This weekend was the start of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. I finished building our sukkah on Friday morning before taking my younger son to school - Sherry decorated it after her school day and we were able to eat our Shabbat dinner in the sukkah on Friday evening. Actually, we have eaten most of our meals this weekend in the sukkah - it's so nice to be outside this time of year!
The weekend was pretty much jam packed with Sukkot stuff - going to synagogue and to meals in other sukkahs - so I scheduled my long run on Saturday morning. My college friend ZF was in town this weekend. She is also running the NY Marathon, so our training schedules were pretty similar - her plan was to run 10 miles and my plan was to run 12 miles - so we split the difference and planned to run 11 miles.
I found an 11 mile loop on RunningAhead starting at NIH and going down Wisconsin Ave to the National Cathedral, then taking Mass Ave to the CCT Trail and back into Bethesda. Looked pretty interesting, so we decided to meet up at the Medical Center Metro Stop at 6:30am Saturday morning. Unfortunately, the parking lot at the Medical Center Metro had signs that all parking was 30 minutes only - and there were no Saturday restrictions on the signs. So instead of risking it we drove into the Woodmont triangle of downtown Bethesda and parked at meters that did not go into effect until 9am (we would be done by then!). This would ultimately cut our run from 11 miles to 10 miles, but in the long run I don't think the extra mile or two on this run will make too much of a difference.
Finally we were off! ZF and I met in Ann Arbor our freshman year at UofM - 19 years ago! We haven't seen each other in about 6 years, however, we have communicated a lot over the past 3 years as she started to get into running.
It was hard to believe it had been so long since we actually saw each other. Just like old friends, it didn't matter how long it had been and we just started talking. For the next hour and 48 minutes conversation weaved from work, to running stories, to our families and our college friends. I swear it was hard to believe that close to 2 hours went by - our legs only making a periodic stop for a red light at a busy intersection. Actually, as we approached the National Cathedral, I was admiring the beauty of such a wonderful building and I don't even know if ZF noticed we were passing it!
We ended up running a little over 10 miles when all was said and done. We averaged a comfortable 10:44 pace - my average HR over the near two-hour run was 151 bpm. I guess chatting the entire way made my heart work a little harder, but still this was within a good, easy range. Here's the map of our run:
After this run I really started thinking of how wonderful this was. Normally, when I get together with someone I haven't seen in a while it is over a meal or a drink or coffee. Why not meet for a run? It's definitely healthier. And although not everyone is going to be able to run 10 miles, the conversation definitely makes the run seem shorter than it actually is.
Watch out friends and/or family members. The next time you come to town, I may invite you for a run instead of for a meal :-)
The marathon is four weeks from today! Our weekend plans are starting to come together now. I'm almost halfway through the book "A Race Like No Other" and I am getting really psyched!
I have one more super-long run - a 22 miler this weekend - and about $1,300 left to raise (if you are in a giving mood, please donate here). It's hard to believe it is getting so close.