If I told myself I would run my longest run to date in New Brunswick, I would protest…maybe cry…definitely question my sanity. It’s not a bad place or anything, but NB and I don’t get along very well. My stress level skyrockets when I drive there, I have never had a fun time going out there…it just isn’t the town for me. I like my trees, trails, farms, two-way streets, and higher quality bars. Sorry. It’s true. Princeton does this to you.
All of these thoughts aside, I ran sixteen miles this morning…in New Brunswick. How on earth did this happen? Well, I knew Kate and Martin were running the E. Murray Todd Half Marathon Sunday, so they wouldn’t be up for a long run with me this weekend. Brennan told me Thursday that she was meeting up with fellow blogger Amy and the Raritan Valley Road Runners Saturday at 9:00 in New Brunswick. I got excited at the prospect of long run company and meeting new runners…and not excited when I heard “New Brunswick.” Actually, it was a Rutgers Half preview run. I have a lot of friends at Rutgers, including one of my best friends, Elana, so I apologize for saying all these negative things about the city in which your school happens to be located.
I switched work days again, Saturday for Sunday, which was a lot easier than last week’s crisis, and planned on going to the run. For future reference, if I am ever on the fence about going to a group run, my thought process always ends up something like this: “Maybe I will meet an attractive guy there. And it will change my life. I need to go!” What can I say, I am easily swayed. And dramatic.
So I went (The above circumstance did not come to fruition, unfortunately). I got there at 8:00 and ran about 6.5-7 miles alone, an out-and-back on the towpath. It was windy. You’d think I would have nice clothes for that. I don’t. It was definitely a shorts day though, which made me happy. I returned to the meeting spot at 9:00 and found Brennan and Amy. Luckily I stood still for a very short period of time before we were off. The “groups” that formed were extremely confusing, so the short story is: I didn’t want to slow my pace too much because I was in a good rhythm, so I passed pretty much everyone. Oops. I think we all have a pace threshold at which we change our form, which isn’t good. It kind of feels like the phrase “spinning your wheels.” Except literally. Except not. Anyway. I think mine is probably 8:45. When I run slower than that I feel like I’m skipping or something to stay behind where my legs want to go. I found myself running next to a girl with hot pink tights who I didn’t seem to be passing easily. We introduced ourselves, and ended up running together for the next seven miles or so. Apparently I was pushing her to run her half marathon PR pace (again, oops), but she was talking the whole time so I think she can run much faster! She let me go once we were back in the park after a mini-tour of the Rutgers campus (7 miles = mini only at Rutgers…) and I picked the pace back up (we were holding 8:20-30 which was nice in the wind) for my last couple miles. I stopped once I had given myself a couple minutes of a buffer to ensure I ran very close to sixteen miles. I was so glad I found someone to run with! I was seriously discouraged the first mile of running with the group….
Afterwards, we showered at Amy’s (thank you so much! The “shivers” came quickly today…) and headed to the Endurance Sports Expo in Edison! It was kind of odd to be at an expo that was not for a race. And that I wasn’t working! I saw a few familiar faces…got every free sample possible…including a bottle opener (score! Okay I asked if I could have it). I witnessed an Endless Pool demonstration – it does work. Crazy. I decided I would get one if I ever ended up a rich triathlete in Milwaukee. I randomly announced, “I want pizza” at one point, which sparked a movement to leave the expo and find the best local pizza place. The search was successful.
Overall, a fun day of running! The best part was, I could have ran six miles instead of sixteen, the way I feel! I had a gel and water ready in the car in case I needed it for the final miles, but I decided I felt fine. I even picked up the pace! Add four miles to that (and probably that Gu and water) and that’s twenty miles. Doable? Hmmm.
I am taking food donations (for myself…) for the rest of the night, by the way. Need. It. Now.