I've registered for the Paris Marathon in April, motivated by the desire to stay off the couch during the dark winter in Holland. I finished the 2010 racing season by cutting 20 minutes off my 2009 run of the Meeuwen Mackrel Loop. I felt really happy with the year as a whole.
Although this will be my second marathon, I'm following the novice marathon training program from FIRST. I think the volume and intensity of the program will take me out of my comfort zone. The "regular" program has more long distance running on the weekends, and I'm a little concerned that my knees will not like it.
So this week, marathon training began. Ready or not. So. Wednesday, I sat at the table while everyone ate dinner and then went out for a run. in the snow. in the dark. under a full moon. it was beautiful. And cold. and slippery and crunchy. at freezing temperatures, it's a challenge to regulate my body heat. But I did my best with 1600m intervals. freakishly long intervals. the total was 8 km. in about an hour. Wednesday meant I had to go. Since I need three runs in by Sunday (tomorrow).
first I had to try to figure out why an audio book that I got for my son wouldn't sync with his iPod. black-hole on the clock. then I had to figure out the pace setting for 1600 meters in 10 minutes. criminy. 1600m/10min = x min/1km; solve for x. or find a running calculator on the web. guess which.
we tried all three ipods in the household before my son said, your run is more important. go run and I'll find something else to do. Then I remembered my phone plays the books just fine. so I gave him my phone.
then there was a car stuck in the mashed potato snow that is our street. I stopped to help and my neighbors came out to help too, while Odie barked at the spinning wheels. I ran back to get a shovel. we dug, rocked and pushed the car out of the stuck spot. (all day I saw cars getting stuck there - fancy ones - Audi's and Merc's. My Fiat runs just fine in the snow).
Then out to the dunes. Odie had a great time. He saw the fox and wanted to investigate. Fox was not interested. We saw Fox several times.
I didn't make my target paces, but I gave it my best shot. It's a little tough to run on packed snow. The places where cars have been were too slippery and icy. The sides or in between tire tracks were nice and crunchy. Running on hard-pack snow feels soft and sounds nice. The moon came out, making the field glow in silvery light. This is the field where the ponies graze in the summer.
Earlier in the day when I walked Odie, I saw migrating swans - at least a dozen. Such beautiful birds with their long necks. the day before, the sky was full of geese.
My goal with marathon training is to work the plan to the best of my ability. I really didn't think I had the energy to run Wednesday night. But I've learned that I always feel better afterwards and just getting started is the hardest part. I would feel disappointed if I started the first week with skips. I thought about skiing instead (since the day had been consumed with shopping), but it's not the same as running intervals.
So the plan is: Intervals, Tempo and Long run. Pace-based. Plus cross-training and weight lifting and stretching.
Yesterday, I ran 6km tempo, again on the hard-packed snow. The plan called for 9, but I was short on time. Had to take the kids SCUBA diving for Christmas. We had a blast.
Today was 50 minutes x-country skiing on fresh snow with my older son. A great way to spend Christmas. Now, Christmas dinner is calling.