Tonight's slippery 6K run ended my third week of 10K training. It wasn't a fast run, and it certainly wasn't comfortable, with those giant, wet snowflakes sliding down my collar and up my sleeves, but it did the job.
So now I am one-quarter of the way to being ready for my first 10K race, which happens this May during the Edinburgh Marathon Festival weekend. I had wanted to run a 10K for my birthday, but the training timing didn't quite work out, and I am okay with that. Better to run confidently and happily instead. I'll also be running with friends, which will add to the fun!
To train, I am adhering strictly to a twelve-week regimen that starts out with three runs per week, bumping up gradually to five runs per week. Honestly, I cannot wait until that point. My running days are so much better than my non-running days that I hope soon I can regularly run at least five days out of every seven.
Subjectively, it feels like I have become a stronger, faster runner. I wanted to see the numbers to back that feeling up. Advanced metrics are only available with "pro" subscriptions on the sites I use, so I just took my most basic stats and compared them against the last twelve months. I was pleased with the results: my average distance is the highest it has ever been, and my average pace is the fastest. When I started running, I could barely run half a minute, and now I feel good running 45 minutes straight.
Despite all of these positives, it hasn't been easy. The negative self-talk is a constant running companion. Whenever a faster runner passes me, I feel a little self-conscious. I understand now why some trainers urge beginning runners to ignore pace, because it is such a bummer when I glimpse at my watch and judge my whole run based on how fast I'm running. The endorphins take longer to hit my system now, too, so I have to ignore the adolescent whining of my muscles for a mile or two before that all falls away.
Around the start of mile three tonight, I experienced something weird and wonderful. The whole way I had been fretting over how slippery the pavement was, convinced I was going to end up completely wiping out, perhaps even hurting myself enough that I wouldn't be able to run for a while. But my legs kept telling me, "Just go faster. We want to go faster!" My brain struggled with this for a few steps before I just said to myself, "Screw it, I'll aim for the grass if I feel myself start to slide." And I let my legs go faster. Suddenly I was surer on my feet than I've ever been, and the last portion of the run flew by in what felt like seconds.
Okay, metaphor for my life. I got it.
For the 10K this May, I am fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support. Please consider donating to this worthy cause.