I love watching the seasons turn. The beginning of spring is made so much more sweeter if not for the cruel months that preceded them. Those spring races are earned in those winter months -- we know that -- I know that. In just two weeks, I'll be racing 30K and in five short weeks, I'll be tapering for my next marathon.
The last time I took a rest day... well, how do I put it.. I faintly remember not the rest day but the first of many days spent embracing the cold. I'm not much for going on running streaks. In all my years of marathon training, I've cherished the rest days, loved kicking it back for one day out of seven. That is, until Jan. 7 happened, nine weeks ago. I haven't stopped running outside.
Since that January Monday, I've charged ahead. Skipped one rest day, then another. A two week running streak somehow became 21 days. An intended rest day on a Friday was also accompanied by a big snow storm, so what did I do other than stomp around in the newly laid powder? Heaven.
Marathon training has a certain cadence to it. It requires a certain amount of ramp up, when you build up your fitness and miles, until you reach the point where you give in to rest. Rest, they say, helps rebuild your body into a stronger version of itself. Even the more advanced of the training programs throw in much repetition into the mix, whether it calls for speedwork once a week, or an ever increasing long run. Inevitably, it calls for rest.
But by 28 days, something had kicked in. A slow 5K run was as good as a day off. The warmth of my living room? Bah. A measily -8C? Childs play. I plotted every week so I could hit my long runs, rearranging my schedule to hit a 17 miler in "perfect" -10C as opposed to the snowy, windy -5 the next day.
I tend to forget, but I first fell in love with distance running one winter almost a decade ago. Something badass about running in the frosty weather. Something "fun" in trudging through snow. Something hardcore in making it through a blizzard. And although this winter has had some rough days, in the 63 straight days of winter that I went out there -- from Jan. 7 in sub-zero conditions, through two 'so-called' snowstorms, countless mid-week melts that turned the trails to skating rinks -- I survived intact, grateful to breathe in the air, earning every post-run coffee, stacking my fitness in my favour.
Forty two days became forty nine until the math got too hard to rely on my memories of x times 7. By the time I reached this morning, I knew that nine weeks of straight running revived the runner in me. Just in February, on a 28-day month, I managed somehow to do more miles than I'd done in the monthly totals I tallied between last April and October, my supposed real running months.
So yes, I'm glad spring is almost here, I'm happy I ran the other day in short sleeves, I'm looking forward to running in daylight after work and I'm eager to race again with some regained mojo.
Today, I pulled myself out of bed, and out for a few miles. Didn't have much in me, my heel sore, my legs not into it. Maybe it's time to take a day off. Rest? It'll come. I'll need those fresh legs. Spring racing is here.
The streak: 9 weeks; 63 days; 54 hours on the roads; 378 miles/608 km travelled