Friday, April 8, 2011

Last “long” run before the big day

Last night was bittersweet, but WAY more sweet than bitter. I drove into Boston to Crossroads and I ran the Newton Hills for the last time before race day. We hit a ton of traffic on the way there and got to Crossroads after everyone else had already left, but that wasn’t going to stop me from getting one more hill run in before Boston. Charles and I ran to the T station and got on the Green Line to Woodland for one last time. We chatted during the ~40 minute ride about how beautiful this section of the course is and how it definitely ranks in the top ten favorite runs for both of us. We talked about race day logistics and previous marathon experiences and random fun facts like how many concussions I’ve had and some of my funnier blonde moments (I didn’t figure out til college that Han Solo and Indiana Jones were the same person).

Finally, the train stopped at Woodland and we hopped off and started running. Made a quick pit stop at the Newton Fire Station to use the restroom and then hit the hills. Charles is much faster than me, but was nice enough to give me a little bit of a head start from the Fire Station. I made it to the top of the first hill before he blew past me and wished me luck. After that it was just me, my sneakers, and the road that I have grown to love and respect. My GPS didn’t pick up the satellites right away, so I just ran by feel and I felt GREAT!

I made it up and over the first few hills and then onto Heartbreak. Someone had spray painted hearts on the road! It was so cool. They wrote things like “the beat is in your heart” and “is your heart breaking?” and “we heart you”. I wondered if other runners noticed them or if they just run right over them not looking down. I was secretly hoping to run into Kara Goucher out for a training run, but that didn’t happen. I said “See ya in ten days” when I got to the top of heartbreak and then continued the rest of the way into Boston and down Beacon St. to the Crossroads bar.

Got to BC and past Eagles Deli, OMG, it always smells so good. I need to make a special trip there to treat myself to a greasy burger and fries. Every week the aroma teases me as I run past. After that I weaved my way through Cleveland Circle and down Beacon St., the longest road in the world. For some reason last night it didn’t seem so long. I was making incredible time. I actually looked at my watch at one point and thought I had about 2 miles left to go, but didn’t believe my watch. If I was running my usual pace I had 3 more miles, but I knew I was closer than that. And I was actually closer than 2 miles left. I reached the intersection that I KNOW is one mile from Crossroads and to my surprise, Charles had looped back to run the last mile with me. He even said he hadn’t expected to see me so soon.

We picked up the pace a little more and I pushed to finish the last “long” run strong. Nine miles up and over the Newton hills and through the last miles of the marathon course; it was AMAZING!!!! I finished the run in 1:20, breaking my previous record for the run by about five minutes!

After a few high fives and nearly hacking up my lung from the all out sprint in the last tenth of a mile Charles and I joined the rest of the runners in the upstairs bar at Crossroads and as promised I brought cookies; chocolate chip to be specific. This picture is from last week, but you get the idea. Post-run refueling with cookies, maybe not in any training manual or issue of Runner’s World, but I highly recommend it.

10 days to go!!!!!

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