This is my last hard week of training before taper week. So I’m pretty seriously jacked up right now. Today’s plan called for a 35-minute run and a 15-mile bike ride. I decided to do the run early this morning, something I haven’t done yet this season. I got up early, had some breakfast, dealt with some laundry, watched a little SportsCenter and then checked the weather.
40 degrees. Chilly. Not raining, and not windy, but still chilly. However, with Area Man’s comment ringing in my ears, I decided to go anyway.
Nervous about the cold, I put on a t-shirt, a long-sleeved mesh running shirt, and a fleece shirt over that. I also put on my thin nylon gloves and a Packers winter hat.
I drove to the Plank Road trail and set off. Ten minutes later I was dripping with sweat. I had heard some advice about cold-weather running; “If you’re warm before you start, you’re overdressed.” I ignored that advice, and I was overheating.
So I slowed to a walk to pull off my hat and my fleece shirt, which I tied around my waist in a super-cool fashion statement. Now appropriately clothed, I set off again. Remember this part of the story; I had to walk for probably a full minute.
I wasn’t hot and I wasn’t cold. In fact, I was quite comfortable running along. There wasn’t much traffic on the highway that parallels the trail, and there was almost nobody on the trail itself. I just put one foot in front of the other, and really lost myself in the run.
I turned around at 17 minutes and noticed I was at just under a mile-and-a-half, and I realized I was on a better-than-goal pace. That got me motivated to try to beat my 5K race goal, which is 35 minutes. So with a little extra spring in my step, I headed back.
And then more magical stuff happened. My mile pace kept dropping. It seemed like every time I looked at my watch, I was running faster. 10:00. 9:40. 9:25. 9:14! And I wasn’t AT ALL winded or fatigued or in pain or anything. I was actually getting stronger as the run went on!
This journey to real permanent weight loss and real tri training has gone through some phases. From the painful, frustrating slog of the first few weeks to mildly surprising endurance to actually ENJOYING exercise, I’ve been amazed at each new phase. But this, this new thing of not just surviving a workout but having it build me, energize me, motivate me… this is something I NEVER thought I’d see.
I could feel the adrenaline pump as I approached 3.1 miles. I was completely jacked up. I passed the mark, slowed to a fast walk and checked my watch.
33:11. A new PR for 5K. Five seconds faster than my Cellcom 5K and almost two full minutes faster than my goal pace.
This is fun.
I rode after work. Nothing magical about this ride, but nothing wrong with it either. Fifteen miles in 57 minutes – just a little slower than race pace. A good ride.
Tomorrow, I’m crashing my spin class I’ve been skipping for the past several weeks so I could ride outside. It’s the last class of the session and I want to show off a little. Maybe I’m being cocky and the spin will kick my butt – our instructor is a madwoman. I love her though; she’s been super supportive all throughout my weight loss. Makes up for all the yelling.