All I can say is BRRRR.
We've had a blast of very cold air move in to Minnesota over the last few days. Sort of a slap in the face from Old Man Winter.
That being said, we here in Minneapolis have been very lucky compared to other Midwest locations which were recently pounded by a huge winter storm that dumped a ton of snow along with the cold. I heard on the news that about 198,000 people in Illinois are still without power.
At least we have electricity and heat.
Yesterday was the Reindeer Run 5K -- this annual event is another of those "holiday biggies" that attract a few thousand runners -- including lots of families and folks that don't usually run the lakes on a Saturday morning.
I love running this race because "Santa" and "Rudolph" are there and lots of people dress up in costumes. I saw someone dressed as a tree running with two people dressed as presents; a few ornaments, lots of reindeer, a couple of elves that were dressed like the ones in the animated version of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer... etc. All very cute.
I was supposed to catch up with other runners from my club, including my good running friends from Marathon days. By the time I got down to the lake though, the line to enter the tent to pick up race numbers for PRE-REGISTERED runners was huge.
This is pretty unusual. At most races, when you are pre-registered, the lines move along very quickly and orderly. Not here. Took me about 10 minutes to get half-way up the line when a volunteer announced that the lines should split, with half going around to the other side of the tent. I scooted over to the other side and got my number pretty easily but had no time to find anyone.
I ran the race but could really feel the fact that I have not been very active lately. I moved slowly, the cold air really cut down on my ability to breath correctly. (My asthma is much, much worse in the winter than the summer). Hills were hard for me to complete and feel strong. I was about 40 seconds slower finishing this race than I was the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving. The really bad news is that this slow finish puts me in time range of races I ran when I was just starting out in 1999.
That put a little damper on my ho-ho-ho.
I know that it is normal to pull back on my fitness level after marathon training season is over AND I've been enjoying the pre-holiday eating season just a little too much, so both of those elements will add up to slower times and tighter pants.
I've also read that most runners will improve for about 10 years after they start running...and that runners, as they get older, start to slow down. This would mean a double whammy for me, moving in to my 8th year running and rocketing in to solid middle age.
I left the race resolved to really think about how I train and figuring out ways to train smarter and harder on multiple levels for 2007.
This would mean really looking at how and what I eat and being accountable in a real way, not the "gee I wish" way. It means getting up early to get miles in or yards in or spins on the cycle. It means finding some people that run a hair or two faster than I do to train with to try to improve my speed.
I also need to determine which events to do next year -- and what distances. A few tris have 1/2 price entry fees if you register before December 31st, including a 1/2 Iron distance I'm considering. (GULP -- 1/2 IRON!)
I also bit the bullet and signed up for a swim lesson, which is scheduled for later this week. Although I've been swimming, I'm sure that my coach will be very disappointed in me when I see him.
Enough complaining for now. I'm going to go get under a few blankets, drink some hot tea and dream of the summer.