I think we can all agree that the first long run after 13.1 miles is basically when shit gets real for marathon training. For people who haven’t gone the distance yet, maybe there’s a little terror. Breaking a new distance record can be really exciting, forging into the unknown to get that buzz that maybe you haven’t felt in awhile. (FYI, you can make yourself sick running at any distance, though. You don’t need a marathon to help you feel like crap, 5ks are great for that.)
After some lackluster runs, I wasn’t looking forward to the 14 miler on the schedule to be totally honest. Okay, I was delaying it as much as possible and telling myself it was because my shin hurt from our Friday boat flip. But I know enough to know that this is the run where I have to hunker down and get my shit together since I haven’t run this far since January. I had low expectations for a variety of reasons, and decided instead of running near my parents since I was home in NJ, I would change it up even more and run in Princeton. I haven’t run there in a year so I thought it’d keep things interesting and opted to drive 10 minutes for a change of scenery. Maybe I would get smarter in the process. Ha. Fat chance.
Princeton is what race directors will coyly call “rolling hills,” which is code for if you’re not going down, chances are you’re going up. I passed on the flat towpath popular among runners because of rain and stuck to pavement, heading down Nassau Street (early and while it was still raining so it wasn’t crowded) past the bookstore I used to work at and the NJ governor’s mansion to the Hun School, then back via a circuit of back roads with fancy houses, finishing mile 12 through what was once called “the Golden Ghetto,” past the historic cemetery near Paul Robeson place, and coming to a finish at the Princeton North Shopping Center. I was perfectly positioned at the close of my run to pick up a slushie and some string beans from the Chinese restaurant. It was ideal.
FYI, people, THIS is MY New Jersey. It’s beautiful. So KEEP MAKING YOUR JERSEY JOKES BECAUSE WE DON’T WANT YOU HERE ANYWAY.
The only thing better was the run itself. I loved it. Instead of feeling like the rolling hills were going to kill me, they felt great. They kept it interesting and I enjoyed running up them since running up alleviated the shin pain I was having. At each hill, I sang the Decemberists’ “they rise to me and I blow them down!” to myself. The weather was great, in the 70s with lowish humidity and rain for the first 4 miles that cleared up to partly cloudy with loads of shade.
It was a great run and I was desperately in need of one of those, especially the long run. In marathon training, nothing makes you feel better or more secure than a good long run. How’d everyone’s weekend run go? Anywhere you’d drive to run?