IM Louiville

IM Louiville
Bikes racked at Ironman Louisville 2010

Sunday, March 04, 2007

First of 3

Saturdays have been reserved for my "long run" for as long as I've started doing long runs! Yesterday, I needed to get in one of my longest runs in preparation for the Boston Marathon: the big 20-miler. According to the schedule, this is just the first of three 20-milers on my training schedule. Now, most people think 20 miles is just an absurd amount of miles to run. But yesterday, it wasn't the mileage that I was dreading. It was the weather.

It can be quite challenging to get in long runs outside during these months when you live in Chicago. We still have snow accumulation on all the regular running paths. This snow has been trampled, melted and then frozen back into a severly uneven surface making it unsafe to run on. It's these times that we die-hard runners take to the streets. The streets were clean for yesterday's run, however, the longer the run, the more traffic there is to face. Most drivers do not like sharing the roads with the runners and they're all too happy to let you know it!

I fell asleep on Friday night before catching the morning's weather forecast, so I flipped on the television when I woke up. 22 degrees. Yeah, uh huh, what about that piercing windchill? So I stepped out on my balcony and quickly jumped back into the house and slammed the door. Yep, definitely a windchill factor! A further look at the news showed the windchill was about 12 degrees. This can make a big difference in how to dress properly for a run.

I rustled through the closet to find all the much-needed set of hand warmers and all the necessary layers then proceeded to the kitchen to fill up bottles for my fuel belt. This poses another problem. It's difficult to get to your drinks because of all the extra clothes. Additionally, I need to wear two pairs of gloves (with hand warmers tucked nicely inside!) to keep my fingers from freezing off, thus making it difficult to handle the bottles during the run. How DO I manage?

Next problem is that NO ONE wants to run 20 miles in this weather. I have some pretty crazy, gung-ho, die hard endurance athlete friends, yet they all seem to turn into wimps when it comes to keeping me company on such a long run (well, BC, you are excused since you ran the 17 with me last week!). Now I know that if I can't get some other sucker to come out and run with me the entire time, I won't get the required mileage in. Sure, I'll tell myself I'll "finish up" on a treadmill later in the afternoon. But that never happens.

What is my solution? Shifts. I need an early morning shift...someone to start with me at 6:30am. This is BC. This is because he can't stand to sleep in a little if he knows someone is out there running. He needs to join in. Cool, he's great company. Then we swing back for shift #2. These people refuse to get up early enough to meet us for the 6:30 start, so they show up at 7am. This group runs a regular loop (of which I STILL can't figure out myself) of around 8 miles. After 8 miles in 12 degree windchill, these people are all too happy to jump in their cars and wish me luck for the second half of my run.

Enter shift #3...Joe M. Now, Joe cherishes his sleep-in days. Do not ask him to get up early to run. If you do this, be prepared to be showered with a bunch of f-bombs and be told how crazy and ridiculous your idea is. And like perfect clockwork, shift #2 ended at 8:30am...exactly the time I told Joe to meet me. However, for the last 4 miles, I was silently hoping that Joe looked at the weather for that morning and decided to bag the run. I was cold and another 10 miles in the brutal wind was not something I was looking forward to. I started toward my car to check my cell phone praying to find a voice mail from Joe telling me he had opted for the treadmill that day.

I was just about 4 feet from my car when a happy little tap-tap of someone's horn caught my attention. DAMMIT! It was Joe! Jeez, there was no way I could get out of this run now! Alright, fine. I knew that if I didn't do this now, I wouldn't do it at all. And that certainly wouldn't be good for an upcoming marathon! We now had just 9 miles left and, though I didn't know a route that would get us that mileage, we just took off and made up the route as we went along.

Joe and I trained for the Flying Pig Marathon together a few years ago. I remember some pretty crappy runs in the DARK and at least on this day, we had daylight in our favor! The miles went quickly as we chatted about everything under the sun. I almost didn't believe we were going to be finished so quickly...but knowing what pace we run on average and the time it took us to do the additional miles, it seemed to work out.

Thanks to all the "shift" runners for helping me complete this 20 miler in such tough running conditions. I'm sure you'll all let me know when I can return the favor!


celmore76 said...

Wow...and I was bummed we had a windy Saturday and Sunday. What a spoiled Californian I am.

Not sure if I could do it.

celmore76 said...

No races until IM CDA. I tore my Achilles in Dec 06 and this will be my first race back. I am just working hard to get back in shape right now.

Did you run Pacific Shoreline Marathon? I rode down to HB this weekend.

Anonymous said...

What's your plan for your long run on Sunday after Solvang? I just want to make sure it doesn't include me! But, I can hook you up for a trail run. Camille

Diane said...

All I can say is, you are frickin nuts. I could never manage a 20 mile run in that type of weather, or even a one mile run for that matter. I admire your endurance and perserverance. You are going to kick ass in Boston.

Griz said...

I'm having similar issues at the praire path but I like to run alone. Snow and ice on the path aong with Dog poop and pee.