I set out for my annual “Resolution Run” this morning after a solid night’s sleep. The Resolution Run is a tradition I adopted from my time in Manitoba 14 years ago. The local running group gathered about mid-morning for a run on New Year’s Day. The principle was that if you could face an outdoor run at -30 C on New Year’s Day, you could handle just about anything for the rest of the year. The tradition died out personally for a while, but was reborn 5 years ago today, when I chose to get off the couch and reclaim my life. 70 pounds, two half marathons, two duathlons, a marathon, a century ride, and a triathlon later, I’m thankful for the tradition.
This morning’s run was cold and wet, thanks to a Christmas Day snow storm that is slowly receding into history. The snow is melting slowly, and the temperatures in the high 30s or low 40s mean the air can’t absorb much of the water… that gives us a cold fog. I suited up for the 10 mile run and headed out. My original plan was to cross the bridge into the park to knock out the first 6 miles, then finish the last four on the Little Rock side of the river. As I started up the bridge, a boy of about 12, out on a bike ride with his dad, warned me that the bridge was pretty icy. I knew that the entire path on the Little Rock side should be clear, so the chance encounter changed my plans. I’m glad it did.
The first 6 miles of the run were easy and comfortable. I crossed paths with a few others out for their first workout of the year… some cheery and friendly, others looking like they might have been dragged out of bed against their will. Either way, they were putting in the miles, and that’s what counts.
At about 6 miles, I heard footsteps behind me. Another runner was “reeling me in”, slowly closing the gap between us. He said hello as he pulled alongside, and we uncharacteristically stuck up a conversation. Uncharacteristically because I always run alone, and rarely engage other runners with more than a “how’s it goin’.” Turns out my unplanned training partner was training for the half version of the marathon I did last spring, and is in his first year of triathlon training… a milestone I just finished. What spurred the decision to do a tri? He’s turning 50, of course. We finished out the last 4 miles discussing training techniques, bike fit, nutrition, shoes… I think we covered the spectrum.
I was surprised to see that I finished the last four miles a full minute and 1/2 per mile faster than the first 6, without trying. I don’t know if he was pushing me or I was pushing him, but it reminded me of the “iron sharpens iron” verse from proverbs. I can’t think of a workout I’ve enjoyed more in the recent past… except perhaps the one last spring when I also linked up with an unplanned partner for 3-4 miles of a long run. And all because a kid on a bike told me about the ice on the bridge.