And we pushed each other. Both of our training schedules called for a 9:20 pace but we completed our run with an average per mile pace of 8:50. Sweet.


Dear 18-miler: I OWN YOU

Whoo-hoo! Left the house at quarter of 6 this morning to meet a group of friends for an 18-mile run. While last week's nasty humidity lingered in the air, skies were overcast and the temperature was a pleasing 76 degrees which helped immensely. I've had some bad runs lately and have been feeling down about my times. But I had a great tempo run on Thursday night and came in 11 seconds per mile faster on this long run than I was scheduled for, so I'm feeling great. 
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