As I left the apartment this morning to meet with my running group, I felt like I’d forgotten something. I used to get this feeling in elementary school if I’d left my Care Bears lunchbox in the kitchen. Then I figured it out. I wasn’t wearing my hat. Or mittens. Or three-layers of sweat-wicking activewear. It was actually…pleasant out. Not quite warm enough to qualify as “nice” or “lovely,” but not a reenactment of the last ice age either.
Once I got to the running store, we took off down the canal towpath for 60 minutes, our longest run before the half-marathon in two weeks. (Two weeks!) The first 5-10 minutes of running are always the hardest for me. As soon as I start jogging, my body is like, “Hey now, why are you running? We were just sitting down or lying bed. Let’s get back to that, shall we?” At the beginning, I compare how I feel running to how I felt sitting down, which is of course worse. Once I’ve been going to awhile, I compare how I feel to how I felt 5 minutes ago, which is about the same, so it’s easier to accept. After a mile or so, my body started to accept the fact that it was going to be in pain for awhile and I found my groove. I was beginning to enjoy the blooming trees, the ducks, and the much-improved weather conditions.
This is when it started to rain.
I pulled the hood of my jacket over my head, but I neglected to wear one that had a drawstring, so it fell back after a minute. I kept going anyway. I’ve run in ice and snow and fog, so I may as well check rain off the list too. It wasn’t a torrential downpour, just a light sprinkle, which actually was kind of nice because it kept me cool. The towpath leads down to the Indianapolis Art Museum. We didn’t run anywhere far enough to get there, but near the 30-minute mark I felt like I’d jogged into the Impressionists gallery and right into a Monet. There was a picturesque wooden bridge spanning the canal with freshly green trees on either side of the water which hid the traffic on the south side. I actually ran an extra minute just to enjoy the beauty of the scene. Then I turned around because I’m not insane. Sixty minutes is looooong enough no matter how pretty the duckies are.
The size of our running group has dwindled a bit as we approach the half-marathon. I think this is a combination of people dropping out and people just not showing up for every session. I had to skip meets when I did my training series runs and when I was injured. However, it does seem to get smaller and smaller and smaller. And it’s the slow people who aren’t showing up anymore. It’s gotten to the point where I’m pretty sure I’m the slowest runner of the bunch. This kind of bummed me out as we headed down the trail. Then at the 30 minute mark we turned around and I suddenly had a half mile lead! Woo-hoo!
The sixty minute run was not as intimidating as it was just a month ago. Now that I’ve finished a 15K, running constantly for 1 hour and 45 minutes, these sixty minute runs seem like cake. Cake that has been sitting on the kitchen counter for a week and is stale and tough and impossible to swallow without a glass of milk, but still, cake.
I’m still waiting for a nice training day for these morning runs. The weather patterns had better get it together, because I have only one Saturday left. But at least I know that if there is snow, ice, fog, or rain on the day of the mini-marathon, I’ll be able to handle it.