Once we got home, I immediately took a shower to warm up and also get all the caked mud off. We relaxed for a few hours before heading to the dinner. Once we were there I could not wait to eat - I was so hungry. Who knew that XC racing could cause my appetite to go crazy!
After dinner, Joan spoke to us again briefly. She really seemed to be enjoying herself even though I could tell she also wanted to get back home. I bet is tough to be traveling so much.
After dinner I worked up the courage to go over to her and ask for a picture. I was so nervous but she readily agreed. My running buddy jumped in too and you can tell from the picture we are both quite tall compared to Joan (we are both wearing flats - Joan was wearing her Nikes!)
After dinner, everything caught up with me - the long week of work and planning for the XC race, all the running, the racing, just everything. I had planned to try and get up early to run to the nearby farmers' market but I started to have second thoughts and decided that I needed a day to sleep in.
As we were walking out the door, my coach came up to me (and my running buddy) and pulled us aside. He said that Joan had expressed a great desire to run the next morning before she boarded her plane home. She wanted to run on the canal path that runs through the suburbs and our coach wondered if we would like to join her. Of course I signed myself and my running buddy right up! We were in! My sleeping in plans went right out the window.
Sunday morning was ANOTHER early morning. 6:30am the alarm went off and I rolled out of bed. The first thing I noticed was that the inside portion of my quads near my knees were very sore. But that wasn't going to stop me from running with Joan Benoit!!
I enjoyed a beautiful sunrise as I ate my breakfast and got ready to go. It was a bit chilly out and I opted to over dress instead of being cold. I am sad to say that I gave in and wore my LONG spandex. It's official - its getting colder out and winter is almost here :(
I made the short drive to our meeting place and waited for everyone to arrive. Soon enough it was time to start and we headed to the canal. The sun was shining brightly and we started out at what seemed a decent pace, but Joan quickly warmed up and I saw the pace on my garmin dropping.
The first mile was around 7:45 and we didn't slow down. Joan was very talkative and seemed to be really enjoying herself. The second mile ticked by in 7:21. My legs were a bit tired but I knew I could hold on to the pace we were running. The second mile ticked by in 7:05. She was going FAST and I didn't know how long I could keep up with her or if it was even smart to try. The fourth mile ticked by in 7:17.
As we headed into the fifth mile, I knew I shouldn't continue at that pace - I didn't want to hurt myself by pushing too hard, so at the 4.75 mile mark, I stopped and waited for my running partner who had decided to slow down a bit earlier. We let Joan continue on for a little and decided to try and get a head start back. Joan caught back up to us at about the 7.5 mile mark and just kept on going!
First 4.75 miles with Joan - 35:14, 7:25 pace
Second 4.75 miles back - 37:32, 7:54 pace
Total - 9.5 miles, 1:12:46, 7:39 pace
My legs were dead after this run but I was so happy for the once in a lifetime chance to run with Joan. She was truly amazing and such an inspiration! The rest of the day I spent resting on the couch with my recovery socks. It was a good weekend!