Here I am back in freezing Maryland. I just returned from a run and what did Jen say "didn't last long" I explained to her that I'm no where near ready for anything of significant distance and that I've been running about 1.5 to 2 miles on my runs. Next, I used an awesome site www.mapmyrun.com and wouldn't ya know it, I only ran 1.25 miles. Granted it was freezing and I had to avoid all the snow and ice from our recent deluge of around five feet, but I still feel like I wimped out. I'm not about to head back out to make up for it though!
This got me thinking. What is it that runner's use to gauge their performance? time vs distance. Since returning, I've been careful not to try and gauge my performance in this manner as I know I'll be disappointed. At my peak, I was running a thin margin behind the 20 min 5K mark. If memory serves, I think my PR was a 20:19. I never did break the barrier but still, that's a good pace. Now, I'd be lucky to break a 30 min 5K. Or so I think. My last official race was in the fall of 2005 and I ran a 25 min something sec 5K. I'm looking to run my next 5K sometime in late March to early April. My goal is to beat 25 min.
I've made a decision regarding my running, at least until I hit the serious marathon training anyway, to not gauge myself. My goal is to make this a lifestyle change and if I start measuring my performance, I'm certain to get frustrated and likely give it up. Therefore, all my runs will be solely based on one of the two metrics: distance or time, not both. Mostly I plan to run based on distance. I'm currently around two miles. I could care less how long those two miles take, just that I complete what I set out to do. Maybe this strategy will work, maybe it won't, but I'm sure planning to find out.
With all that said, I have to justify my shorter distance today. Being that I'm an entomologist, I'll have to say that the bugs are rubbing off on me. Insects are directly tied to temperature. The hotter the temperature, the faster an insects physiological processes work. In forensics, for example, time of death of a person can be calculated based on the life stage of the flies found on the body and the recorded temps near the location. Conversely, the colder it is, the slower they function. Since I've been in Florida this last week, and have been running two miles all week in 50-60 degree weather, I think it's reasonable to say that a 1.25 mile run in 28 degree weather is pretty good.