Today was the first day of the running course that I've signed up for. It was meant to be a chilly 0 degrees here in Canberra, but I found out later that it got down to -2. There was certainly plenty of frost around. It's the first morning that the fence where I sit to take off my bicycle knicks was too frosty to sit on!
I was well rugged up when I arrived at Lennox Gardens. I was wearing a sleeveless top, a t-shirt, my new green running jacket, my warm ecofleece jacket and my bright yellow bike jacket, as well as two pairs of socks, my running pants, my bike pants, warm bike gloves and a beanie. It was a real effort to take a few layers off before the run, but I managed to get rid of the bike gear, my warm jacket and the beanie.
There were six of us there this morning, all familiar faces from Team Black, along with the two trainers. Today's session was hill training, so we headed off to Parliament Hill. When I've gone past on the bus I've noticed these wide green sections. It never occurred to me that I'd be running up one of them, but that's what happened this morning.
When we got up to the level around the building, we did a 1 km time trial. I'd done it really hard in the initial jog and the run up the hill. I'm not sure if it was all in my head or if it was the cold, but I wasn't a happy camper. Still, I knew the time trial would be used for comparison later, and I was curious to see how I'd go. The fastest I've run a km in a race is 6:15.
I was the first one to head off and the others followed me at 15 sec intervals. Being the slowest runner in the group, I quite liked that arrangement as it meant that they wouldn't all be waiting ages for me at the end. I took off too fast, even though I knew I shouldn't, and ended up taking two short walk breaks to get my breath back. I was counting steps so I know that they were both only about 30 seconds. I ended up covering the km in 5:48, which surprised me. I was pleased too.
After the time trial, we headed to the hill that covers the building. I had no idea that we'd be allowed to run on it. We were running up the hill on one side, walking across to the other side, jogging down the hill, and then walking back to the start. The route was shaped like a trapezium. The hill was divided into sections by concrete paths going across the hill. The first time up I got past half way before walking for a little, then running again to where we were finishing. I was so relieved that the girls were stopping after the fourth section instead of doing one more section.
The second time around I ran more of the hill and the third time, with Krissi running with me and encouraging me, I made it the whole way. The fourth time, I stopped, thinking I was done, but Krissi encouraged me to keep on going, and I got to the top. A couple of the girls managed to run the hill five times, which was a magnificent effort.
While we were running up the hill for the last time, a gardener arrived and asked us to stop. Apparently you're not supposed to run on the hill when the turf is frosty. I'm glad we didn't find that out at the beginning, as we would have had to stop then. We're only down for this hill once during the course, so it would have been disappointing to miss out on running up it. When I visited Parliament House I remember looking down on this hill from the top of the building, and thinking that it would be great fun to play on the hill. Now I've done it. :-)
After we finished the hill run, we jogged back down to Lennox Gardens. We took a different path down the hill. I had no idea that the hill had running tracks or that the bicycle path took you up to Parliament House. I also had no idea that we were allowed into the area to exercise. I certainly didn't expect to be running on the hill on top of the building. Wow.
By the end of the session we'd run about 6 km. I rode home on my bike and was really glad to get into my nice warm apartment. The only other exercise I've done today has been walking! My legs are really feeling tired now and I'm sure I'll sleep well tonight.