I'm a creature of habit in way more ways then I care to admit and running three 20 milers before every marathon is yet another way I fit that mold. So this past Saturday was the second 20 miler for my Little Rock Marathon training plan, and it didn't matter if it was 2 degrees or 102 degrees, 20 miles had to be covered! I met my friends and off we trudged through sand-like snow covered sidewalks and roads wearing full on cold weather gear.
Cold Weather Gear: Several layers of moisture wicking shirts and a warm jacket, thick running tights, wool socks, mittens, balaclava's and hats!!!!! Wish I had a picture of our running group to post! I always feel like I'm getting ready to go play in the snow when I'm bundling up on running days like this one!
Snow Like Sand: I hate running on a beach and don't really get it when runners say they enjoy that! Of course I love the ocean and beach but running in sand is entirely different. And snow running is just like sand, hard on the ankles, hard to keep your body stable and requires lots of energy. Running in snow that is thick and slushy is not my favorite condition. I much prefer dry pavement or even hard packed frozen solid snow. Saturday's run was a combination of all of the above so some parts were good, some parts were rough, and ALL of it was COLD! I know, enough complaining already!
Frozen Water Bottles: It is a given that our water bottles will freeze on a long run in the winter in Rochester. Thank God for The Spot coffee shop. Nearly every Saturday we trudge through that warm coffee shop with people snuggled up to their laptops and coffee mugs wishing we were them! Instead we head straight to the restrooms to thaw out our bottles. I only got one short drink from mine around 5 miles before it froze almost solid and I couldn't even unscrew the top to drink out of it. I had an AHA moment when I realized filling my bottle with hot water would delay freezing. That will be my new habit.
Street Peeps: People were so smiley and friendly to us downtown! They would cheerfully call out hello or encouragement to us as we ran past them. One guy who was quite possibly homeless said "God Bless You!" to us as we ran by and I waved at him which prompted an "Amen Sister!" Loved it, brought a smile to my face. Another man was out shoveling his front sidewalk and humorously asked if we were "nuts!" The answer is of course, a re-sounding yes.
Friends: We could not have endured this grueling run without each other. I love my running friends, I've always said that! When I was really struggling and hanging in there I knew that all my friends felt the same way and we kept each other going. We were all in it together and there's never a lack of conversation-even for 20 miles.
Route: Basically, all over the city! But we ran the Flower City Half Marathon course which is a new race in Rochester this April. We loved the course, definitely challenging with rolling hills but all through the city. Can't wait to run it on spring pavement!
Recovery: Sunday afternoon I went to an outstanding heated yoga class and managed to do crow for the second time ever and tripod for the first time. We did LOTS of high planks to low planks which made my upper body sore. Additionally, lots of poses were great for stretching my legs and hamstrings especially. I LOVE some yoga, even for an hour and fifteen minutes of sweating it out! And the best part is savasana, ahhhhhh. Laying flat on your back and doing nothing at the end, best part. Monday was an easy 5 mile run and an invigorating 2100 yard swim with my friend at the Masters Swim Workout. Today, another easy 7 miler and tomorrow a challenging tempo run workout.
It all continues and I love every minute of it. Little Rock, I'm on my way and can't wait to see everyone!