While the East Coast prepares for the “perfect storm”, we are having the most imperfect weather here in Ohio. The past two days have been cold and rainy. Not terrible for a day like yesterday when I had two indoor workouts planned. Terrible this morning when I headed out to run 20 miles. I had everything packed up to drive down to the towpath and as I backed my SUV out of the garage I stopped. I just couldn’t do it. By myself, in the cold rain, running 20 miles. I went back inside, loaded my gym bag with indoor running attire, texted my trainer to update her, and I headed to the gym instead.
For anyone who is a distance runner, it is difficult to discern which is worse – running 20 miles is miserable, damp, cold rain or any distance over an hour on a treadmill. I love winter running. Twenty degrees with snow – I would take over a day like today easily. This is the kind of weather that lowers your resistance and welcomes those horrible germs that grow as if the world is a petri dish. So for me, the lesser of two evils is the treadmill. I made it for twelve miles. That is twelve miles on a treadmill. No speed work, steady pace staying in zone two. (My nose just twitched thinking I probably did more running in place than a hamster on a wheel…) It was far more challenging mentally than a run twice the distance outside. I read for the first half and then switched over to up tempo music. I did push it a bit the last three miles to get closer to race pace. At least I felt that the run was productive in working on race pace running on tired legs.
Yesterday my trainer emailed me my running plan for November. Next week my long run is 18 – 20 miles and two weeks after it is 20 – 22 miles. I have already done one 18 mile long run, two 16 mile runs, and a 15 mile run. With the distance I have put in and still have time to get a few long runs in before my race, I feel I will be prepared. My last marathon was in February of 2011 and I set a personal record after only running 17 miles for my longest long run. It was a very tough winter and the sub zero temperatures limited outside long runs. I do remember doing that 17 miler – on a treadmill. The mental preparation makes up sometimes for the shortened physical miles.
Today is another example of how all the planning in the world will not do much good if circumstances out of my control “blow the wind” in a different direction. Friends of mine also ran outside this morning on the towpath. Next week we are holding each other accountable. My friend texted me and said had she known, she would have guilted me into going with her today. You know, that would have worked too. I can plan all I want, outside circumstance can change and influence me, but friends also add a bit of sunshine to a dark day. So next week I know I will get my miles in. Once again, with a little help from my friends.