6 pm Tuesday February 9, 2016. Pickering.
Just another training run? Well, sometimes training runs just don’t go the way you expect them to.
Tempo Tuesday it was. The plan was to do an easy 5k warm up then 5k or so at a good tempo pace. Then maybe another 20 minute spin on the bike.
I frittered some time away getting ready and active-stretching, while Jack Frost got busy outside. By the time I stepped out the door my neighborhood side streets were covered in 2 cm of fresh snow. I hoped the main drag up Rosebank Road would be clear, but it was slushy and barely salted.
Dammit, looked like no tempo run tonight. First thought was get in 10k easy and give my legs a break. Always a good call. Between killer swim drills and quad burns on the bike, my legs feel perpetually cooked. This tri training is definitely a new experience!
Km1 passes in 5:11. Slow as expected. Not too late to bail on this run and get in a longer spin instead.
The next 2k’s pass in 4:58 and 4:53. As I slog north on Rosebank, I hear my bike calling. But the Chilly Half is on the horizon and my weekly mileage has been altogether too short. I had to get this run done no matter the pace.
Pace. Yes, I could at least push the effort a little. But the steep hill by the reservoir showed my legs are fried again from a tough swim on Monday. This is the new usual. Km4 goes in 4:41. Yep, got nothing tonight. I resolve to reach Taunton Road before turning back. That will give me 11k and then some. Need to build up some base mileage.
North of the big hill is an unlit country road. Yet the clouds and snow are reflecting city light back down making it clear as day. Deer spring away in a fallow corn field. The road is well salted and the footing sure.
My pace slips upward as I zen into that special runner’s zone. Km5 sneaks by without notice. Taunton Road arrives, a mid-lap pace of 4:10 showing on my Garmin. I thought maybe another 4:40/k with the uphill grade. Where did this come from?
The tempo was on! I cruise south for home: 4:02, 3:53, 3:55, 3:47 and 3:50 splits roll off. Not full out tempo pace, but I will take what my legs are giving tonight on these snowy Pickering roads. And it just seemed to happen on its own!
My Garmin likes what it sees and nudges my VO2 estimate up a point into uncharted territory. And I am left wondering, just what this training run is about or means in the bigger picture. Is this tri training truly sending my fitness to new levels? In time, that tale will be told. Stay tuned.