It figures that the just days before my first (official) half-marathon, I find a 16-miler race a few towns over from me.
I have been looking for races between now and next year. Half marathons to keep me from getting soft and potentially backing out of the Chicago Marathon. I was excited to run the Quincy Half Marathon, only to learn that the 2013 half marathon was the last one.
However, during my search, I found the Derry 16-Miler: a run that is considered a "Boston prep" race (aka, if you're training for the Boston Marathon, you better run this race in preparation). It's in the middle of January, with elevation that could turn Heartbreak Hill into Amicable Breakup Hill. It's definitely not for the weak-minded.
And I signed up for it as soon as I could.
I'm not afraid of the Ashland Half-Marathon. After running 13.33 miles, I'm more afraid of an unexpected injury or *knock on wood* crap weather. So now it's time to up the ante. Sixteen miles. Aka a marathon minus ten miles.
Adding three miles to my longest run between now and January isn't exactly a challenge. But continuing to train during the winter is. Running for hours on end when all you want to do is stay inside and drink hot cocoa is.
But, again, I'm not afraid. I like taking on these physical challenges and proving, time and time again, that I can do it. That I can run on a natural run. That I can run over 13 miles. That I can do the more advanced yoga poses. That I can sling a sword (and that's not a euphemism).
I get to wake up bright and early tomorrow, drive an hour and a half to Ashland, where the original Boston Marathon started. I'll run like a maniac, hopped up on ibuprofen and Gatorade chews. Then I'll dive head first into my favorite type of "Greasy greasy cheesy cheesy salty fatty greasy," food (aka Johnny Rockets food). Then I'll take a long, long, long bath. Then I go on my recovery run the next day.
Then, the training begins again. See you at the finish line.