Sunday, March 10, 2013
This winter has been a tough one to train for a marathon. I can't even imagine if this was my first marathon. It will be The Boyfriend's first marathon, when we cross that finish line in May. He hasn't been strictly following a program, but he's been very good about getting the long runs in ocassionally. I can't wait until it (hopefully) warms up later this month, so that we can tackle those twenty milers outside.
This weekend, we were slated to race a 5K on Saturday and then run 15 miles together on Sunday. We delayed our long training run until after a brunch, then a drive home, then a short snooze. I wasn't positive we were going to force ourselves out the door in the afternoon - the weather so dreary, cold and wet. But, we did. We drove ten minutes to my favorite new path in DeForest. The path is an even five mile out-and-back loop. So, we planned to run the loop three times. Yikes.
We headed out with double long-sleeved layers, hats, gloves, handheld water bottles and our ipods. We both started our watches and our ipods and we were off. This was one of the few times I never advanced my songs or messed with my playlist. I was worried about the rain and tucked it under my double-layered sleeves and just let it play. It was kind of fun just running along to whatever tune came on and set my pace accordingly. This was The Boyfriends' first time on this path with me. Too bad the weather wasn't better. The path is so scenic and there are some significant inclines. On the way back from the first lap, his pace was slowing significantly. I wans't sure if he was having stomach issues, leg cramps, or what was going on. He gestured for me to run ahead. I kept a slight pace in front of him for the remainder of the loop. There were several large puddles that were unavoidable along the path. My feet would get soaked each time and then my socks and shoes would stomp out the water and feeling seemingly dry again after a few minutes.
As we headed back to the trailhead, where our vehicle was parked, I was convinced he was done and was a little disappointed and mentally trying to plan how I would fit in the additional ten miles at home, the gym or on the treadmill. And even more difficult for me, was the thought of trying to get him back out the door to complete those miles with me. He needed the training run just as bad as me, if not more for his confidence. We got back to the car and I pulled the car key out of my handheld water bottle. He asked me what I was doing. "I thought you were done?!". Nope. We were headed back out for more. Thank goodness.
I told him how proud I was of him, as we headed back out for loop number two. I was so amazed. We traced our footsteps on the path and saw a few people out walking their dogs on this dreary day. They were in rain gear and hunting gear and keeping warm as they walked the beautiful trail. We weren't dressed quite the same, but I wasn't cold. The only thing that got cold were my finger tips a few times. The snow was melting from the rain and the path was getting significantly wetter this time. My feet were soaking several times as I splashed around in the puddles. I told him that I loved him several times. And, would occassionally ask him how he was feeling. He would give me the thumbs up. We both had our Yurbuds in under our hats and had little-to-no conversation. We were both in the zone, but doing this together.
We got back to the trailhead again, and The Boyfriend was out of sports drink and opted to refill his water bottle. I was fine and didn't need to replenish. However, I was worried that if I stopped running that I may embarrasingly wet my pants after my muscles loosened up, so I laughed and told him I would run circles around the parking lot. I ran for a few minutes and then we were ready to head back out. The rain was really coming down now and our layers of clothing were seriously soaked. My clothes were starting to feel heavy. My feet were wet. My body was starting too cool down a bit. But, we ventured on. We went slow and steady and again I communicated with him throughout the five mile loop. The puddles were now out of control. We didn't even try darting around them this time - we just dodged through them. The hills seemed even more intense than the other climbs before them. At the top of the largest hill, we were at 13 miles and I congratulated him for completing a half marathon out there in the cold and the rain. We kept going, as we were in the home stretch. Nice, slow and steady - together.
We finally made it back to the car in 2:32 - sopping wet. We snapped a quick photo, before taking off our soaking wet layers, putting on a few dry items, wrapping in blankets and cranking the heat. There is no way I would have ventured out there alone, even for half of those miles. It's amazing what support will do for you. Just having someone there, that is going through the same thing. The same experience. The same discomfort. I feel so fortunate that I have found someone that will take part of my lifestyle and help hold me accountable as well. It just wouldn't be the same taking this journey solo.