I obsessed about it all week. I thought about how I would fuel, what I would wear, how it would go. And then lovely Mother Nature threw me a curve ball. We got a snow storm in October folks! SO when my alarm went off at 4:30 and I was chomping on my protein bar, a chill went through me as I listened to the wind howling. I peeked outside around 5:30 am hoping to see something different then this:
Obviously this was going to now be a bit more challenging and cold ;) But I was prepared for it. I was ready because honestly this was the last big obstacle to be tackled on my way to the road to the Philadelphia Marathon! So I got suited up: cep sleeves, running tights, shorts over that, under amor cold gear shirt, neon pink shirt, reflective straps, 2 fuel belts, thick socks and my sneakers. I did a shot of mocha cliff gel drank my last 8 ounces of water and headed out into the snow.
The sensation of my warm feet hitting the freezing snow is one I will not soon forget, instantly I was frozen. My shoes were wet within 1 minute and the sloshy feeling was sinking in. My toes went numb after 3 minutes and I began to seriously question myself right then and there. My hands were cold under my thin gloves and I made a mental note that we need beefier ones this winter. I ran a lot outside last winter through snow and cold but this winter I have already been a lot colder. My body fat is a lot lower than last winter so I am blaming this ;)
The first few miles were not bad as they usually are on a long run. I was settled into a 9:30 to 10 minutes per mile pace and felt good. It was a pain to run in the streets though when a car would come on rare occassion I would have to run in the snow for a few minutes and it was torture. My toes would get feeling again after being out of the snow for 5 minutes or so, then I would have to plunk right back into it and I would lose sensation again. I began to curse the snow many times.
At mile 9 I wanted to just stop and pee. I got to the plaza with Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts and tons of stores and it was dark. Everything was closed. I looked at my watch it was about 7:25 everything should have been open at that point. Then I saw signs on doors, no power we are closed. I walked to a few places including a CVS and it was all closed. I was mad. I had no choice but to keep going then I saw the downed power line and realized why they had none. I got to my sisters house at mile 10.6. I immediatly went into the bathroom of course. It was dark, they had no power either.
I began to realize this little storm caused some major damage. I got ready and went back out to do my loop around her house. It is a 4 mile hilly loop that passes through a state park, I was planning to do it twice. I set out back into the snow.
I began the 4 mile loop and started to see a lot of trees down.
Those first 2 miles sucked. Major suck. I had to embrace it and keep moving. There were a lot of cars on the road now and everytime I would get into a comfortable pace I would have to dodge one and land in snow. And then it happened. Right around mile 16.2 I face planted. I was going to dodge a car again and fell into a small pit that I obviously did not know was there because it was filled with snow and slush. I landed on my knees, hands,elbows, belly, I mean even my face hit the snow and I tasted salt. I yelled the F word and just snapped up. I was soaked now from head to toe and snow and salt were stuck to me. I felt like crying. I felt like I should just give up.
I really pondered it, I tried to start walking to shake it off and I considered calling T to come pick me up and calling it a day. I knew I had gone far and I had trained a lot. I knew I could finish a marathon so technically this run did not need to be. I knew if I gave up everyone would say it was ok and the conditions were hard, they would not argue with me.
I made a choice that day, I chose to wake up early, I chose to run in the snow, I chose to run a marathon. I never do things half ass. I always set out to do something to the best of my ability. I knew I would be more disappointed in myself and beat myself up if I quit now. I knew I would not go to Philly with high hopes if I quit now. I started to run again. I switched to an inspirational song on my MP3 player and just sucked it up. I was stinging and bleeding a little, the fall banged up my skin and my pride but I was not going to let it stop me.
I thought then about my daughter, I thought about how hard it was giving birth to her. Yes I started to think about my 3 days of labor and 3 failed epidurals at that point. This run was hard. Maybe not as hard as those days were but dammit it was coming pretty close.
By mile 18 I was back on track, the roads were clearer and I could run without having to dodge things. I settled into a 9:20 pace and felt good again. I stopped at mile 21 for one more potty break at Dunks and texted T that I was almost done. He asked if I was cold... I said yes I am a popsicle make coffee please ;)
I felt great by mile 22 and was chugging along at that pace. I was on a cleared sidewalk and so thankful! I began to enjoy the run for the first time all day. The sun was high in the sky and although I was soaked I was not cold anymore. At mile 26 I started dancing, I was not going to go into uncharted running territory for me and I did not feel like I was going to collapse.
At mile 28 I could not believe how good I felt. I was pulling 9-8ish miles these last few and was all hyped up. I settled into and 8 minute per mile pace and even saw 7:48 a few times. I love that Garmin, it really keeps me going!
I saw 29 and felt happy. I could not believe I had accomplished such a feat and I felt like I could keep going. I wanted to go to 30 miles just to say F you snow I did it. But I really did not want to push myself and I knew the high would wear off and pain would be setting in soon ;)
I got home and walked around for awhile then I began undressing and finding my wounds... Not too bad I guess
Did I run a spartan race again? ;) It felt like it as I undressed! I was muddy and scraped up. The elbow and hand have a similar scrape and my gloves and tights have a hole in them where I fell. So now I guess I have an excuse to go shopping? ;)
I felt good though. It was hard, really hard at some points I really thought I would give up. But I kept pushing because I wanted to prove to myself that I can accomplish anything. I never give up.
Have you ever had a tough run that you were able to turn around?