Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Long Run

This past Saturday the Miles for Miracles team gathered early in the shadow of (not in) Boston College's Alumni Stadium for our longest run yet, 21 miles from Hopkinton back to (not in) BC.

I arrived just around 7 for our 7:30 departure and met up with my coach Jeff to head to the buses. It was a bit cool so i got on early as we waited for others to arrive.  Just about 7:40 we were off and as we discussed the race with others on the team, Jeff told us one of the buses broke down so we would be waiting at the start until they arrived.

About 30 minutes later we arrived at the start which was packed with cars and buses unloading runners.  Electronic billboards warned of "Runners in Road", police were directing traffic and people were waiting in line for port-a-potties.  It seemed like race day already!  After about a half hour our last bus arrived to a rousing ovation along with shouts of "What took you so long?".  After a couple of team pictures and some stretching we were off.

Where's Waldo blue and orange style
As I've been profiling the course I knew the first mile was a pretty steep downhill but actually running it was a bit of a shock because it is REALLY downhill before it goes back uphill a little bit which prompted one of my teammates to quip "downhill my ass" to a chuckle from those around us.

The road was packed with runners from all different charities forcing drivers to the center line and police to set up at major intersections to help with the flow of traffic and runners.  Even with this I saw some long lines of traffic, but not everyone minded.  Along the route various people had set up on porches and front lawns cheering on the runners as they would in just over 3 weeks time.   Also along the route were water and food stations for all the various charities.  Even though they all had a different name on them they were all very open to helping any runner no matter what singlet you were wearing.

Despite the hands to their ears these are runners not secret service

The course was hard, but it was nice to be running some new scenery and about mile 10 I felt a bit dehydrated. T here weren't many water stations in the 8-12 miles and I didn't bring any water so I was hurting a bit but once we hit Wellsley College there was a MFM water stop where I grabbed a couple of cups of water and some gummy worms which really helped.

Marathon Statue
As we made our way past the college and into Wellesley proper we returned to familiar running areas and I felt pretty comfortable with what was coming the course.  we passed St. Pauls' the Whole Foods and then when we got to the park afterwards there was a giant setup from Saucony.  They were giving out water, Gatorade and food.  It was a very nice gesture to everyone out there.
My calf was a bit sore but really started to hurt as I made my way down the big hill towards 95.  I took it easy but the extra pressure of the downhill made it a bit uncomfortable, luckily once I got back on flatter ground it went back to just being a bit sore.

Out on the lower part of route 16 the police had closed off one of the lanes to accommodate the runners making it much easier to handle the number of runners.  I made my way down the street and turned right at the firehouse to start the hills of Newton.  Right at the start of the first hill was a MfM water stop which was very nice.  After a quick drink I started up but had to walk for a bit once I was about half way up the hill, but after a quick rest I was back to running.  I never really noticed it before but after that hill it's mostly flat from there to the start of heartbreak hill so I made good time between the two.  Again about half way up heartbreak hill I had so walk again but it was only for a short time and before I knew it I was up and over and at the end of 21 miles with Julie there to cheer me on.

It was the longest training I'd done but it was under 4 hours making the 5 hour goal I set for myself very attainable.  See you all at the finish!

21.07 miles in 3:47:51 a 10:45 pace

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