Despite signing up for the Great Western Half Marathon more than three weeks ago, I had only managed to squeeze in a single 3-mile run in the interim. A quick check of the calendar revealed that I was a mere 12 weeks away from race day.
After driving home from reffing a very slow-paced JV playoff hockey game around 4:30pm on Sunday, I checked the temps and realized it was ideal for my first outdoor run since a race just after Thanksgiving. 37 degree temps. 27 degree wind chill. And a big beautiful sun in a cloudless winter sky in Chicagoland.
It has definitely been too long since I’ve run outside (or at all…). I couldn’t find a working iPod Shuffle. My Garmin hasn’t been charged since November. And I took 10 minutes just to find my gloves. But I eventually managed to drag myself out the front door to go run. It was so bright out that I actually did need my sunglasses.
I haven’t been running anything but 3- and 4-milers on the treadmill since Thanksgiving. But I have been reffing a lot of hockey games. So I decided to test my current fitness level by ramping up right away to a 5-miler on my standard neighborhood loop. I didn’t have my Garmin to worry about time and pace and everything else—I was more curious to see how I’d feel with the distance.
The first mile felt glorious. Then all those running muscles that haven’t been used regularly started seizing up. My ankle was aching. My shins were calling out. My upper body was all out of sorts. I slowed a bit, but wanted to try to run through it to loosen up a bit. Miles 2-4 were definitely a struggle and I’m glad I didn’t have my Garmin with me to mock how far out of running shape I truly am. Thankfully, I had to wait a couple minutes to cross back over a busy street so the last mile felt a lot better after the slight rest.
So no stats to report from the run…other than the fact that I know it was 5 miles, it was outdoors, and I’ve got 12 more weeks to get ready for 13.1 on May 6!