The magical glow of morning does not exist on rainy days.
With a late night rehearsal, I didn't get to bed until almost midnight, which made 5:00 a.m. a less-than-desirable wake-up time. Still, I had an appointment tentatively scheduled at 10, which meant I absolutely needed another early start. Giving myself three hours to complete 19 miles allowed for the possibility of walking while still having time to come home, get showered, maybe eat something and get out the door on time.
On long run days, I take a little more time getting out the door. There's a system to how I do things. The first, most important step is waiting until I've had my morning bathroom stop. That's not something you want to suddenly remember an hour and a half from home in the middle of nowhere.
Since it takes a little time, I do a few other things to get ready. I check the weather, though today it was destined to be crappy pretty much the whole time. My latest addition to the routine is writing my water stop times on my hand. I need to get used to refueling like I will during the race, so I've timed out how long (at goal pace) it will take me to get to the water stops I plan to use in South Bend. These times get printed on the back of my hand, and those are the moments when I drink water or take a gel. So far, the system seems to be working like a charm.
Most of my equipment is laid out the night before, but as I stepped out the door, I realized that I felt much colder than anticipated, so I headed back inside for a hoodie and some gloves. I knew that these would eventually be uncomfortable in the rain, but I didn't want to waste all that energy just staying warm, so the sacrifice was made.
And then began the long, slow trudge. Really, that's not the right word for it, because I was pretty happy with my pace the whole way. It was the first really long run in the new shoes, and they held up beautifully, even on the wet pavement. I was careful not to push too hard, and even resisted the urge to check my pace at any time during the workout. Instead, I spent my time trying to remember how "Gypsy Woman" by Martin Sexton started (which I only managed to remember with half a mile left) and trying to avoid getting hydroplaned. Of course I was sprayed with mist the whole way, but I only got hit by one actual splash, and it was pretty tiny. There were no unlucky-girl-in-first-scene-of-romantic-comedy moments.
The last four miles felt downright good, though I did start to cramp up slightly just before mile 18. It didn't slow me down at all, but instead reminded me that, while I'm doing well, I'm not there yet, so I need to keep my focus ahead. I'll be honest, I'm actually excited about my long runs now, and though next week's will be broken up, I'm pumped to run my 20.
You know what the best part is? The best part is that by 9:00 a.m., I had already done the most difficult thing that I will set out to do all day.
Which I guess is kind of magical on its own.
45 Degrees, rain, wet, cloudy