I got up nice and early this morning to get a little 3 miler in. It's typically tough enough to get out of bed knowing I'm going to get outside and run in below 30 degree temperatures, but then I looked outside and saw how foggy it was and was even more discouraged.
Fortunately, the fog burned off relatively quickly and I didn't have to feel quite so much like I was running through a half evaporated lake.
It feels incredibly good to be back running 4-5 times a week. I had no idea how much I had really missed the feeling of my legs being tired - in a good way - and not having to deal with nagging injuries in various parts of my lower body. The way running clears my head is unlike anything else I've found so far and it's very nice to have that kind of stress relief back.
After examining the half marathon training schedulea little more closely, I opted to jump into the third week to keep my mileage up a bit, but still ease back into a consistent running routine so as not to overdo it and aggravate a hamstring or something like that. A friend of mine, that had talked before about doing some distance races with me, told me he might be looking to do a half marathon in the next month or so. I hadn't initially considered doing one that close in, but I started champing at the bit the more I thought about it. The biggest race news for me, though, is that registration for The Bear opens on February 3rd.
I've brought up The Bear in a couple different posts before. It's a big deal for me though because it catalyzed my entry to running, even though it took a few years for that to really come to fruition. For years, it was the reason I exercised; I would sign up and procrastinate preparing until it was almost too late. I have finished it every time I've done it, but I haven't gotten my goal of finishing in under an hour yet. That's what I'm doing this year. The race is in July and by that point, I plan to have put at least one half marathon under my belt so the training for that kind of distance will help get me over the bar, especially compared to years past when I've barely prepared at all. I've also been doing more strength training and hill work so I'm getting amped up just thinking about the 5 mile uphill battle. Every year I seem to block out just how rough the hills get, not this year though.
If you have any interest in running The Bear, I highly encourage it; though getting there - Grandfather Mountain, NC - can be a bit of a hassle and the 800 spots fill up in 24-48 hours. So if you are signing up, don't delay!