I used to have a standing date on Saturday mornings. During our marathon training, Shawnna and I would meet - no matter what - at the same downtown spot every week, ready to run the allotted mileage.
After the marathon, we allowed ourselves to have a less-structured plan, mostly running how much we wanted, when we wanted. The result is that our Saturday morning routine fell by the wayside.
Although I've enjoyed a little less structure in my runs lately, I admit I was itching to get back to a weekly long run - especially with my marathon training buddy whom I'd run many, many miles with this summer. I think it goes without saying that we've shared a lot - remember, we did even our longest runs without iPods. Lots of talking to fill the hours.
Our weekly meet-up was to resume last Saturday, but a weekend of snowstorms caused us to push it off a week. (After all, we've put in our "must" runs during training. Why be crazy? At least that was our justification for calling off the run.)
As the next Saturday approached, the weather forecast called for colder and colder temps. Definitely not my ideal running weather, especially when we were looking at 10 miles or so.
The nice thing about having a running buddy is that it's real motivation to get out there. I admit that the 5 degree windchill (and boy, it was windy!) might have caused me to stay inside or hit the treadmill on my own. I probably wouldn't have gone the whole 10 miles.
But with my marathon buddy waiting downtown for me, I bundled up, scarfed down a quick breakfast and grabbed some GU and water as supplies.
Shawnna was waiting for me (as she always is) and was all-smiles (as she always is) when I rounded the corner. The wind whipped at us fiercely, making us laugh and question our sanity.
We headed out for our 10 miles - a route that was almost a little mini-Manchetser marathon course, about six miles of the first half and another four on the second half of the marathon course.
We carefully navigated our way along snowy sidewalks, eventually opting to run on the side of the road. We got less-than-friendly looks from passing drivers - who may have had to slow down slightly as they passed us. It made us laugh, the drivers so grouchy and scowling - and cozy in their warm cars with the heat blowing right on them, I'm sure - and us, laughing and smiling. And freezing.
We passed the time catching up - we had a lot to catch up on - and laughing and listening. The miles passed quickly, and if it weren't for the fact that it was damn cold out there, we probably couldn have run forever.
With 10 miles in at a decent pace (and working extra hard to get traction on the snowy sidewalks), we looped back to our cars to finish our run. We donned hair-sicles (from sweat that had frozen in our hair) and had rosy cheeks and tingly legs. But it felt great.
Double digits in single digits? No problem - and it can actually be fun when you have a friend by your side.
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