Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Snowy Run on the Marathon Training Highway

(Don't) Let it Snow!
On Thursday night, Boston and much of Massachusetts was nailed by yet another winter storm (details).  Despite my positive thoughts and pleas to ULLR (the Norse god of snow), the storm continued into Friday afternoon making roads pretty awful.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE snow- I grew up in Buffalo, went to college in PA, and lived in Stowe, VT (by choice) for a bunch of years before moving to Boston  (none of which are really warm places).  However, when you find yourself having to fit in really long runs once a week and it snows before and during them (multiple times throughout a training season), you start to get a little annoyed. 

Proof that I loved snow at a young age (I think I'm smiling)
Lovin the snow outside our first apartment in Vermont.

Plan B
Fortunately, as I adamantly followed the progress of the storm on Friday worried about the impending cancellation of our run in Wayland, I simultaneously chatted with 26 other DFMC runners- we were creating a back-up plan.  While Boston (only) received 10-13" of snow, Wayland was hit with 18-20".  As you may have guessed, the run was cancelled.  Operation back-up group-run was in full effect! 

Our back-up plan had a lot of positives: 1) it was on the marathon course,  2) we would run 3 of the 4 Newton Hills (flats, as Jack our coach calls them), including Heartbreak Hill,  3) we would run as a group instead of attempting a solo treadmill run (huge plus!)  and  4) most of our run would be snow, ice, and car free.

The Run

We assembled in the parking lot pre-run and asside from someone needing to apply some Body Glide to their feet and the obligatory group photo, we were off running, literally. 

The first 2 miles proved to be a little hairy since all 14 of us were forced to run on the road.  Fortunately, our DFMC team jackets made it pretty hard for drivers to not see us.  Also, the ice on the first couple of miles was a little anxiety-inducing but once we made it onto the marathon course it was smooth sailing. 

Along the marathon course in Newton, there is a main road and then an access road (aka the Carriage Road).  The Carriage Road is a great place to run normally due to the nice pavement, rolling terrain and minimal car traffic; however, during this time of year, it is an especially great place to run because it is on the marathon course.  Thus, it has earned the nickname of the "marathon training highway."  As expected, it was packed Saturday morning, which made the run even more fun... and helped to put a little pressure on. 

The Carriage Road (photo obviously not taken on Saturday)
A popular route!

Overall, we had a great 16 mile run.  Eileen, Jamie, and I did our best to comfort one another about how smoothly race day will go - knowing that the outcome of race day is largely depend on things we cannot control.  Either way, we had a great time running the hills and stopping to take 1 or 2 ridiculous photos along the way.

One of the snowy trails we had to jump through along the route.

With only 35 days left until Marathon Monday, the fundraising and training deadlines are rapidly approaching.  Although there is little I can do to alter my training at this point, the fundraising can kick ass without fear of stress fractures or shin splints.  Please consider making a donation.  No amount is too small - really... just donate $5!  A cancer survivor will thank you (that's me)!!!  


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