9 Miles Along the River

After Thursday’s painful, insole-less run, I redeemed myself on Friday with an excellent lunchtime run – I work from home on Fridays in the summer, which means I have time for lunch break runs. I’ve never taken one, so I was nervous and stopped every mile to check my email. Fortunately, it was a quiet hour. I even stopped on my route to pick up my prescription for new contacts. I’m going back to daily contacts after trying, unsuccessfully for 8 months, to make the 2-week contacts work. I’ve been wearing only glasses for about the last 3 months, except contacts for runs, workouts, etc. More on that in this post.

I was signed up to go to a free outdoor barre class on Saturday morning (actually technically I was on the wait list but they kept posting about it being an “open” event on social media so I was planning to just show up), but I realized a 10am class would force me to be rushing around to make my afternoon plans in Somerville. I was up at 7am, so I decided to walk Chip, eat breakfast and drink coffee under a blanket while enjoying the first truly cool morning in months, and eventually got dressed and worked out in my living room. I did a 10-minute kettlebell workout – my first kettlebell workout since purchasing my own 10-pounder a few weeks ago – and then a 20-minute sun salutation yoga flow. All in all, I got my heart pumping and only sweat a little as I was standing in front of the open door to my deck, but I didn’t have to stress about having time to get ready afterward.

The Saturday before Labor Day weekend is always the last Saturday before college football starts, and the SEC alumni here in Boston get together for an annual bar crawl. I’ve gone every year for 4 years now and it’s always been a “hot mess” day for me but this year, I kept it tame. I knew I had a long run on Sunday, and last week just really dragged and took a lot out of me for some reason, and I was already tired by the time I got to the first bar at just before 2pm. I met some new Gator alumni and also some new non-UF transplants to Boston, but mostly hung out with my friend Jess. I had quite possibly the best fried chicken sandwich of my life at Kin Southern Cookhouse, which ensured that I would be sober enough to drive myself home after the next stop on the crawl.

I ended up going home and taking an epic evening nap. I woke up again around 8pm, walked Chip for the 4th (!) time that day, made myself some spaghetti (trying to carb-load), and went back to bed. Naturally, I slept like total crap and planned to sleep in Sunday morning, but I just couldn’t lie in bed past 7am, as usual. Chip and I spent the morning on the couch, cold for the second morning in a row (definitely NOT complaining about that), watching Netflix and drinking coffee and eating a nice greasy breakfast of eggs and fried potatoes. Finally, by 10am, I was ready to go.

I decided to switch it up this weekend and drove ~10 minutes to Artesani Park in Watertown, a popular running destination as it borders the Charles River, has lots of walking routes, and even a place to rent kayaks. I headed east from there, planning to turn around at the Mass Ave/Harvard Bridge. Unfortunately, I had numb feet pretty early on. It was uncomfortable by Mile 2.5, and the only relief was walking for a bit before running again. It was so frustrating. I tried altering my stride and my foot strike, but nothing really seemed to help. I passed a Marathon Sports tent around Mile 3-something but I just wanted to keep going instead of asking for advice from a shoe salesperson. Eventually, the numbness seemed to decrease in severity to the point that I was able to run the final few miles without walking, but it made for a long, slow, rather uncomfortable run. But almost every step was within a few feet of the river, and it was gorgeous.

Time/pace purposely hidden because…long run!

The weather could not have been more perfect. It was so cool for this time of year that I actually forgot about the sun’s strength, a got a little too much color. It took me a while to realize why I felt so lousy after my run. I was drinking tons of water and finally noticed how pink my chest, face, and arms were. It wasn’t a bad burn – just enough to make me feel crappy on top of running 9 miles while relatively hungover.

I totally forgot that Memorial Drive is car-free every Sunday between the Eliot Bridge and Western Ave. I honestly think my feet felt better running on pavement, because I didn’t walk at all for that entire stretch. It was so nice to see other runners, LOTS of people on bikes (and two inconsiderate college-age girls on a moped) including little kids, and people walking in the middle of what’s usually a busy road on an otherwise very scenic stretch along the river with Harvard University in the background.

My new rule is that I will no longer post the time/pace of my long runs for others to see. Because on long runs, I do not care about that. At the bar crawl on Saturday, I talked to my friend who runs ultramarathons (anything longer than 26.2 miles, but usually around 50 miles), and she reminded me that those long runs are all about distance, not pace. I will say that I was very pleased with my pace for this run. My first 4.5 miles were slower than the second 4.5, which is ideal. But mostly, I enjoyed the view, got frustrated with my numb feet, and was thankful my body allowed me to log 9 miles on it.

Those 9 miles made for my second-longest run since the Marathon – the longest being just 0.3 miles longer for the Boilermaker 15K.


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