By Nicole Cesare for Philadelphia Runner
First things first: a huge virtual fist bump to all the runners who survived this year's Boston Marathon, which looked absolutely miserable. As bad as it was for the runners, though, it made for great viewing from the comfort of my couch. What a surprising, inspiring group the top finishers were!
I was also cheering on the runner who inspires me most, Mirna Valerio, who was running her first Boston and representing us unconventional runners. Or, to borrow her words, us proud fat girls running. Anyone who's intrigued by that should check her out on social media.
One of the tips I've borrowed from Mirna is using mantras when a run gets tough. And I knew I might need those mantras this week. After a rough 9-miler and a week off with a cold, I was nervous as I set out for my 10-miler. This was my last chance to get in a good long run before race day, and I knew that if it didn't go well, my confidence would take a hit.
Luckily, the weather had finally taken a turn for spring, and I was running in a spot where you can't help but get good vibrations: the Ocean City boardwalk. The beach on one side, the ferris wheel on the other--I was so content taking in the sights that I was two miles into the run before I knew it. Unlike my 9-miler, I wasn't counting down the seconds to every walk break. In fact, several times I was chugging along so contentedly that I forgot to even take a break. (I did try to make myself stop and walk a bit when I realized this, because I'm still concerned about injury and don't want to overdo it.)
Since the boardwalk is just under 2.5 miles, I also incorporated the Somer's Point Bridge into the run, which provided some nice hills to test myself on. This was more challenging, and the point where I started playing around with some mantras that I might want to use on race day. "This is a gift" and "No day but today" were two that might stick. But even the hills couldn't dampen my spirits too much. I ran over and back, then back up to the boardwalk for a final couple miles.
And then it was time for the best part of running "down the shore," enjoying the post-run refuel. I'm partial to boardwalk pizza myself, but there are tempting options for every taste.
So, 10 miles down! Between now and race day, I'll be focusing on the shorter training runs, with a middle distance run next weekend. And, of course, obsessively checking the weather. After training through this never ending winter, I think we deserve perfect conditions on race day. But I'm sure those Boston runners felt the same way. Either way, see you in two weeks!