I have a confession to make.
When it comes to long runs, I've been super lazy since the marathon. I haven't run double digits since October and I haven't run anything longer than 8 miles since November 1st.
My running group does a Saturday morning run that starts and ends near my house but I've always been hesitant to join them because I've heard they were fast. But this Saturday I told myself I was going to run with them and if I was bringing up the rear well, so be it. I'd take my iPhone and I'd just make up my own route if I needed to.
When my alarm went off at 6:30 AM on Saturday it was a struggle to get out of bed. But I did and I dressed in my warmest running clothes to ward off the temperatures in the teens. Tights with windpants. Long sleeved shirt with a fleece. Ear band and gloves. And off I went to meet the group.
From my house to the meeting point is just under .9 of a mile which means I really have no excuse not to meet up with them. And, when I learned the route, I realized that technically I wouldn't even need to run to the official starting point since the route overlaps the way I would run there anyway.
However, the rumors didn't lie and the group certainly is speedy. Thankfully one of the guys I've run with on other runs was there (in shorts!!) so I had a buddy the whole way. Since I'd never run much of the route before it was definitely an adventure. There were some challenging spots (icy sidewalks, snow covered train tracks, small hills) but we kept up a pretty good pace for the most part.
When we stopped at the halfway point to regroup someone pointed out that the entire top of my head was white with frosted-over sweat. By the time I got back to my house there were icicles hanging from the end of my ponytail that matched the ones on my eyelashes. The skin on my stomach was numb from the cold air and when I got undressed to get in the shower I realized that other parts of my body were bright red. Ahh, the joys of winter running.
Since the route goes through my neighborhood on the way back to the starting point I peeled off there and finished the last quarter mile by myself. Now I know, though, that if I want to get in a full 10+ miles on a Saturday all I have to do is run to the starting point, run the full route, and run home. Perfect. And just like on the Monday night runs, I'll either learn the route or get really fast. Let's hope for both.