I am rounding out week 4 of my Boston training, and not without some interesting running the past few days. This winter has been all over the place—colder than usual, and snowier than the city of Lethbridge is used to. On Tuesday, a ray of hope appeared as it was above freezing and a lot of snow covered sidewalks were starting to melt. During my speed workout that evening, I was able to just puddle jump no problem. Little ice, just slush. Fantastic!
Then, overnight, it dropped WAY below freezing.
By Wednesday, all those pathways that was slush and becoming clear now became a frozen apocalyptic disaster. It was like hundreds of asteroids had hit Southern Alberta and planted themselves on the sidewalks I depended on running on. I had brought my running stuff to work and as I headed out at just before 4 pm for a 60-75 minutes “easy-paced” run, I knew it would be anything but. It was around 14 Fahrenheit outside, which I will say what I have said before…I don’t mind the cold at all. But the terrain conditions were the issue. I ran my first mile just a second above the max pace of my easy limit; 8:45. I was encountering more ice than I had anticipated, and 5th ave North to 28th Street North didn’t clear way. I was bracing my whole body so much as I ran, clenching my shoulders and watching my footsteps. During mile 2 I decided right then and there I would just run 60 minutes, as to just get the ‘on my feet’ feeling in. My splits were dreadful: 9:21, 9:24, 9:42, 9:41, 9:46. I finished 6.5 miles in a pathetic-for-me 1 hour 1 minute and 39 seconds. My whole body ached. I was mad. I went home and promptly molded myself into an Epsom salt and bubble bath filled tub. It was an ugly day.
My Thursday came and went; busy day at work. Lots of kids in my room in the afternoon preparing for their math final exams and diplomas. Before I knew it, it was time to go back home and get ready for my run. It had been above freezing during the day, and clear skies, so I had a glimmer of hope that the sidewalks had cleared more. Today’s workout was to be 50-60 minutes with 4 miles of it at my goal marathon pace. My goal pace is a solid 8:00 minutes per mile (3:30.00 full marathon time); that’s what I trained for last year during Vancouver training. Anything around that while in Boston I will be pleased with. I was nervous heading out tonight, as yesterdays run was a complete pile of shit. And I knew how disappointed I would be if I could keep 4 miles at this pace that was seemingly easy for me one year ago.
My warm up jog to Mayor Magrath/Henderson was 1 mile in 8:44, right at the top of my “easy pace.” Alright, after I cross the street, I would head north towards North Parkside Drive, stay on the road but hug the gutter while on N. Parkside, go by exhibition grounds, down South Parkside on the cleared sidewalk, and repeat until I hit 4 miles. My first mile felt shaky, and my legs were hurting bad. My quads and hamstrings have been feeling the burn these last 4 weeks as I started my official training, and I am hoping that heaviness will soon pass. I ran the first mile of my “goal pace” in 8:01. Alright, that is fine…but could I do better than that for the last 3? Or was I setting myself up to fail?
I rounded by exhibition grounds and Bullys to wear I got to the sidewalk adjacent to Henderson Lake Golf Course. This was COMPLETELY clear of ice and snow! YES!!! I think I was smiling as I was running, even though I was running into the wind! It was nearing the golf course entrance when I hit my second mile at goal pace, and I did so in 7:55. Faster than the first! Alright, I only had two more to go.
I rounded the corner of 10th ave and Mayor Magrath with some power. I had to keep this momentum going. I fought through some pain and hit my third goal-pace mile at 7:58. Three down and one to go.
As I ran the last mile, I ran on the road on North Parkside Drive. While Henderson Lake has a fantastic path, I could see out the corner of my eye that it had ice chunks and snow in various spots. The road was clear, so I stayed here. I wasn’t in the way of any traffic as I ran where cars would usually park on the side of the road during the summer. I pushed until I hit my last mile and was more than ecstatic to see a 7:45! I did it!
I rounded out the run by taking an easy jog through Henderson and headed back home via 10th Ave And for the heck of it, I decided to stop my watch a bit early (about four blocks) from my house. It was at that point that I hit 6.5 miles—-the same distance I did 24 hours prior. The time today, though, was 53:45 Much more like it!
To say I was happy about how today’s workout went would be an understatement. After a dreadful Wednesday, Thursday bounced me back up on that high that I needed. I love running outside, and I don’t want to give that up. I know I could drive to the University to run circles on the track indoors, but I don’t want it to come to that. Having a workout go as planned (and even better!) is a great mental boost. Rest day tomorrow and then a 13 miler to round out the week. Happy Thursday evening everyone!