Post-race breakfast. (Left to Right) Coach Lisa's husband Dave, me, Lisa and broadcaster Toni Reavis.

I’ve got a whole lot to say as I head into week 5 of marathon training, particularly some really interesting stuff about injury prevention (we all want that, right?) that my coach shared with me. But I’ve decided that deserves its own post, one I’ll put up later this week when I’ve got a bit more time.

I’m just happy right now, and I thought I’d take a moment to savor and share. Plus, I’ll be honest, I want to check out at least some of tonight’s Golden Globes. We saw The Fighter, up for a best picture-drama award, last night, and wow, what a great story and stellar acting. We were especially impressed with Christian Bale, who is up for a best supporting actor award, and Amy Adams, who apparently stole Joe’s heart as he watched (to which I said was just fine, since Mark Wahlberg, who played her ripped boxing boyfriend, and me have a thing going).

Running, we’re talking about running, right? Sooo, prior to the amazing movie, which really was the fabulous ending to a perfect Saturday, I ran my first Frozen Foot 5-miler here in Traverse City. The conditions were ideal, in my eyes, though I’m sure some people would have preferred cleared roads. But it’s a winter race, it’s called Frozen Foot, it should be snowy. And it was, thanks to several inches of fresh snow that had fallen overnight.

The race starts late – 10 a.m. – and is very laid-back. As in, couple hundred runners tops and a start line location no one’s really quite sure of until the horn is blown (mostly because runners stay inside the nearby elementary school until the last possible moment to keep warm). Standing on the snow-covered road, shivering in the wind moments before the race started, I felt part of a tribe of cool people who are as crazy as I am and actually like going out in the cold to run. I loved it.

Lisa, my coach, planned to be there and we decided to get breakfast afterward. Lacing and layering up at home prior to the race, I get this text from her: Just a reminder…still don’t think about pace. You’re just getting in the miles with friends.

It was great to have this reminder because even though I’m in the midst of building my base, just the word ‘race’ is enough to get me thinking about my time and how fast I can go. I reigned in that thought, instead remembering to just go out there and run. And have fun.

Lisa and I ended up running nearly the entire race together – she fell back toward the final stretch to talk with a parent of one of her students and told me to go ahead. Having taken it nice and easy with a steady yet not all-out pace the majority of the race, I felt strong enough that last half mile to kick it in and felt great about finishing strong. It was a bit of an a-ha moment, too, in that I realized yet again the importance of not going out too fast – I’m really understanding the idea of having something left in your tank to finish strong, as opposed to feeling like you’re dying during the homestretch.

At the finish, I saw the numbers flashing 41-something, but I can’t be sure. I still don’t know my exact time, and while I’m a little curious, I’m happy about feeling so good throughout the race, which took us through hilly neighborhood streets and a short stretch along East Grand Traverse Bay. Having the chance to run with Lisa also was a highlight, not only because it gave her a chance to see my running form and offer tips, but because we got to enjoy that awesome running-partner experience of getting to know each other even better.

Contributing to my happy mood is what happened after the race. Lisa invited me to a delicious post-race breakfast at the Omelette Shoppe with her husband Dave and broadcaster Toni Reavis, who is known as “the voice of road racing.” Toni has been the lead broadcaster and commentator for the nation’s top road racing and other events for more than 20 years. You may know his voice from watching telecasts of the New York City Marathon, the Chicago Marathon, the LA Marathon, the Prefontaine Classic, the European Track Circuit and many of the Rock and Roll events.

I suppose it speaks to my runner newbie-ness that I hadn’t heard of Toni and his work prior to learning he was coming to town this weekend to serve as speaker at the annual Bayshore training “kick-off” event. But both Lisa and Dave, who are veteran runners, definitely had and I sat in the restaurant booth just soaking up the conversation and running stories they all shared. I plan to write more about Toni and his stories at some point.

I’ll end this post (and get to those Golden Globes) with this: following an awesome night out that included a pre-dinner and movie snowshoe through the woods, today’s 8-miler unexpectedly included a new running partner: my husband – well, at least for part of it.

I’ll have to share the story sometime of how Joe was once the runner and I was the couch potato wannabe girlfriend, but suffice it to say that as I’ve logged the miles and racked up the races in recent years, he’s, well, not been all that much into running. He has, however, been a major reason I’ve been able to get so obsessed about running, being that he’s one who takes care of our kids during my runs and races.

But this morning, as I got ready for my long run, I threw it out there. “Want to run with me today?” He surprised me by saying yes. We took it nice and easy, padding through our neighborhood’s snowy streets and a few hills on a 4-mile loop. I kept going for another 4 after that to make my 8. Sharing those 4 miles with him, seeing him keep going despite the hills, his cold-induced asthma and the fact he hadn’t ran in a few years, was … a bit indescribable. It just made me feel good and right inside, having the chance to share something with him that’s become such a big thing in my life. He said afterward he felt great, a bit sore in a good way, and that he wanted to get back into running.  

Well, with that, I’ll say goodnight. More soon~I’m upping my mileage this week just a bit and will share more on that and other great training stuff soon. Here’s to making it a great running week!

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