December 1st was the official first day of my new training cycle after taking a full two months off from training. I did run and bike during those two months, but took it very casually and just enjoyed myself. I have to say, after putting in a few days of good work I am glad to be back at it! It feels good to see the wooden clothing rack in my room covered with sweaty clothes in various stages of drying out for re-use. It's nice to have a little ache in the calves and hamstrings at the end of the day.
Today I left for my run in warm temperatures and pouring rain. I ran the Spec Pond Loop, which is about 7 miles of pavement and old dirt roads. I normally don't check weather forecasts unless it will make a difference in my day's plans, so I was very surprised and happy to see the sun break through the clouds after a half hour of running. I was almost dry by the time I got home.
A few days ago I decided I should time my runs and keep an eye on my pace to stop being so lazy. This was prompted by a few comments from my sister about our slow pace when I ran with her a week or two ago. I didn't remember to time myself today until the last mile. I tried to hold the same pace I had done for the previous 6 miles to get some idea of how I had paced through the entire run. My last mile on pavement was 8:26. Not very fast, but not totally embarrassing. This felt like a relaxed pace, I definitely wasn't pushing. So I don't think I'm all THAT pokey right now. It's a good starting point for this training cycle. But more important than my fitness level starting out, is the fact that I am healthy and un-injured now.