Today is NP’s first birthday. This means first of all that KT and I have been struggling with parental clichés all week. On the one hand we remember wondering not so many months ago whether we would ever sleep again, on the other hand we can’t believe that a year with NP has gone so quickly and we worry now that she’ll soon be moving out to get her own apartment.
The significant milestone secondly meant a birthday party! We set the midday aside to have a birthday lunch, complete with our good friends from downstairs (the other mum, dad, and baby N.) and cake. KT made a delicious broccoli soup with a lemon sour cream, which we enjoyed with bread and pickles. And then we got to the cake…..NP had, prior to today, never had cake, nor had she ever really had processed sugar, but we thought that she deserved a piece of German cream cake with apricots for all of her achievements this year. Selflessly, we the adults also had some cake (of different varieties) to keep her company. She was a bit cautious when first presented with a strange looking piece of food with a burning bit of wax coming out of its middle (who wouldn’t be), but she soon came to love it so much that she got half of it in her belly and half of it on her belly (a sure sign of any successful dinner party). This was one of the few days in her life when NP has had a bath at noon, and by my count she did 15 lengths of the tub to work off her post cake energy.
This brings me to my perceived energy after the party. I had hoped to get out for my run early this morning, but that didn’t happen for various reasons, the main one being that I didn’t get out of bed until after 7:00. This meant that I scheduled my run for the late afternoon, but after the party I was for some reason feeling very low on energy, despite having consumed some cake myself. I also think the weather was a factor. After cold and sunny days for the past few weeks, the temperature went up to plus 4 Celsius today and brought with it rain. As NP and I looked out the window (as in the photo above) at the bleak day, I had little confidence that the run would be good, especially as today was my longer run of the week (80 minutes). What happened came as a great surprise.
I got ready and set out. The first km was abysmal, due in part I think to continued thoughts of our nice dry apartment, but once I saw my slow time for the first km, accepted the undoubted benefits of a warmer day, and realized that it wasn’t really raining much at all anymore, I decided that I would do my best to enjoy the run and picked up the pace. And enjoy the run I did! I ran today chiefly around the university track, again to have a flat and more forgiving surface than asphalt. The time for my second km dropped by 58 seconds and I was surprised at how great my legs were feeling. In the end, my time for the first 10km section of the run was 44:15 (a personal best since starting my training in January), and although I dropped my pace a bit after the 10km mark, I felt relaxed and strong right through to the end of the run (18.2km in 84:19 minutes). I think that there are two lessons that can be taken from this surprisingly successful training session: 1) sometimes, even when you’re not feeling very energetic, you have to get into a training session before you know how it will turn out; 2) birthday cake, in moderation, may well provide particular benefits for training.