A little over a year ago, when I was training for my second full marathon, I remember Bruce, our instructor, telling us about how important it would be for us to get out for a run a few days after race day - otherwise we'd find it hard to get back into the groove if we took more than a few weeks off.
In fact, I'd made that mistake myself the year before that, when I'd run my first marathon. I'd taken a few weeks off, "for a break," but then the weeks turned into months with only a few occasional runs in between and all of a sudden distances that seemed like nothing ended up seeming like unthinkable distances.
So even though I didn't race last Sunday, due to inclement weather and bad route conditions, and even though I'm not racing next Sunday, I knew that it would be important for me to keep on getting back out there and hopping back onto a new training schedule as soon as possible. Even though the temptation to take a break was strong.
Tonight was my first run since last week before all the on-again, off-again race day stuff happened. I was a little curious how I would feel on tonight's tempo, given that I'd tapered the week before in anticipation of race day, and the week before that most of what I'd managed had been treadmill runs while I was traveling in Toronto.
I knew the sidewalks would be slushy and slippy, and I was tired from a day at work, but I still wanted to get out there today for a tempo run with a pace group to see how I would fare. Also, today was one of the first days we'd had anywhere near zero degrees in a long while, so I didn't see how I could pass up the opportunity to run in fewer layers than I'd done in quite some time.
I drove across the bridge, dropped off the car at hubby's work, then raced down to the Running Room to meet up with the Run Club. Only...they'd left only moments before me and I didn't know where my group was.
I wavered between doing a run indoors on the treadmill on my own and taking the bus home, trying to catch up with the group or doing 2-3k in town and then running 5k home. My Garmin had decided to freeze and wouldn't get off the clock, which told me the time was perpetually 9:48, so I knew I wouldn't have any idea of pace, but I had a pretty good sense of the distance and figured I'd just run it.
And then, lo and behold, I turned around at a red light, only to find a group of friendly faces running up behind me with two of the running friends I'd been trying to catch up to!
My plans changed again, and I decided to do the tempo run with them and let them pace me. The roads were indeed slushy, and every so often we had to stop to walk around massive swimming-pool sized puddles (I exaggerate). But overall the roads weren't nearly as slippy as they've been recently, although my feet constantly felt the itch of a potential fall at any step - the ghost of my fall from a few weeks ago kept on dogging me.
It's a funny thing when you're running without a Garmin: I started feeling like I was working hard, and then berating myself for being out of shape and getting slow. Only, when I asked what the pace was, it turned out we were running a 5:35 pace. I could live with that!
And then another nice surprise: instead of it being a 10k tempo, we were only doing 8! What a nice surprise!
In the end, it was a nice run with a pace I was happy about, and with good friends and conversation to boot. I'm glad I kicked my butt out the door to get to that run tonight, even if I ended up with tingly fingers (from the cold) and soggy feet.