Just like last year, I signed up for Bremen’s winter running series to help keep me motivated and running throughout the winter. My plan is to use the monthly progression of races (10K, 15K, and then 20K) as training runs in preparation for the Berlin Half Marathon at the end of March. I’m looking to whittle down those 4:30 minutes standing between me and a sub-2 hour half marathon.
The first of the races — the 10K — took place last Sunday, on a gray, cold, and rainy morning. As I hopped up and down at the start line, trying to keep myself warm in the several minutes before the start, the January wind was howling and rain started to fall. I thought to myself for the millionth time, “Wow, I must be crazy.” And it’s true. Me and the hundreds of other runners who voluntarily gave up their cozy Sunday mornings to push their bodies through the cold miles are indeed crazy.
It’s hard to describe the feeling of kinship I experience at races, even in a crowd of runners I don’t know. These crazy people are my tribe. These are the people I understand, and who understand me. They know what it’s like to train in the darkness, through the freezing cold winter, and they know why I do it. They know that sweet taste of personal victory makes it worth all the blood, sweat, and tears — and they understand what kind of sacrifices you have to make to get there.
These are the thoughts that kept me occupied during last Sunday’s 10K. My aim wasn’t to see how fast I could race the distance, but rather, to meet the more relaxed pace laid out in the first week of my 12-week training plan (9:57/mile). So although I started out too fast in the first miles, excited to be among other runners, my pace evened out eventually and I ended up with a finish time of 1:01:11 and an overall pace of 9:54/mile. I have to admit that even though I was using it as a training run, it didn’t feel as easy as it should have, given that I ran an entire half marathon in October at a significantly faster pace. It’s such a cruel reminder of the truth of “use it or lose it” in fitness. You can’t coast along on your current fitness levels for very long without putting the effort in.
The beginning of new training cycles always feel a little bit like starting over for me, with the very big difference of knowing in my mind what my body is capable of accomplishing. When the physical seems impossible, my mental strength jumps in to remind me that I’ve done it before and I can do it again. And that little piece of knowledge seems to make all the difference. So here’s to a new year and new beginnings and a new training cycle! Let’s see where this takes us!
What are your plans for the new year? What are you excited for in 2015?
You might also like these posts: