After a frustrating, overwhelming, emotional (for no reason) day yesterday, I was dying for a run. I went to sleep in my running clothes last night to ensure I would be able to run today. I dropped Zeke off at school, made a quick stop at Home Depot for a couple of things, and headed to the bike path in Brunswick. I had hoped to go out and back twice to get in over 10 miles, but ended up only doing one for a total of 5.34 miles. The trail was a little icy in spots, but the Parks and Rec Department do a great job keeping it clear and safe through the winter months.
Since I haven't been running much I have been really worried that I had lost a lot of my fitness and running ability. The struggle-fest five-mile run on Zeke's birthday in December got me down and worried about how next month's Mid-Winter Classic 10-Miler was going to go. Last year, it was an awesome race for me, my pace literally just a couple of seconds off my 10K PR pace. I was thinking there was no way I would be able to PR this year given all my time off. Anything can happen, but after today's run, I'm feeling much better about having a solid race.
I didn't run with my watch, but tracked distance and time on Runtastic using my borrowed smartphone and kept it in my pocket. At the turnaround I was very tempted to look at it, but decided against it. I think if I saw that my pace was slower than my perceived effort I would have been disappointed and struggled through the last half. So I waited - only to be surprised by my time at the end.
I finished in 44:30 with an average pace of 8:20. Not super fast, but for a training run by myself and given my lack-luster training, I consider it a win. It felt tough at times, but I just kept plugging away and pushing through the painful spots which is what I really need to be working on after months of getting comfortable with long, slow distance.
Mile 1- 8:35
Mile 2 - 8:05 (wahoo!)
Mile 3 - 8:23
Mile 4 - 8:11 (and this one felt like the slowest!)
Mile 5 - 8:20
Last .34 - 2:56
This leaves me feeling good about my fitness level and I also have further solidified what factors (usually) lead to a good run for me.
One, run on a nearly empty stomach. When I was waking up early to run, I would never eat beforehand. Last month's crappy run was later in the day after eating a big meal. Today, I only had a cup of coffee. If I was going to run longer I would fuel on the go, but it turned out that I only had time for one out and back anyway. I do have to say I was starving after, though.
Two, I love the cold and hate the heat. The bad run was mostly on the treadmill in a hot little room with the only ventilation from the puny treadmill fan. It seems all training runs and races in the heat equal a poor performance. It was in the 20s at last year's Mid-Winter Classic - maybe another reason I did so well? Today's temperature was 19 degrees. And it was glorious! I'm a Maine girl, through and through! The only cold part was in the beginning when some wind was coming off the river freezing my left nostril (yes, just the left), but after that I was seriously hot. I had on my C9 tights from Target and Zensah calf sleeves underneath. On top I wore a long sleeve tech tee from the Maine Marathon and my Brooks Utopia cold weather jacket. I also wore a fleece headband that covers my ears and warm alpaca fingerless gloves that have a part that flips over to make mittens. After the turnaround I had to take my fingers out and I was sweating like crazy.
Today's run was just what I needed to get back on track. I've been running with the dogs at night to get miles in while I find the right day to day schedule of our activities. I'll be posting about how that is going soon.
What works for you? Food or little to no food? Hot or cold temps?