At last the snow and ice melted enough for me to get out for my first run of the year yesterday.
I could probably have got out a little before now but I really didn't fancy slipping and sliding, risking injury and freezing my nuts off so waited until I was sure that almost all the ice had melted. Also, I hate running when it is so cold that every time you breath in it freezes your airways and eventually can give you a right sore throat.
I had tried between Christmas and new year to get out for a run and I had turned back after about a mile as it was too dangerous and felt like I was giving myself a throat infection.
According to my training records this was my first decent run since I did 6 miles on December 15th. I had played a couple of hours of football since new year so I wasn't expecting to be totally out of shape but I hadn't exactly been watching what I was eating over the holidays and have put on a few pounds.
I decided on my route; a 7 mile loop that starts downhill for half a mile then is flat for the next 2 and a half. After that it climbs steadily for about a mile and a half before another gradual downhill section and a slight uphill section to finish.
Mel was going to come along and ride beside me on her bike, as she wouldn't be able to do the 7 mile route with her having hardly ran since doing the half marathon in October and her slowly expanding baby bump.
The plan was just to take it easy and see how it goes. If I could stick to 9 minute miles that would be a fine starting point to build from.
The first big race I am planning to do this year is at the end of May, running as part of a relay team in the Edinburgh Marathon. I'll be doing an 8 mile leg and want to try and do it in under an hour.
I started off nice and easy and was running pretty freely and feeling quite good. After a couple of miles I felt nicely into my stride and was concentrating on maintaining good form.
Since I had a few injuries a couple of years ago I developed a habit of sort of swinging my left leg round to the front rather than pulling it straight through. I didn't notice how much I did it until I saw a photo of me running and then spotted my reflection in a bus shelter one day. It wastes energy and it really doesn't look cool.
I had a new selection of sounds on the iPod which kept me plodding along quite nicely. And I was wearing the headband and gloves that Mel got me for Christmas so I had warm ears and hands but a nice cool head.
I was sticking roughly to the 9 minute miles and was feeling good except for the blister I could feel beginning. That's what happens when I don't get out often enough, my feet get soft and can't take it.
I picked the pace up a little for the last couple of miles but I didn't have a whole lot left in the tank. I ended up finishing in just over an hour, so was running 8 minute 45 second miles. Not too bad for the first decent run in a month.
I have four months to get that down to 7 and a half minutes per mile. Better get busy on a proper training schedule to increase my speed.
Slightly stiff legs today even though I had a good stretch after I finished and a bit tight across the shoulders, but that will pass soon enough. Think I'll try and get out again on Wednesday, build it up slowly.