Day 40: The Last Run this year & The 2014 Summary

Today’s run was sponsored by the phrase, be careful!

After I got up in the morning and dressed up for running, my father announced he wanted to go with me again. But, this time, he didn’t want to just run around the neighbourhood; he wanted to go to the nearby ponds to run in a nice scenery as there are beautiful trail routes there. I thought it was a good idea at that time, so we went. And indeed, it was very pretty; white snow, sun, blue sky…

It is not very far, but the ponds are not too big; one run around the first one took 1.3km… and that was enough for my dad. I am not surprised, as the run was difficult; the ground was frozen, plowed with car tire marks, with multiple frozen puddles hidden under the snow and we had to be very careful with our step. Therefore, my father went home and I stayed to finish my distance.

Seems my dad’s method didn’t change much since I was a child. He used to drag me to the middle of a lake and tell me to go back to the beach on my own when I was small so I would learn to swim; now he drove me to the middle of ponds and left me there so I can run home on my own.

Before he did, however, he has shown me the place where I had walked my first steps as a toddler – close to the trees and the green fence:

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I wanted to go around a bigger pond, but halfway the round I saw a big, black and brown dog in the distance. I slowed into a walk, hoping to see the dog’s owner soon, but the dog started to bark instead, with no other human in sight. I was about 300m away from the dog, so I turned around and walked away, quite slow, hoping the dog won’t run after me – and fortunately it didn’t. I had to be very cautions there. After it was no longer in sight, I ran back, and again around the smaller pond, and then back home – netting over 6km! The run itself was pretty slow, though, and certainly not a pace run as planned…

 

As this was my last run this year, I though it would be nice to do…

*drumroll*

THE 2014 SUMMARY

  • I have run a total of 62.2km in 20 runs!
    – netting a total of 7 hours runtime with an average pace of 7:15min/km!
    – I am almost halfway my training plan!
  • I ran in 3 cities, 2 countries and 5 different running routes!

Not bad for someone who started in the middle of November, is it?

See you in 2015! Have a great NYE and a fantastic year!

 

Distance: 6.3km
Time:       44:47

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Day 39: Warsaw – Old Town walk and a play (rest day)

Each year, the Old Town of Warsaw is being decorated for Christmas and the New Year with lights. I wanted to go and see the decorations and to experience the atmosphere this year as well, so I asked who would like to join me to walk the Old Town after dark.
As most of my family was busy with work, in the end only me and my father went. Even though it was warmer than yesterday (-5°C), not running and darkness made it feel much colder, and we had to stop for a tea to warm ourselves up. However, the city looked great, as usual!

After the walk we went to see a play at the Warsaw Tear Współczesny (Modern Theatre) with my whole family. It was a Polish adaptation of French La danse de l’albatros by Gérald Sibleyras, and it was a very good one. It is a witty and funny, but also philosophical play about love and relationships between humans. The characters feel very real and close, and the humour reflects on deep questions on what it is to love someone and be with someone. Everyone enjoyed it very much.

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Distance: 4.5km (walking)

Day 38: Wherever I go, I run

Oh, busy days!
First day of Christmas we usually visit my family, and the second day we go to my godfather’s place to sing Christmas carols. Not all of the people participating are religious, but this became sort of a tradition for the group of friends of my parents, who bring their children and grandchildren along. It is a very nice meet-up with potluck and everyone is having a lot wine and a lot of fun (this year’s party included crowbaring a lady out of the bathroom due to a jammed lock).
Saturday we visited my grandma. It started snowing on Friday and the forest on the way to her place looked absolutely amazing. We stopped to take some pictures, as we were literally enchanted by the environment.

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Due to the long travel and many, many people to visit in my father’s hometown, I had to postpone my running till Sunday. Too bad I couldn’t run in the forest – that would be fantastic! Fortunately, there is a wonderful running route in the town itself which goes around a lake and into the city forest where we went to run with my dad.
The scenery there and the views were also great. The route is slightly hilly (for some of you probably not at all, but me, used to my flat as a pancake Netherlands, I feel even the gentlest of slopes), and quite popular – we met numerous people running, biking, walking their dogs or Nordic walking.

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My dad did not run the whole route with me, again, and it was cold! It was my first run when the temperature was seriously below the freezing point (about -8°C). I was testing out my new long running loose-fit pants, warm running socks, running gloves and a winter running top and they worked great! The only thing which I noticed is that the cushioning of my shoes was severely impaired. The cold made the shoes much more stiff and hard, making the run less comfortable, and my pace wasn’t that fast. Still, I am not trying to beat records here – just enjoy running, and I did!

