December 15, 2011

A quality barefoot run in the rain

Last week my plan was to run about 60km, as I am ramping up my mileage to start my biggest training volume ever on January 1 in preparation for the Vancouver Marathon. I count my weekly mileage from Monday through Sunday, and - alas - last week's was only about 35km.

A little short.

This Monday, I ran 21km which was my longest run, aside from two marathons and a 50-miler, in three months. I very much enjoyed it, which is a good thing, given that soon my mid-week medium long runs will exceed that distance.

On Tuesday I opted to spend time I could have run to join my dad and doggy Thara on their morning walk.

On Wednesday, yesterday, I was set to head home to Canada from the Netherlands. My parents and I had planned to leave the house at 10am to head for Schiphol, and I didn't think I'd be able to make time for a run. Just in case, however, I left out some running gear. And my first pair of New Balance REVlite 890s were staying in the Netherlands, as they are completely worn out, so those weren't packed either.

It was raining hard when we got up at 7am on Wednesday. My parents and I had breakfast, before my dad headed out to take Thara for a wet walk in the dark before our departure to Schiphol. With a long day of sitting ahead as it takes 9-1/2 hours to fly from Amsterdam to Vancouver, I decided to squeeze in a little run after all.

My gloves and hat, which I'd worn nearly every run in the previous 3-1/2 weeks, were already packed. So were my running socks, I realized. And I wasn't going to reach for the bottom of a bag that was thoroughly stuffed so that everything just about fit.

After seeing that her questioning the wisdom of a morning run in rain and darkness wasn't going to change my mind, my mum suggested I wear an old T-shirt I was going to throw out over a running top, and a pair of Nike tights that had seen better days, to avoid having to pack wet gear in a bag already at the max 23kg.

I never run without socks. But it was fun to put my bare feet in running shoes, as it matched the lack of gloves and hat. With the mercury close to zero and the usual polder wind, my body decided instantly it was going to be a tempo session today.

Twenty-four minutes and a very solid 5 to 5-1/2km later I was back in the door, my cold hands having a little trouble undoing the three knots I'd tied in my laces. My shoes were absolutely soaked, and so were my clothes, as I enjoyed the freedom of purposely running through the deepest puddles of water as I raced two laps around my parents' neighbourhood in the semi-dark December morning.

I was tired too from that tempo run and so glad I'd squeezed in that session; you don't need hours to get a quality and fun training run.

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