My new year has been off to a great (but busy) start! This past Sunday, we had our first team run for MGH!
We were emailed a meeting place and a map of our route a few days before. We met at a Dunkin Donuts along the marathon course and backtracked along the course for about 4.5 miles, then we turned around and met back at the Dunkin Donuts. This meant that we would be running the Newton Hills portion of the course, including Heartbreak!
While I was a little nervous about running through these hills, I felt pretty prepared for the run. My training plan called for 11 miles over the weekend, so I figured I could add a bit more mileage before or after the run. I'd been seeking out hills during my shorter runs, and I'd been running in the cold all along so I knew how much I wanted to bundle up.
I was still nervous though to meet up with my teammates. I didn't know anyone else, would I be awkwardly quiet while other teammates gabbed away? Would I be too slow and get left behind? Would I get lost and made fun of? What if everyone thought my running outfit was weird? Etc., etc., etc.
I am happy to report that I arrived at the Dunkin Donuts on time, and I chatted a little bit with other teammates. There were a couple of people who were friends running together, but certainly many individuals. Most people are running their first marathon, and one girl had never run more than 7 miles, so Sunday was a personal distance record! (I'm a little jealous because it's so exciting during training when every run is the farthest you've ever gone.)
Before heading out that morning, I grabbed my ipod as an afterthought. In case I got separated from the group, it'd be good to have, plus at least I'd have music for the train ride over. I'm glad I did because pretty much every other runner was sporting earbuds when we met.
We headed out at 9am, and in the excitement, I forgot to start my Garmin. I think I was a little more than a quarter mile off. Not a big deal since I knew the route mileage, but I'll have to be aware of that for next time. I was amazed by how many other people were out running along the route! Some seemed to be experienced and fast runners, while others were also training with a charity team. Some teams even had water stations along the route. The ground was snowy and icy, but the sidewalks were mostly clear or if there wasn't a sidewalk, you could run in the carriage lane. Everyone mostly kept single file, and while I think I was running about the same pace as a couple other teammates, we didn't run together.
The first half of the run totally flew by. I was at 4.5 miles before I knew it, and I felt great. On the way back as I fought up several long inclines, I could see why! I didn't realize how many downhills I was enjoying. The hills were rough, and I'm definitely scared to conquer those after having already run 16 miles. I definitely want to run on the Newton Hills more before the race, so that on April 15th, I feel totally confident on them.
Toward the end of the route, I accidentally followed two non-MGH runners. This was totally fine except that while my teammates were on the other side of the street than I was. I could see a few of them discussing the run, but I still wanted to run at least another mile. Plus, I was meeting a friend for brunch who lived about a mile from the Dunkin Donuts, so I figured I'd just run to her house. I ended up finishing 10 miles in 1 hour and 32 minutes. I'll take it considering I know the hills and ice slowed me down!