Though I have to admit that there were times out on the seemingly never-ending Tow-path segment, run into an 18mph headwind, when I didn't know how I was going to do it. The temperature at the 7:00am start was 19oF and with the wind chill I don't think that the ambient temperature ever crept above freezing.
I am so thankful that I had packed an entire second outfit for my mid-course (mile 38) gear bag because I needed the dry gloves, the change of socks and shoes without frozen cushioning foam, the wind jacket (duh!), and the second pair of tights which actually covered my ankles. I don't want to even think about the amount of energy my body was expending just trying to keep warm during those first 6 hours. But at least we didn't have to deal with snow, or worse yet, rain.
The volunteers (and general spectators) at the aid stations were so incredibly helpful and supportive. I want to thank them all for braving the cold to come out and support us runners as they did. The tepid soup, frozen m&m's, and pb&j sandwiches kept me moving out there and I am so very grateful for them all.
The final 8-miles of rolling hills climbing up from the river to the finish, though a welcome change mentally from the constant level terrain of the tow path, were brutal on my body. I felt like I could walk faster uphill than I could run at that point and the few brief downhill sections vibrantly announced their presence to my quads and my knee ligaments. And yet still I was able to finish this race on the run with my final mile at 8:26 pace (comparable to the initial 3 miles of the day).
It felt so good to stop and savor the sunset before enjoying a couple slices of pizza and a quick shower before the awards ceremony. No, I didn't earn any special award for my performance beyond the Hostess cupcake and cup of hot chocolate..
Though one of my local newspapers (The Somerville Journal) did provide a brief write-up on my efforts to support the NESHV and honor our fallen soldiers through my running, which hopefully will remind its readers of some additional things to be thanful for this holiday season.
Happy Thanksgiving everybody.