I’m a weather dork. Running has amplified my level of dorkdom. I’m known for checking the hourly weather beginning 12-24 hours before a long run or race. I do this to prepare myself physically (right clothes, etc) and mentally (psyching myself up & determining my mantra), but also to adjust what time I’m going to run, if I can avoid any bad weather.
Today’s long run was no different. I started looking at the hourly weather yesterday, and knew the snow was going to start mid-day, but everything indicated it would be light snow showers. So a lot later than I had planned, I bundled up, and headed out. If I’d known what I was about to encounter to its full extent, it would not have happened.
I warmed up, turned on a new RockMyRun mix, and took off. I felt good, and knew I was out a little fast, but evened out my pace, so that I was right at marathon pace as I hit about 4.5 miles. I stopped to take a quick pic, because this was when the snow was falling noticeably, but I didn’t think it was coming down too fast.
I thought nothing of continuing on, and kept after it, slowing down in a few areas where the snow was slippery over piles of leaves, but knowing I couldn’t hit my minimum of 14 miles for today until I hit 7 miles. So I powered on, even though the snow started to come down harder.
I enjoyed the peace when I hit the Wissahickon Trail, and even found a nice new (to me) part that was a gravel trail, that I can’t wait to explore further. Once my Garmin buzzed for 7 miles, I turned around. At this point, I saw no one for miles. It was quiet, snowy, and perfect to just think.
I thought a lot about where I was a year ago, both physically and mentally. I would never have gone out for a run with the threat of snow. On a day like this, I would probably have decided to take an earlier train back to CT from NYC, and whined about driving from New Haven. Today, I whined, but more importantly, I paved my own path. I took the road less traveled.
I could not have gotten this far through marathon training without an awesome training partner like Karen, but runs like this make me realize that I’m often stronger on my own, because I have no one but myself to push me through, to keep me going, and remind myself why I’m doing what I’m doing. I don’t have the luxury of seeing if Karen wants to stop short or walk a few intervals. I find that on my own, I run harder and I rarely walk more than my allotted intervals.
For me, it’s because long runs by myself are therapy. I think through a lot of things I have floating around in my head, and can get really emotional, which makes me push harder.
This was about 7.5 miles in, and I realized I had snow stuck all over me.
And today was no different. I pushed myself over the river, and through the woods, literally, and through what ended up being a minimum of 5 inches of snow on the ground. I’m watching the news now, and where I ran got the bulk of the snow in the area today. If you watched the Eagles game, that’s what I was running in. Literally, I finished up around 2:30.
It got really tough around mile 10. The snowfall had intensified, and I was back on Kelly Drive, so I was watching cars slip and slide all over the road, knowing I still had 4 miles before I was home. I trudged on, laughing every once in a while with the thoughts in my head.
“So yesterday people ran the Rocky 50K, following the steps Rocky ran in the second movie. I now understand why that Russian guy was so ridiculous. He always ran in the snow. This is badass. And it sucks. I hate this. Oh look, a cop car. I wonder if he’d drive me home. Is that a cab? Oh, just a ski rack. Oh look another person. Where did the geese go? How much snow is down there? How am I not cold? My feet aren’t even wet, this is awesome. I hate this. Oh look, people with shovels at Boathouse row. Oh, they’re only shoveling the steps. I wonder if they’d drive me home.”
And this is when I started to cry. I was still more than a mile away from home. My legs were tired, the snow was getting almost impossible to run through, and I didn’t want to finish. But I had no other option, unless I planned to live amongst the trees around the Art Museum.
At this point, I sucked it up, and pushed hard for the last part home. I needed to get home, have the front desk guy call me a cab, and get to my massage across town. So off I went, and I made it (although I had to do a quick run down the front of the building to hit exactly 14 miles).
While I did stop my watch several times as I took pics, or had a breakdown, I remained within about 15 seconds of an ideal marathon pace for Disney. This thought, and the warmth of my lobby brought a big smile to my face.
Today was monumental. I learned I can run a long training run really strong on my own. And I can do it in very unpleasant weather conditions. Why? Because I’m a runner, and a marathon doesn’t get any shorter, and Mother Nature doesn’t care if its race day. Also, I’d feel bad if I didn’t hit my training mileage knowing I have to run strong with Karen in 35 (34 when this gets posted) days.
Oh, and no cabs were running, I could not walk the 2 miles to my massage, and my car couldn’t even get up the ramp out of the the garage. I reluctantly called and paid my no show fee (which they discounted because I have never done this before). But it meant I got to take a hot Epsom bath and finish making my delicious recovery meal of crock pot ratatouille over quinoa & shrimp. Recipe coming soon!
What crazy running decisions have you made?
Ever done a snow run?
Would you have done 14 miles on the treadmill or braved the weather?