A Chilly Twenty

Today was the final twenty mile run of this season for me. I was scheduled to run it yesterday, but we had rain all day and the temperature stayed around 50°F. The run got cancelled to prevent anyone from getting hypothermia (four hours in that weather wearing nothing but a t-shirt and shorts can easily lead to hypothermia, so it was kind of a no-brainer). Now, most of you probably don’t realize just how big the Richmond Marathon training team is, but it’s around 700 people (± – we’ve had some matrition since May as you can imagine). Usually, this is divided up over four different start times, three on Saturday mornings and one on Sunday morning. To have a majority all those groups show up on one day and take off at the same time was the equivelant of running a pretty good sized road race. The main difference: we wouldn’t be out to win anything or get a t-shrirt. It was just me running with hundreds of other really crazy people with nothing better to do on a cold, gray Sunday morning1

The first twenty I ran this year, a couple of weeks ago, was what I call a P: it’s basically an in-and-out with a loop at the end. It had one pretty bad hill, but it was at about the half-way point, so not too bad. Today’s run, on the other hand, was a large loop (about a mile was retracing our steps, but that’s not uncommon). the back third of the run was along Riverside Drive, which is known to us runners here in Richmond as being a torturous series of hills. Put that from mile nine to mile 16 and you’ve got yourself a punishing run. I had some bad calf cramps in my right leg a couple of weeks ago and really did a lot of stretching througout today’s run. I was able to stave off the cramps, but both calves were mooing badly with soreness for the last five or six miles. Speaking of that portion of the run, we passed over the Lee Bridge to cross back over the James. Now, I’ve been hearing complain about that bridge (which is nearly a mile long) for the past couple of years and I never understood why. I mean, I love bridges and enjoy getting look at Richmond’s biggest and newest in the downtown area. There are great views of the city skyline from there, as well as Hollywood rapids, the cemetary, and Belle Isle. Today, there was also a cold headwind in my face that made running a 12 minute mile seem impossible. I know understand why so many runners here really hate that bridge. I guess I’ll just have to look forward to warm, breezy days when going over it in the future.

Today's running route plotted onto a satellite image from Google Maps

Today’s running route plotted onto a satellite image from Google Maps. Thanks to Coach Ron from the Sportsbackers Marathon Training Team for plotting this for us (Note: This isn’t an active map, just a .png image.)

My run took me three hours and 36 minutes, which isn’t too bad considering how much my legs were hurting towards the end. There’s a point at which you begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak, and that always helps me to pick up at the end. I was able to change into some pants, a dry t-shirt, and my running jacket at the end, but I’ve still been chilled to the bones since ending the run. That’s why I’m currently in my fleece jacket, under a down comforter, and typing with Angela’s very toasty iBook on my lap. Angela’s sitting here with me, also helping to warm me up a bit. I think I’ll get a cup of coffee in a bit and see about just letting my legs rest for a while. Here’s hoping that the Marine Corps Marathon (three weeks from today) sees some better weather. At least our vacation in Alaska this week will help prepare me in the event it isn’t.

  1. Actually, that’s not true. I wanted to go to my adult church class this morning and then attend worship service with Angela, but that got all messed up. For the record, though, I didn’t cause the cold rain yesterday. Just remember that, okay? []