I started 2014 with the Resolution Run, and I finished 2014 with the Resolution Run. What great bookends to the year! It feels a little strange to not have had the run this morning, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed doing it last night.
It was cold but not really. I think it was about -8 Celsius, which is not actually very cold at all. I have done previous Resolution Runs at that temperature, but there is something about the darkness of night that makes cold feel so much worse. Thankfully there wasn’t any wind. Still, it was cold enough when you are basically wearing tights on your legs. I knew my body would eventually become more than warm enough, but the first kilometre was very chilly. My toes were cold. My fingers were frozen. My nose and cheeks felt numb. Shortly after the first kilometre, I no longer felt the cold. Soon my hands and feet were too hot, but I wasn’t going to peel off any layers.
I had brought my traction aids along, but I decided not to wear them. The route was all on sidewalks/bike paths which were mostly clear of snow and ice. The spikes wouldn’t have really been of any benefit on such clear surfaces and would only really have been useful when crossing one ‘sheet of ice’ road. I shortened my stride and stepped gingerly on the road and just kept my eyes glued to where my feet were taking me. No regrets on not wearing my spikes!
Running in the dark of winter was a new experience for me, but I kind of liked it. Half of our route was isolated and serene. The quiet, the glow of streetlights, the winter scenery all contributed to an enjoyable, peaceful run. Between being mindful of my steps and enjoying the serenity of the run, I was taken by surprise when I got to the turn-around point. I think I could have kept going!
My expectations coming into the run were rather low. I hadn’t run 5K in more than 3 months. I had only done two short runs in the past 3 months! I wasn’t used to running in the cold or snow or ice. I was used to my Resolution Run times being a little slower than a similar distance run in the summer. I told my daughter that I expected to take 40-45 minutes. I also didn’t expect to have the stamina to run the entire distance without taking at least one, maybe two walk breaks.
Someday I might learn not to under-estimate myself!
As I finished the first kilometre, the MapMyRun voice inside my earbuds told me that I had run that first kilometre in 6 minutes and 3 seconds. Say what? Really? I ran that fast? No way! Wow! That pace would be most excellent for me even back in the summer when I was doing a lot more running! Even though I didn’t feel like I had been running that fast, I knew I had to pace myself or I’d never be able to finish. After all, I wasn’t in peak running form anymore.
Yes, I do under-estimate myself. A lot!
Since I ran 3K on Christmas day without walking, I was reasonably confident that I should be able to equal that performance. I was pleasantly surprised with my pace at the end of each kilometre. The fourth kilometre was the slowest at 6 minutes, 31 seconds…and really, that is a perfectly good pace for me! As I started the final kilometre, still running non-stop, I began to have fresh doubts about my ability to run the entire distance. The legs began to complain quite seriously. Honestly, I’m surprised they took so long! My quads and hamstrings were still reeling from Monday’s squat session, so I was impressed that they were quiet as long as they were. They complained, loudly and persistently, but I was now determined to finish well.
At the end of the fourth kilometre, I had been running for 25 minutes and some seconds. I quickly determined that, with my current pace, I would finish much earlier than I had expected. There is something tantalizing about seeing a golden opportunity dangling in front of you just waiting to be plucked. 25+6=31 Now I knew that I could most likely finish under 32 minutes, which would be better than any of my previous Resolution Run finishes. My stride lengthened even more. Final time was 30 minutes, 52 seconds! Not only was that my best Resolution Run time, but that was also faster than any other 5K race that I have run! I guess my cardio conditioning survived the lay-off better than I thought…or that 10, 000 kettle bell swing challenge really helped.