My training plan has kicked in for my 50K in May, and Saturday was my first long run. It was also the first REALLY cold day of the winter. I arrived at the Elm Creek singletrack, at 5:45am, with an air temperature of 4 degrees. I got myself bundled up and headed out with my friend Amy for a shorter loop so we could try and meet up with the rest of the group that was arriving later.
Those first few strides out onto the trail felt horrific as I adjusted to the cold air. I felt my heart rate start racing as I picked up speed, and it took a good 2-3 minutes before everything calmed down and I settled into a good rhythm. The trail was clear of any snow, and the only light was from our headlamps. We chatted about life, and before I knew it we were already at the 3 mile mark. Things were clicking along really well, and my body was warming up really nicely.
About mile 5.5 we ran into some other of the early runners and we joined them briefly before they sped off into the distance. In my head I had remembered this being a 6 mile loop, but in fact it was just my brain’s wishful thinking, as we pulled back into the parking lot at mile 6.8. We realized that we missed the big group that was starting at 7, so we headed out again, with Amy joining up with our faster friends from the early morning crew.
I decided to head out to the 3 mile mark, and then turn back along the road to get in a solid 11 mile run. The last time I had run double digits was October 22nd, and that was for a race. In fact, I hadn’t done a double digit training run since August 23rd. There had been a few races in there, but nothing that was accomplished with my own self-motivation to get out and keep me going. That’s how much my running had slipped this fall.
I’m excited that Saturday went so well, as well as the weekday runs during the prior week, since it shows that I can get myself back into the swing of things again. I’m hoping for a really strong winter season again, as it not only gave me some great races last year, but also helped me enjoy the cold months of the year, and not stress over them.