My initial plan had been to start the Up & Running course on Monday after next, giving myself the prescribed twelve weeks leading up to the local half marathon I'd found, a midweek evening event run by the local university athletics association.
And then I realized that there is a marathon in Leiden on 26 May, with an associated series of shorter races including the half. So let's see...
* Not midweek
* No hills
* Excuse to visit the Netherlands and see friends
* Did I mention, flat?
Of course this means that I should have started the course two days ago. Oops. But the patient Coach Julia put up with my manic reshuffling of plans and gave me orders this morning on how to catch up on the overdue session.
Now here's the really dumb thing: I could hardly sleep last night. My brain was buzzing with "Leiden!" and "Half marathon!" and "Going to start tomorrow!" and I pretty much just wanted to leap up right then and get going. How crazy is that for someone who doesn't really like running? What is happening to my brain?
So this morning I suited up, downed my tea, and headed out the door. The easiest way for me to fit a run into the weekday is to take S to nursery and run some route, more or less direct as circumstances require, back home. There is a decent path along the river Glatt that makes a nice default; taking that direction I go a minimum of 5K, but can easily extend it to 6, 7, etc. Today's prescription was to take it easy, so I made an effort to notice the scenery as I ran. The freezing spell we've had has finally broken for a little while, and it was lovely blue morning skies reflected in the water. Somewhere along the way I saw a graffito that read "Thug Life", which, well, just looks sort of cute and amateurish around here. My route took me past the local athletics track, so I could scope it out in advance of doing intervals etc. in future, and I peeked a little farther up the river path than I've been before in anticipation of doing longer runs in that direction.
It still felt...not entirely comfortable. Not smooth. I was making something of an effort to run slowly, and the result was that I felt like I was more bouncy than I normally would be. On the other hand if I tried to run more smoothly my heart rate shot up, and I had ordered myself not to let it go above 170. The "smooth but slow" gait also felt a little unnatural, so it was probably using muscles in a new and weird way and that is probably why the heart rate climbed. Overall my cadence was about 10spm lower than it normally is when I run, and my pace was about 1:40/km slower than my default. To me that feels stupidly slow, but I guess that was the point!