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? []