Week 7 was a fantastically encouraging week for me. I decided the snow and ice were cleared enough for me to hit the road for the long run. So I plotted out my 16-mile course on the marathon route from Wellesley Hills to Chestnut Hill T station and back. There were a few logistics to figure out. What would I need to wear? How would I carry all the things I needed – waters and gels, as well as my iPod. I was also on call last weekend, so I would also have to bring both my pager and my phone. It seemed that I would need a backpack for all of this stuff! How would I keep my turtle pace? How would I know when to do my new plan of designated one-minute walks every mile?
At the last minute I decided to bring along one of my dogs for companionship and moral support. I opted to park in the middle of my route, that way I was able to run out four miles to Wellesley Hills and back with my dog. Then when I got back to my car, I dropped off my pup and sunglasses and picked up a new water and gloves for the second leg of the trip out to Chestnut Hill T station and back. I did manage to fit everything in a fanny pack that was easy enough to carry on my waist. I initially had some difficulty getting the pack to stay snug on my waist, but after a couple of stops for adjustments that problem was solved. I decided to just run at a comfortable pace and do my designated walks for one minute every three songs. My dog was a great running partner except for the occasional unsolicited barks at poor random passersby. I cannot believe the stamina of that dog! I figured I better only take her for half of the run, as she has never been on a run ever in her life. Not only did she keep up with me the whole time, but she never even touched the water I left out for her while I ran the other eight miles!
The run along Route 16 to Wellesley Hills was very icy and snowy. There were many times where my dog and I were running on pure ice and jumping over large piles of snow. The run on Commonwealth Ave, on the other hand, was perfect running conditions. The miles flew by outside as opposed to inside on the treadmill where the miles ebb by. I had been so anxious to start running outside, as I had been warned that both keeping a pace and the hills would be a huge hardship compared to treadmill running. I was amazed to find that I kept my same pace on both legs of the run. Despite the snow and ice and Heartbreak hill, I was able to comfortably run the whole 16 miles – except for my designated 16 minutes of walking. I actually even enjoyed myself out there. What a relief, this is definitely doable!