Distance: 5.6km
Time:       38:50

Day 35: Christmas run with my dad

We had a great run today! I woke up, put on my running gear (I knew we will have a busy afternoon, so wanted to get it done as early as possible) and went to say good morning to my parents. The weather was cold and windy, but there was no rain and my dad wanted to run with me. My mother’s expression was more of a “you are all crazy” kind of thing.

cold running

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Day 33: Home sweet home

It is good to be back at my family home. I love to see my family, and my cats! Say Hi to Fuga and Puma:

Fuga Puma

Yes, they are both female, yes, they are both black with red collars, and yes, we do tell them apart. They have completely different personalities. Fuga is cuddly, curious and an adventurous creature and kind of silly, and Puma is a solitary princess with character and attitude.

There also is, of course, the food – family home food has this particular, special taste that makes me feel safe and cozy and comfortable.

The Christmas preparations are in full swing. The house smells of gingerbread and roasted meat and cake. Yesterday, we decorated the Christmas tree. That is something we traditionally only do on the Christmas Eve, but my mother ordered the tree dressed already “to have two more days of the holiday cheer”. So we did.

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Merry Christmas everyone!

Earlier yesterday me and my dad went to shop for groceries and had lunch together. My dad really wanted to join me for running, but the weather today scared him off. In the end, I went to run on my own. It was difficult: I felt tired, and the weather certainly did not feel inviting: strong wind and light rain. That certainly does not come anywhere close to any holiday cheer I hoped for!

However, it did feel nice to run around the places I know so well from my childhood and adolescence. The familiar sights and smells (cows!), the area where we used to collect chestnuts, and the changes which happened in the last years that I am not living here.

There is a small section (maybe 1km) of the route I ran today which goes a bit uphill. It is not much, the slope is very gentle, but, surprisingly, my legs felt the difference. I did make a couple of walking breaks, and still beat my pace from last week. I ran at 6:40min/km – and I wasn’t even trying! Never mind the rain, I arrived home more wet on my inner layers than my running jacket.

Yesterday also was a big day for MRB, who ran his first 5k distance and he really wanted me to mention this in here. Good job! Keep it up!

Distance: 5.45km
Time:       36:22

Day 30: The Wind!

wind

Today’s run has been dominated by one thing: wind.
Headwind. Backwind. Side-wind. I know it all after this run.
There was even rain! Hardly noticeable, but I could see it in front of me.

On the positive side, I sort-of got back into the stable running from my very first 5k.
It wasn’t quite the same yet, but I could feel a significant improvement since Thursday. And, surprisingly, I also improved my time! This was something I did not expect at all.
With comfortable walking breaks, a slow start and the wind in my face trying to tear my flesh from my bones, I did not even hope for a pace under 7min/km.

Under7

Oh, it felt great.

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Day 23: The Challenge – 3km

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3 km: we did it!

Even though my muscle pain subsided, I was still anxious for this run. For the first one ever I was to run over the comfortable limit of 2km I practiced the last three weeks. Also, MRB decided to run the whole distance with me, and I know for certain that for him it was an even greater challenge.

I need to admit that I did something completely silly. By the end of the 3rd kilometer I had a sudden urge to run as fast as I possibly could, and I just launched off, leaving MRB behind. The run itself felt incredible; going under 4 minutes per kilometer felt like flying for the 300 meters that it lasted, but leaving MRB behind was certainly not cool – especially that it was our last run together (at least for now).

I went back for him, afterwards, but my pace changed from 7:56 to 7:22 mins/km.

Oh, and we also got me a small Christmas tree to get a bit into the holiday spirit. It’s not much, but I love it!

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Distance: 3.1km
Time:        22:56

Day 21: Three weeks summary

Three weeks ago I went home early to run my first kilometer. It was easy, but still required a considerable amount of effort; and, since my route is 2 km long, I ran-walked the second part. Today, I comfortably and easily ran the full 2 km without breaking much sweat. Let’s talk about progress!

I have my steady, comfortable pace established at about 7:20 mins/km.
I have run the total of almost 21 km.
I have finished the total of 10 runs, which is 25% of my training plan.

These were fantastic three weeks running-wise, although I also realise these were the easiest. Indeed, from the next run on, The Challenge begins.
For from the next run on, I am going further.
And after that, I am going faster.

Are you with me?

Distance: 2km
Time:       14:55