A Christmas run: the ultimate oxymoron?
Hey! Well... it's been a while. What can I say? December... Christmas... parties... you know the drill. It's been a busy and slightly stressful but happy month and I just haven't prioritised blogging (although I've guested over at Health Bloggers Community -- check it out!).
That's not to say I've been slacking on the fitness side of 'fit & happy' though. Definitely not. I'm actually pretty happy with the balance I've managed to strike of getting workouts in around all the eating and drinking. I was doing quite a bit of 1Rebel Ride this month as well as visiting the lovely crew at Union Station Yoga. Mainly, though, I've been making an effort to get back into running.
And yes, it's because I had signed up for a 5k and not done nearly enough training!!
In the midst of all the parties and sugary snacks and drinks, I managed to sign myself up for the Greenwich Christmas 5k on the 20th of December which is really peak stuff-itude timing after weeks of lunches, dinners and drinks. I figured it would be good motivation to keep to my routine through December and I'd done a Santa run before which was such a laugh, I really wanted to do one again.
Although this isn't technically a Santa run, it's definitely heavy on the Christmas theme, with a Santa-and-Christmas-pudding shaped medal and giant inflatable snowman to wave you off at the start and greet you at the finish. Lots of runners were dressed in themed outfits and I only chickened out at the last minute from wearing bobble Santas on a headband because I just thought it would annoy me too much while I ran!
In full disclosure, I hadn't done an organised run since the marathon almost 18 months ago -- eek! I was out of practice and it wasn't through lack of wanting to. In fact, I've been signed up for two major runs this year and had to pull out of both due to either illness or conflicts. I was getting really excited about this one even though I knew that I wasn't quite in 5k running shape, and particularly not for the hilliness of Greenwich Park. Man, that ended up being an understatement!
This was also my first run organised by Runthrough.co.uk, and it was a great experience. The information to get there was clear, everything you needed was given to you at the start line and there was no worry about things getting lost in the post. Brilliant basics.
On top of that, they had the Christmas carols blaring as we came round our laps, the aforementioned inflatable snowman (and Santa with reindeer) and mince pies for the finish. I'd recommend a Runthrough.co.uk run to anyone who's interested in doing a fun and well-organised run as they've got them across London and a wide variety of distances. This one gave the option of a 5k or 10k route, too.
As far as my own performance, the first 3k felt great... mostly because they were either flat or downhill! The 3k - 4k stretch was brutal, though, as it was made up almost entirely of the long hill up Greenwich Park. Ouch. It was definitely worse than I was expecting, even though I'd been trying to mentally prepare for a long, steady hill. At the top my lungs felt like they were going to explode. BUT I was really proud of myself for the small victory of not walking even a little bit up the hill. Hurray!
I wasn't sure I was making great time around the course and I was trying not to look at my watch too much since my challenge to myself had been not to walk the hill rather than making good time. I was really pleasantly surprised at the end when I managed to make a sub-35 minute 5k! In case you didn't believe me before when I've mentioned that I'm a slow runner, there's the proof: under 35 minutes is pretty darn good for me (especially with a huuuuge hill).
To add to the runners high I was on after my time achievement, the organisers handed me my awesome-looking medal, a banana and a small mince pie. Gotta love a Christmas run.
Thanks to Runthrough.co.uk for organising a great event. I'll be back next year and aiming for a better time... or maybe the 10k? Hahaha!
Hope you've had a great holiday season of fun, friends, food and fitness! What kind of fitness have you managed to squeeze in around the holidays, or have you given yourself permission to totally indulge and get back on the bandwagon in January?