I managed to squeeze a four mile run in between work commitments today. With Claudio's stern instructions of 'Make sure that you stretch before you run' echoing in my head, I spent 10 minutes gently stretching my calves, achilles tendons, and hips before walking 10 minutes to the start of the run, where I stretched for another five minutes. Yawn. Boring, but necessary.
I headed out the Cromarty road because it's flat and I wasn't in the mood for hills. I ran past the garage by the small bridge and said hello to the owner, who always seems to be lounging against the door with a mug of tea in his hand regardless of the weather or time of day. We have a waving acquaintance because I run by there so often these days; maybe on Friday, he'll ask me how far I'm running and I can say 'It's only 10 miles today.' Yep, I'm out to impress the locals...
Anyway, the first mile was slowish as I've learned that this is the minimum distance that my achilles and calves need to warm up. By the second mile, though, I was comfortably running a 10:30 to 10:00 minute mile which put a big smile on my face. Then I turned around for the two miles home and realised that one of the reasons that I had been going so quickly was because of the wind at my back. Sigh. It was, of course, a lot harder running into the wind and I keep forgetting that most of the last mile home is a gentle but sustained uphill struggle, but I did manage to keep between a 10.30 and 11:00 minute mile.
I was very pleased by this. I know that it's only four miles which is neither here nor there in the grand marathon scheme of things, but I felt like I had a proper running (as opposed to shuffling) stride for the first time in weeks. Nothing hurt. And the 12 minute mile pace that I thought had become my default was nowhere to be seen.
I am cautiously thinking that Claudio was right - he can fix me!