2015,  LONG RUNS

LONG RUN | Jan 31 | The Frozen Tundra

Snot rockets, rock hard shot blocks, Gatorade slushies, and 2 Heartbreak Hills

Miles: 16

Song in my head: The entire Frozen soundtrack because that was the only way to describe my entire body

Brunch Food Motivation: Bacon

The weather app read -9 degrees with windchill. I begrudgingly pulled myself out of bed and texted my running partners asking if they were going, hoping for a different answer than what I got back. “Yes! I’ll be there.” Poop. I hurriedly put on my layers and layers of clothing. Is that enough? Probably. I put on one more. I hustled out the door and caught the B line to Boston College to meet our brightly colored, neon team huddled close outside the parking garage before taking off into the frigid temps. We winded our way out of the college and down the road backwards along the marathon route.

Heartbreak Bill and me hanging out in 2013 and 2014 training seasons.

The piles and piles of snow pushed us off of our previously planned route and put us on the carriage road of Commonwealth Ave. The carriage road is adjacent to the final stretch of the marathon course, meaning it’s hilly and Heartbreak Hill looms in the distance (and for this particular route – Heartbreak Hill loomed twice). We took off four miles out, turned around and then repeated for a total of 16 miles. Heartbreak Bill, the furry gorilla mascot of Heartbreak Hill Running Company located at the base of Heartbreak, was back for a brief bit providing much needed frozen high fives. 

I was just coming back from a cold and still fighting a congested head and the sniffles when this run came up on the schedule. This wasn’t the first time I had run in the negatives. A couple weekends back, I trekked outside when my weather app warned me of the frozen tundra. When I got back from that particular run, my iphone announced its disapproval with an “iphone needs to cool down before starting” warning and locked me out of my phone.  Siri’s a passive aggressive one. It was that day I promised myself never again. Yet here I was. I did keep Siri at home this time. After today though, I think I will need to revisit my initial vow. I will learn to love that warm, glorious treadmill.

Along the route we had the support of other crews stationed to provide water and sustenance to the runners as they train. One crew member shouted, “Water, snacks, warm hugs! I got what you need!”  I got my own mid-run hug from Crystal that most definitely served to warm me up. And there was that faint smell of bacon coming from inside each of those cozy houses we passed.

A lot of people want to know what I think about when I’m running. I’m not gonna lie. A lot of the time, I’m thinking about what I’m going to eat after the run. Brunch. How soon can I get to brunch? And what kind of brunch food am I going to have?

So naturally I was using that thought of salty bacon and brunch to will me up each of the hills. I was also cursing the wind and praising the new fleece-lined buff I just purchased. I know I’m late to the party on this one, but BUFFS ARE THE GREATEST INVENTION of all time. Fleece-lined buffs. They combat the wind and make you feel like you’re taking on the next challenge of Survivor.

My shot blocks became rock solid. (I’m trying out shot blocks as opposed to Gu this year for fueling during the run. They’re delicious.)  My nose joined the battle cry and would not stop running. The Gatorade at the water stops turned to slushies. And I finally understood what a snowman felt like (And all I wanted was some brunch!).

I think it takes a special kind of crazy to venture out in that cold. I don’t think my California bones are quite ready to handle that on a regular basis. Although, Olaf was right: Some people are worth melting for. You have to find that reason to get out and run. This one was a little bit of peer pressure and a giant reminder I have more people to run for this year. Another long run in the books! Stay warm, my East Coast friends!

Bright tights and happy trails,


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