Thursday, 13 December 2012

It's too cold to run fast!

"It's too cold to run fast!"
Well that is what I would have said had you asked me before I went out on my lunchtime run today.

As it turns out, the honest truth is that it is far too cold to run slowly!

It must have been at least a couple of degrees below zero out there. The frost hadn't cleared since last night, cars were still iced up, the grass was white, walkers were looking at me as though I must be mad (I was looking at them thinking, "it's too cold to walk!"), the paths were glimmering and glistening with little ice crystals and the ponds and puddles were well and truly iced over. It was very cold. Too cold to run slowly!

With a Nativity to attend this afternoon, I was fortunate enough to get an extra day working from home today. But with the nativity in mind, I could only spare half an hour or so for my lunchtime run. I dressed up sensibly for the cold: two long sleeve tops, long running tights, thick gloves and a thick hat. I have to say I was still cold right from the start and that really didn't change.

I normally wouldn't risk running quickly in weather like that. I find it far too risky with my history of muscle injuries, but today I daren't run slowly for risk of freezing solid! I knew it would be a quick one when I arrived at the parkrun start line about 30 seconds quicker than I ever have before. A quick stretch and I was off for the one and only parkrun freedom run I had time for today. It was too cold to stand still for long!

It was bound to be a quick one and I suspected it would be close to my 20:08 of last week. That was my second quickest parkrun freedom run this year. I have actually only gone below 20 minutes once all year during a freedom run.

I was running and breathing quickly, and although not struggling with the pace, I knew it was pretty quick for a training run. At the 1 kilometre mark I glanced at my watch and saw 3:40. That's 18:20 parkrun pace, which is pretty ridiculous for me. But I was still so cold and there was no way that I was going to slow down and risk freezing to death!

At the half way point the time was 9:20, so I was still on for a very fast 18:40 parkrun. At this point I started to wonder what my fastest ever parkrun freedom run was. I knew I had only just dipped under 20 minutes this year, so I was bound to get my fastest of the year, I also knew I had gone under 19 minutes a couple of years ago, but I had no real idea of my fastest. Not that I was going to specifically try to beat that, but it would be interesting to see how close I got. Especially as all I was doing was running fast to try to get warm.

I kept the thick gloves and hat on throughout, something that I would never normally even consider when trying to run fast. I have to say that I never warmed up or even really broke sweat. It was freezing! Don't get me wrong though, it was lovely being out running in the (very) fresh air on a day like today. The park was beautiful.

I finished my parkrun freedom run in a time of 18:38 and incredibly I didn't even feel like I had tried, or warmed up.

It wasn't until I got home and took a look at my list of recorded parkrun freedom run times on the parkrun website, that I realised that this was indeed my fastest ever parkrun freedom run. Only by 4 seconds and only the 3rd time I had gone under 19 minutes, but my fastest ever all the same. And I was very chuffed with that!

Another bonus is that now I don't need to go training this evening, when it will probably be even colder!

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