Starting the new year off with fitness in mind, began with a 10k run on the path at Forest Park. We have some amazing parks here in St Louis, Forest Park is a gem! It’s 500 acres larger than Central Park in New York City. Situated in Midtown St Louis, there are many path options, Art, History and Science Museums, a planetarium, ice skating rink, golf course and a zoo to name a few of the attractions. On the first day of the year, my only focus was the 6 mile path around the outer perimeter of the park. We met up in the parking lot of the planetarium in the Southwestern corner of the park with one of the boxers from my husband’s gym. The three of us set off on our run – a beautiful partly cloudy day, 46 degrees with no wind.
It had been a year since I have run this distance, I usually run 5k instead. The last time I did 10k was on a treadmill too. So this was my first 10k distance run outdoors. The path at the park is paved, but there is also a gravel path next to it for those who prefer a softer surface. I like the asphalt trail better. I had a great playlist, my Garmin Forerunner 620 and my goal in mind. I enjoy my runs, the time I have to focus on me, my breathing, the feel of the pavement under my feet. I thought a lot about my goals for the new year. My half-marathon training specifically. I am excited about it! I was so apprehensive about my first 5k race, so being super excited about the half-marathon feels great! I haven’t registered yet, but I am leaning toward the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half-Marathon here in October.
My running path was nice, hilly on two sides, flat on the other two sides of the rectangular park. Lots of folks out and about on bikes, walking and running. I set out to keep a steady pace, not too fast, just an easy pace to go the distance. I’ve been enjoying my Garmin Forerunner 620 watch and heart monitor. I am a gadget girl, I like data. Charting my runs and all of the info gleaned each time I set out has been informative and fun. For me, the cardio aspect of running has always been a challenge. Learning how to work within my optimal heart rate zones has been helping me a lot. When I started running in 2012, it was on the treadmill, with zero incline. I have been working on running outdoors this past year, dealing with hills and natural terrain instead of my static treadmill runs. It’s good to be outside, to challenge myself and roll with the hills as they come.
As I wrapped up my 10k run (6.23 miles in 1 hour and 22 minutes) I felt strong. The guys finished well before me, but that’s ok. They were there at the end cheering for me, like a real race finish line. It was really sweet of them! In truth, I got a little emotional just then, grateful for being able to do this. To be plant-strong, to feel this good and having the courage to start running in the first place. I never thought I’d be a runner. You never know until you try.