Well I thought that by about now I would be posting a little report on my first event of the year, the Anglesey Coast Ultra. I'm not because all competitors got an email on Friday evening saying that it was cancelled owing to drifting snow on Holyhead Mountain. Can't be helped I suppose, race directors have to call it as they see it; events like the Tour de Helvellyn and the Spine go ahead in these conditions, but maybe it's just a different clientele.
So I went for a run in my local forest and hills, and for more than twenty miles I didn't put a foot on anything but snow, most of it about 10cm deep and beautifully light and fluffy, a real treat. Now I'd done a couple of 30-odd mile runs in November and December and found them fairly comfortable, but I'd taken them really easy. Whenever it felt hard I'd slowed down until I got a bit of oomph back. I decided on Saturday that as I was only planning an outing in the 20-25 mile range that I ought to try to get a bit more of a move on, after all, real training for 2013 has to start sometime. Keep below 10 minute miles, that was the plan. For the first 12 or 15 miles it felt relatively comfortable but then it got a bit worryingly hard. I toughed it out to just over 21 miles, but then I was either going to drop below the target pace or stop, so I called it a day.
Why so hard, I puzzled afterwards, I should be fit enough for this sort of thing. Maybe it was a one-off, I was a bit below par, the next run would be better. So the following day I went for a conservative 4 miles around the roads, Yaktrax because the roads don't deal with the snow as well as the countryside, but not too arduous. Just run steadily but put a bit of effort in, say 7,30 pace. I arrived home pretty tired having achieved barely 8 minute miles, wondering again why I just couldn't do it. Was I trying to get back to proper running too quickly? Shouldn't be a problem, I have to make this little kick-start into reality most years.
Then finally, a glimmer of illumination.I knew that I'd put on a bit of weight during a few weeks' inactivity back in October. I probably hadn't redressed that before Christmas and we all knows what happens then; I just hadn't grasped the scale of the problem. On the bathroom scales I discovered I was 11st 10lbs. The whole of last summer I was a shade under 11st. It was a bit of a surprise. I got out a dry bag and filled it with sundry items until it weighed 10lbs. I was staggered at how heavy it felt.
Time to get a grip.