I plead guilty.
After going for weeks fearing that I might have a femoral stress fracture in my left leg (only to find out otherwise last month), it was really nice to get in my first long run since the Detroit Marathon in October (actually 19.97 miles, according to the Garmin).
With temperatures ranging from 32 degrees when I started to 38 degrees when I finished, it was a rare (for me) fully loaded long run: thermal underwear, long running pants, running shorts (more for the pockets), two long-sleeve technical running shirts, two pairs of running gloves and a Balaclava.
Just another reason runners might just be sick: Give me all of that over a long run with the temperatures in the 80s or hotter when I have to get up around 5:30 a.m. to escape the heat. In the heat, there's only so much you can do to deal with it. In the cold, you just keep throwing on layers and go. I was pretty luck that it wasn't as windy as it has been lately.
I didn't notice it so much today, but in the past I've seen neighborhood dogs that usually don't bark at you go crazy when you run by wearing a Balaclava.
I remember running the Charlotte Marathon one year when it was 14 degrees at the start. A Charlotte police officer joked at one point when I was running by that "there's goes our suspect!"
With that in mind, I made sure to pull it all the way down before I went into the Dairy Queen to use their bathroom for a pit stop. One wonders how much business a place like that gets when it's this cold!
I felt pretty decent considering it was my first long run in about three months. My time wasn't all that great at 3 hours, 6 minutes, 36 seconds, but I just set out to finish and wasn't worried about my time. For me, I feel that I'm ready for a marathon when I can do a sub-3-hour 20-mile run and I'm confident I could do it if I pushed.
The most important is that my left hamstring, which caused all the trouble in the first place because it was so tight, feels fine. I'll be interested to see how it feels in the morning, but I'm excited that it appears that I'm over the hump.
A lot of my friends in the Dead Runners Society are doing the second installment of the 100-day Challenge (running for at least 30 minutes in the first 100 day of the year). I did it last year, but decided that a day of rest each week probably would be a good idea because of my hamstring issues.
The Tobacco Road Marathon is March 21. I doubt I'll get in good enough shape to run a PR. But just a couple of weeks ago I felt like I'd be lucky to break four hours. Now I don't think a 3:45 is out of the question and, who knows, maybe even faster if I can keep improving my running shape.