I'm dragging myself kicking and screaming back to some semblance of running fitness, basically. March 1st is actually a pretty big wakeup call as the rough plan in my head calls for about 280+ miles in March so that in April I can start actually putting down some good workouts aimed at racing the 5k in May and June.
That being the plan, last night I hit the rack early in order to get out early enough to do 10 miles and be back in time to drive Allie to school for Wind Ensemble at 7am. I got up at 5:11 and turned off the alarm before it could go off, got dressed, put in the contacts (the worst thing about being a morning runner) and sneaked down the creaky wooden stairs. A check of the weather showed it was a little warmer than anticipated, about 30 degrees, but windy enough to rattle the windows throughout the old house.
I was out the door just after 5:30 and got my first big blast of icy wind in the face as I made my way down the walk and out the driveway. It was dark but the sky was already showing a little light on the horizon as we are over the hump of winter now. I tried to warm up easy but it's tough when it's that cold--I always end up running a little faster than I want during warm up.
In my head I had one of my staple workouts--I probably do this one every 3 weeks or so when I'm into my base building. It's a really simple formula: 3 miles or so of easy warm up, then 3 times 8 minutes on and 3 minutes off, where "on" is threshold pace or so and "off" is an easy jog. I never really know how fast I'm going on this one. You can really make it as hard or as easy as you want but invariably I wind up making it a tough workout. 8 minutes doesn't seem like much but it can be pretty long when you've started out a bit on the fast side, especially in the early morning when it's cold out side and your nose is running and all that.
The route I was running is about a 10 mile "lollipop" loop that goes out 3 miles, does a 4 mile loop on the north side of town, then retraces the same 3 miles back to home. I started the 8 on / 3 off business right about the 3 mile marker and it took me all the way around the 4 mile loop and a bit more to finish, so by the time I was done with the workout part of the run, I was just over 2 miles from home. I jogged pretty leisurely for a while, my recovery slowed a little bit by having to go up the longest hill on the whole route, until I was about a mile from home and hit a flat stretch. There I threw in 4 x 20 second strides nearly all out, with about a minute or so of easy jogging in between. That took me almost all the way home and I just had a few hundred yards to jog to the bottom of my hill. The nice thing about those on/off runs out on the roads is time flies--a seventy minute run was over before I knew it and I even had time to start the car and let it warm up for a few minutes before driving Allie over to the middle school.