Wednesday morning I ran my first 5k of the week in actual daylight. Not just daylight. Despite the frosty temperatures that caused ice to gather like dew on the grass covering the park in a dusting of glitter it was perfectly sunny. Not warm but bright. I performed more evenly in this 5k with two 9:55 minute miles and 9:13. Monday and Tuesday’s runs had pesky 10 minute miles in them which upped their times.
I thought that people who hide in gyms all winter waiting for the warmth of summer to run are truly missing out. Granted my fingers were freezing but my feet were pounding over earth hardened by frost. Birds sat on a frozen lake looking confused but still getting on with it. Air plumed out visibly before me reminding me to monitor my breathing. My knees reminded themselves to lift up and avoid the ache from the cold. My arms reminded themselves to reach forward in their air. I’d spent the week working on my press up form and getting to ten press ups per set to work on upper body strength.
My inner monologue shouted things like, “Go hard or go home”, “Grab the air with your arms”, “Knees up”, “Remember your core” small mantras to help me focus and try to maintain that focus.
The most challenging day was Thursday when I had to get up at 6:15 to get the run in before the school run and then go to work the late shift at Ovo. Maybe it was the full moon energy helping my determination but I woke myself up and pushed out of bed with, “That sub 5 hour at Alexander The Great Marathon won’t run itself!” I nearly gave in on this run because the cold and lack of air caused my asthma to play up but it was too beautiful to not continue. The full moon with rainbow rings around it shining through the scattered clouds was setting in the sky hanging low waiting for the dawn to give way to sunrise before letting the sun take over the day shift.
Thursday evening was the night that I also decided that I would work towards a plant based diet. Steve and I had a date night at Nomu in Bristol and I ordered deep fried vegetables, with a side of sliced fried aubergines and Black Pepper Tofu with rice for a main. It tasted gorgeous and I was so full afterwards it was incredible! All those flavors made me decide that just maybe I could give up the bacon and enjoy long distance running until a late grande old age. I’d already, last month given up dairy due to allergies, so I figured I might as well go the whole hog and cut out the hog.
After a week of running 5k A Day I thought I would start to feel drained. Last year (2014) I averaged a tiny 10.5 miles per week. Scott Jurek runs 100 mile weeks, 10 miles a day, 25 miles on weekends. Kilian Jornet reportedly runs 3-4 hours per day during his training seasons. I’m no Scott Jurek or Kilian Jornet (my ultrarunning idol) but I’d like to build up my weekly mileage to help progress in my times in general. I came across new miles to run in my local area. I became a user of Strava due to the insistence of running friend and blogger Matt.
Instead of feeling drained I feel full of energy. I feel calmer and happier. This morning I broke the mold of a week of 9-10 minute mile average pace with an 8 minute mile so it looks like I’ve hit a point where I can work on getting faster. Not one single bit of my body aches or hints at injury like I was concerned it would if I ran each day. I don’t feel the need for a rest day like I assumed I needed after each run because that’s what training plans teach. As an extra awesome bonus I’ve lost 3lbs since Monday.
I think all those vegetarian and vegan based distance runners are onto something!