Great things have happened this week. Great things. At Wednesday's Girls on the Run I was determined to get as many laps of my own in as I could. We started a new system this season with the girls counting their own laps. It has been awesome. They get a nice visual on how they are doing and all the coaches can be running the track at the same time to 1. get them moving a little bit better, and 2. get our own exercise in. I think it only works so well because we have a smaller team this season and we also have really good girls on our team. I'm thankful. After practice I talked my friend into just doing two more miles with me...well that turned into 3.4, so I had a little over five done on Wednesday afternoon. I wanted to go out on Thursday too because it was supposed to rain all day Friday and we had company coming to visit. I knew I probably wouldn't get any more miles in until Sunday when I planned to do my longest run ever. Turns out I wasn't as motivated on Thursday, but we still did a couple of miles after school.
Like I said I planned to do my longest run ever on Sunday morning. All week my weatherman friends kept making the weekend forecast more and more dismal. I had hope that maybe, just maybe, the weather would get itself together in time for Sunday. I was extremely hopeful and positive. It didn't work. The good news is that the decision to continue with our plan for Sunday happened so quickly, I didn't even really have time to think about it, or there is no way I would have done ay miles at all. Upon exiting my house I realized there was rain, but thought maybe it would be manageable. We were maybe about halfway up my street when the first wind gust came, and I thought we might not actually make it a mile let alone ten. Truly. We kept going. Why? I really don't know. At about mile two the rain got so much worse, and not only was it pouring rain, it was pouring sleet. I really couldn't believe this was happening. I kept thinking about how much I complain about this type of weather at bus duty, but was now choosing, on purpose, to do these 10 miles. By some miracle, my calves and other parts of my legs, had little pain, or maybe I just couldn't feel them. At about mile three I was completely soaked. My clothes felt so heavy. Every time the wind blew I swear we were running into it and it was brutal, my eyes were involuntarily crying. Miles 4 and 5 didn't seem so bad cause we had some tree protection from the rain, but we were forging some serious puddles and overflowing water from various places on a regular basis. My feet were sloshing around inside drenched shoes. Mile six was a loop back to my house where we made a pit stop for the bathroom and to change clothes and shoes. First portion, done.
Another thing I had on my to-do list for this run was to try my first running snack. Saturday I went to the store to buy a bunch of options. Before the run on Saturday I tried a few pomegranate Sports Beans with caffeine. They were good, tasted like jelly beans, really. During the pit stop I was going to try my first gel. I tried the salted carmel Gu packet. Not as terrible as expected. I would do that flavor again.
After our stop we did a big hill for mile 7, as we were doing the downhill portion we kept seeing cars stop. That's when I realized we had friends waiting for us on the trail. Two deer stood in our path. This is when I entitled the run, "The Mother Nature Run." I was getting nervous as we were approaching and they were going nowhere fast, but they did get moving eventually. Thankfully, after our pit stop the weather seemed to get a little bit better. It was still raining and very windy, but not nearly as bad as the first six miles. During mile eight I got a little confused about the route I planned so we had to take a little detour, but really I didn't care as long as all these miles were getting done. The ending of the run wasn't nearly as exciting as the first parts. Though, I think somewhere along the last few miles is when I discovered I had frozen, crunchy hair. When we finished we ended up with 10.18 miles for the day. I actually still felt good both mentally and physically, minus being wet and cold. While this weather was way less than ideal, I feel way more confident about completing the half marathon in Pittsburgh after surviving the elements and the 10+ miles.
We ended our pouring rain/sleet, 10+ mile day with a celebratory dinner at Katerina's. I think it was well deserved and I ate my entire dinner - I was so starving all day! To round out this week I did some laps at GOTR giving me 19.16 miles for the week. I also crossed the 200 mile mark this week since my training began in the fall. I'm also very pumped about my month of March activities. I did miles 19 of 31 days for a monthly total of 83.1 miles. Only 33 more days until Pittsburgh. I can't believe the days start with a three!