I have a confession to make.
I haven't been running.
To be honest, I really haven't had the desire. Maybe it's a delayed post-marathon response, but except for a couple of days, I really haven't wanted to run, or do much of anything physical. Compounding that is the unrelenting chest cold I have that just won't shake itself off. That's all the excuse I need, as if I needed one. But I love to run in the cold, and I feel like I'm somehow wasting the cold weather. And unfortunately, I still eat like I'm in training, and have put on some holiday weight. So, cough and all, back on the roads we go.
The other unfortunate thing that I've noticed is that while I might have indeed been fine for the marathon, my training improvements did not stick around this year like they did last year. I am slow. Slow, and my endurance is gone. Which disappoints me, and makes me not want to run. Which then robs me of whatever speed and endurance I've got left. Repeat until bloated.
So here's what we're going to do. We're going to start over. It's got to be like I never ran the marathon before. I've got to run long, slow miles and not worry about the speed at all. Easier said than done. But I've really got to build myself up for this year's training. I'm going to try to get at least three days of running in a week, two days of biking or elliptical trainer for an hour at a stretch, and two days of strength training. And the Wii Fit doesn't count, but it is fun to do! I'm also going to try to make one of the runs a hill workout, but not really do any consistent speed workout. My goal is not to think about speed at all, and really work on the endurance.
Speaking of speed, because as we all know, running and stenography is all connected, I have unofficially one more test to go before I graduate! I say "unofficially" because I'm 90% sure I passed my second test, but I'll know for sure this evening. And since the way I built speed in steno is, for the most part, concentrating on building my accuracy and letting the speed come naturally, can't that work the same for running? Please?
Saturday was my first race of the New Year, and my first run since the Midnight Run. It was the Fred Lebow 5 Miler, and of course I've got to do that! A big snowstorm was scheduled to hit NY, but not until a little later on that day (the race was at 8am.) I wore my Under Armour summer long-sleeve shirt, my technical hoodie and my Fred's Team shirt on top, of course! A bunch of us were doing the race, all in our orange. Five miles, counter-clockwise, from just before the 102 St. transverse, cutting across that transverse and down to the south end of the Park and back up the East Side.
And we're off! Where we were standing was very crowded. A lot of people did not start in their corralls, shame shame, and the first mile was very slow and crowded. I was happy for it, I didn't want to start out fast, or go fast at all. I really did try to concentrate on just enjoying the five-miler and not hurt myself after almost two inactive weeks. Which worked for a while.
Then I saw a couple of my Teammates around mile 3, and even though I love them, I get competitive. Not with them, but with myself. They know what I'm normally capable of, and there's that idiot part of me that doesn't want to appear "weak" or "slow" in front of them. So of course I start pushing it a little. I also didn't want to be over a 9:00 mile. That would be a big disappointment.
Even in the cold weather, I started getting hot. One too many layers on top. I flipped off the glove part from my Brooks gloves, and took off my hat for a while to let my head freeze a bit, but I hated holding my hat and put it back on.
One thing I don't like about races that start on the Upper East end of the Park, is that Cat Hill comes towards the end of the race. I've always been pretty good with hills, but at my pace, a lot of people tend to crap out around that part, and it becomes hard getting around people who stop suddenly and start walking. I don't mind the walking part, but move to the side, don't just stop abruptly in your tracks! Grr!
Finished just a shade under 45 minutes, for a 8:58/mile.
My work is cut out for me.