Guess who is running again?!!! Sorry, I left you kind of hanging while I had my shin splints, but I have a really hard time blogging while I am injured. I didn't want to share my woe is me thoughts and feelings so I kind of just avoided Twitter and Blogging while I was recovering.
I have to confess, I am not 100%. I currently have no shin pain at all. I do still have incredibly tight calves. I blame my tight calves for helping me to develop shin splints, so I am being more careful this time. I have run and today's post will be about my awesome run on Saturday, but I am being cautious with my running. For example, today was supposed to be a recovery run day....I woke up with a knot in my calf. Tomorrow I have track work scheduled, so I skipped my recovery run in hopes that I can hit a good run tomorrow. Instead of running, I went to the gym and did a spinning class. Umm, yeah, that spinning class was much harder than my run would have been. Win, right?!
So Saturday....Saturday was AMAZING! As, I told you before, I joined the Greater Lowell Road Runners club in order to take advantage of their Boston group training runs. I mentioned how nervous I was to run with them, as I am pretty anti-social at first, but it was the best decision I could have made. My first run with them was two weeks ago on the day I developed my shin splints. Yes, my day ended not-so-good, but the run was still awesome. And we have someone taking pictures of us on our runs! Check out this awesome picture, that was taken of me on that first run...
Doesn't that picture scream hard core? It surely doesn't scream shin splints and 11 days off from running will result from this day. :)
So this Saturday, was group run #3, but only #2 for me as I skipped last week hoping that I could heal up my legs. I had run two runs earlier in the week to test out my legs so that I wouldn't get out there and find out I wasn't healed. We met at a Dunkin Donuts in order to carpool down to Hopkinton.
My first training run, I ran solo, but luckily this time, there was another woman running that offered to run with me. I say she offered to run with me because she is an AMAZING runner. Sub-3:20 marathon runners and myself usually don't get to run long together, so I was so excited to have someone to push me on my run. We started off in Hopkinton, and if you have read about the course at all, it goes downhill, immediately! This fact alone has haunted me all week as my shins were fine going uphill, but going downhill made them hurt. On those first few miles of mostly downhill running, my shins felt FINE! :) My new friend, Rebecca, was looking to hit 8:30's the first 10 miles of our run and pick it up so I figured I could probably hit those 8:30's with her and I think I did a decent job of it. We probably started out a little too fast because of the downhills, but nothing crazy.
My running club had water stops set up about every 2-3 miles. I still carried my own water because I didn't want to be without water when I needed it, but it was so nice having refills out there. I also loved being able to get gatorade when my body started craving it. I seriously need to get some wonderful volunteers to come to my trail with me. The conversation was so good those first 10 miles, that I was all smiles and I didn't notice a thing going on with my legs.
And then my speedy running partner needed to pick up the pace and I knew I needed to slow it down if I had a chance to finish my long run so we said our goodbyes. The first few miles after she left, I still felt great and maintained sub-8:40 pace. I couldn't believe I was hitting such awesome paces with so much time off.
And then....I got tired. Mile 15 hit and I wasn't hurting, but I was feeling the lack of recent miles. I knew I had the Newton Hills ahead of me so I knew I needed to dig deep in order to finish my run. The run club's plan for the day was 21.5 miles. I had one water stop left at 19 before the final 21.5 miles. I didn't think my body was in for 21.5 miles after 11 days off from running so I told myself I could stop once I made it to mile 19. I still had hills in those next four miles so I knew I would complete an amazing long run if I could make it to 19.
I warn you future Boston runners. Mile 15 to 19 aren't easy. You have steep downhills. You have highway overpasses. You have Heartbreak Hill (really 3 hills, I only ran 2 of them on Saturday). The best part on Saturday was that even when I was getting tired, I was never alone out there. I am so thankful to live in Massachusetts and can train on the Boston course. There are so many runners out on the course every weekend that you always have someone to wave to our encourage you as you pass by. And the volunteers from the run clubs and charities are AMAZING! The running community is so awesome here and I am so grateful that I am a member of it.
I have never ended a long run like I did on Saturday....I was tired and ready to be done, but normally when I am on the trail alone, those last two miles go on forever. That wasn't the case on Saturday. I was soaking in every bit of support from the people around me those last two miles and while my body was saying we were done for the day, my mind was saying "I can't wait until next week!"
And look what was waiting at the top of the hill at mile 19, cookies! Now, if that doesn't convince you to join a run club I don't know what would. :)
And more experienced runners to chat with while we relaxed. I am soaking up every bit of information I can from all the people who have run Boston before.
I finished 19 miles in 2:43 minutes that day for an average pace of 8:40. This is a fast pace for a long run for me, but I will take it. Yesterday, my legs were definitely feeling the hills, but I am so happy to have completed yet another long run in preparation for Boston.
The Boston Marathon is 4 weeks from today!!!! I am not really following a training plan. I am just waking up each day and seeing what my body is ready to do in order to get me to Hopkinton and then on down to Boylston Street. This was not how I pictured my training would go for my first Boston Marathon, but I will not complain, for now. :)