I have to start out being totally honest. When I woke up at 6 this morning, rolled over and looked at the weather app on my phone and saw 10 degrees, I almost rolled back over and turned off my alarm. As much as I honestly enjoyed winter this year, I’m ready for some warmer morning runs. Like. Now. Please?
But then I dragged my bootie out of bed, made my pre-long-run Oatmeal Pumpkin Pancakes and a mug o’ green tea. I enjoyed a few more minutes eatin’ and sippin’ in my warm bed then put on my layers and headed out.
Today’s run was one of firsts: First run with my new Garmin and first run with the running club. Excited on both accounts. Mr. Higdon dictated six miles today. The running club was doing nine, as most of them are training for a race a couple weeks in advance of my half marathon. I was glad for the GPS, as the running club runs on a side of town I’m negative familiar with.
Just before they started the run, the group’s leader announced that the course was a hilly one (I was soon to find out that it was not “hilly” — it was HILLACIOUS.) and that there would be an aid station at mile 3. Good news because that’s where I needed to turn around. The rest of the group would continue for an additional 1.5 miles before turning back.
So we ran. There were, oh, 30 or so of us. I was a little nervous that I might not be able to keep up and that everyone would be running in mini groups of friends. But neither was true. I kept up just fine — toward the front of the crew for much of the run. And, while there were some small groups of four or five running together, there were several single runners like myself.
And, let me tell ya, this was the hilliest six miles I have ever run or, even, walked in my life. I don’t understand how it can be uphill out and back. But, it was. At least it seemed like it was. And the hills were long ones. But, I felt good. Other than a sore core — thankyouverymuch yogilates — my muscles were loose and ready for the run. My fingers and toes, on the other hand (or foot), were pretty well frozen through thanks to the super-cold air. But I had my gloves and my Smart Wool socks, so it wasn’t completely unbearable.
At mile 3 — exactly, according to my Garmin — there was an aid station with Gatorade, water, jelly beans and (my absolute, hands-down, win-me-over-every-time favorite) gummy bears. Had a quick break and brief visit with other members of the group. Said my goodbyes and turned back around to finish my run. My pace picked up a bit. At one point, I got down to a pace of 7:40. But that was very briefly, on the one short downhill.
Finished up the run at 59:48. Good time. I’m very happy for a sub-10-minute pace on a hilly course I was unfamiliar with.
I have a 10k next Saturday that I was, admittedly, a little nervous about. While I’ve run 6 miles several times, I’ve never come off of those runs feeling super confident, and I’ve never raced that many miles before. But, after today’s run I’m feeling pretty good about next week.
Side Story: As I was walking around and cooling down after the run, I was playing with my Garmin and not paying attention to where I was walking. I walked right into the end of a low-hanging branch and nearly took out my eye. I scratched the bridge of my nose and poked right into my tear duct. So, now I’m keeping my eye on it (ha!) to make sure I didn’t do any damage — you know, other than to my ego.