There are a fews ways you know it’s spring.
The birds are chirping, the bulbs spring through the soil, the kitty leaps (or saunters, shuffles, belly swaying) from window to window checking out the backyard wildlife.
And, perhaps most lovely of all, you get that perfect running weather that you’ve been waiting for all year. The sun is warm, but the air is still a little cool. Warm enough to wear running shorts, but cool enough to wear a long sleeve tech shirt for a long run without profuse sweating. Ah, these are the days. This is why most marathons happen in the spring or fall.
On Sunday I was a little nervous and tentative as I prepared for my last long run before the Fredericton half-marathon on May 12. I missed my last two scheduled long runs because I was sick, then away in Jamaica. I did little physical activity during those two weeks.
Last week I did get back into the swing of things quickly, with two bootcamp classes, a short 4K, a speedy 3K, and an 8K. But the week left me feeling tired, sore, achy. Luckily, a Saturday rest day got me back to normal by Sunday. I slept till 9:30 or so then ate my pre-run go-to: toast with natural peanut butter and honey. I also had a banana sliced up with raspberries and a cup of coffee. I filled one of my fuel belt bottles with Gatorade (full cal) and one with water. I packed along two Fig Newtons, charged up my Garmin and my iPod and headed for the Irving Nature Park. It was my first run there of the year.
At first I thought I would start running at the park then head out, but during the run I decided to stay within the park and do three loops. Two loops were about 6.5 K and the last one was just over 5 K. I ended up with a perfect 18 K, which was exactly what I was aiming for.
I struck out on a slow, steady pace. I wanted to make sure I could make it to the end. The park is fairly hilly but the hills felt doable. I had my first sip of water at about 5K and started nibbling after the first loop, just a bite every couple of km. I find that any more than a bite is hard for my stomach to digest.
The runner’s high was in full effect. I felt no pain because all I could think about was the beautiful day, the crystal blue Bay of Fundy before me, the fresh air, the warm sun. “Oh look, a cute puppy. Oh look, a cute baby,” I kept saying to myself. “Oh look, another runner.”
The last loop was definitely hard. But I knew I could do it. By the end, my legs felt almost robotic. It was a good feeling to finish, knowing that despite my rotten cold and my vacation, I don’t think I lost too much fitness. Knock on wood, things are looking good for Fredericton on May 12.