The Best Runs (Are the Unexpected Ones)

Sometimes you go out for a run not knowing what to expect, other than the fact that you’re going to be running.  Today was one of those days.

I sat there at work putting in some overtime, looking out the window at the grey sky, just thinking about maybe I should go running because if I end up not getting deployed this week, I have the stage race over the weekend.  That came up fast, didn’t it?  I got home with enough time to spend an hour running and get back in time to watch the Buffalo Bills do what they do best (not play football).

The plan was to drive to Delaware Park, but since I have the rental, I can’t put the keys around my shoelaces.  Scratch that plan.  City running ended up being the only option for today.

So I just started running.  I had a little cramp, but that’s to be expected when you eat pizza for lunch and dinner the day before and then breakfast that morning.  After about a mile, I tried to decide at which point I should turn around.  Was today a 3 mile run feel?  Maybe 4?  I decided to keep running straight towards downtown and we’d evaluate after every few blocks.  I got to where the bar strip turns into the business district, which is about 2 miles in and I still felt pretty fresh – four miles was not enough today.

Okay, maybe we’ll do a six-miler.  

Six miles, if we’re doing an out an back, takes me almost to the waterfront.  I’ve only done this route once and I think I added an extra mile on before heading downtown, but I recall almost dying on the way back.  Granted, it was before my half marathon and my stamina wasn’t what it is today, but I definitely did not prepare for a six-mile run.  I decided to push for it, what’s the worst that could happen?  That statement usually means the worst did happen, but I assure you that didn’t happen today!  Mile three ticked off right at the start of the waterfront and marina, but if I turned around I wouldn’t get the see the lake and then really, what was the point of running down here?  So I kept on truckin’, even through the wind.

Now, I’ve always been a baby when it came to the cold and wind.  My cross country season always ended at the end of October, except my senior year, and I was a whiny mess the Thanksgivings I ran the Turkey Trot.  I don’t fare well with cold.  I don’t fare well with cold wind.  I don’t fare well with snow.  And I definitely don’t fare well with freezing rain.  So running down by the waterfront when the temperature is nearly at freezing and the wind is blowing, without any sun?  Big steps for this girl.

After my Garmin was showing 3.5 miles, I figured maybe I should turn around.  I was almost at the end of the marina, anyways.  I stopped it and did some stretching along the rocks, pretty much just taking in how beautiful Buffalo is, even on the cloudy and windy days.  When I started back up, I saw another runner coming towards me — the first (and only) runner I saw on my entire route.  Generally, I look the other way because street runners around my apartment aren’t the friendliest, but I decided to offer a smile today, which was returned to my surprise.  It’s kind of nice when you see another runner and you both acknowledge each other, especially on a day like today.  It’s like you’re both nodding to, “Yes, we’re both this crazy to come out here in the cold and run today.”

The trek back was unbelievably quick and easy.  I felt like I was flying and somehow once I realized I only had two miles to go, my legs decided to do a bit of a sprint.  That seems to be what my body wants to do lately, I just can’t have an easy run for the entire length.  I won’t complain, my splits made me feel great!  At mile seven, I stopped the watch and walked the last quarter mile home as a cool down, but I felt like I could have gone at least another mile, maybe more.  The only thing stopping me was that 1pm Bills game that I probably wouldn’t have even missed if I decided to run all the way until 4pm.

Today’s splits are what makes unplanned 7-mile runs welcomed, at least in my book:

Split Time Distance Avg Pace
Summary 1:02:22.0 7.00 8:57
1 9:03.4 1.00 9:03
2 8:52.7 1.00 8:53
3 8:49.9 1.00 8:50
4 9:09.0 1.00 9:09
5 9:04.8 1.00 9:05
6 8:46.3 1.00 8:46
7 8:34.1 1.00 8:34

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Just a 20-something homegrown Buffalo sports loving, distance running, gin drinking kind of girl.

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