09 February 2014

Snow Days

Every mile is two in winter. 
-George Herbert
The Old Farmer’s Almanac predicted that this winter would be snowier than usual, which is proving to be true based on the three previous winters we've experienced here along the Front Range. Last I heard, we are at 125% of normal snowfall. Prior to this year, we'd cleared the snow from our driveway three times in as many years. This year, the count stands at eight.
Speed shoveling as cross training
I had a long run scheduled the day after we had four inches of snow fall with several more predicted during the run. It made for a beautiful and challenging 13 miler. I wondered if I should have brought snowshoes as I was pulling my feet through 6 inches of powder about halfway through. This trail is not particularly scenic, but covered in snow, it’s absolutely gorgeous. I had it all to myself and it was magical. At least for the first three hours... 

Along with much of the rest of the US, our temps have also recently plummeted below zero and hung there for several days. Last week, I’d finally had enough. I cashed in some guest passes at local clubs and took my workouts indoors. Ran my Yasso 800s on an indoor track, got a little hill climbing on the Stairmaster and logged a couple of runs on the treadmill. Strangely, I didn’t find it tedious. I had my tunes blaring and the TV to distract me and just knowing I didn’t have to bundle up and deal with the crap outside left me feeling quite content.

I usually hit my limit with winter around this time, knowing full well that here in Colorado, our big snows tend to come in March. Already, I’m dreaming of dry & dusty trails and the relative simplicity of dressing and gearing up for my runs. 

The Almanac had this to say about the spring:

April and May will be drier and much warmer than normal.

Yes. Let’s hope they’ve got that right too.

I did manage to get out for a snowy run at the third PPRR Winter Series race. I put screws in my shoes thinking that may be sufficient, when what I needed the first half was crampons. Oy vey.
Screwed Shoes
The five miles out to the turnaround was covered in wet, rutted snow with the consistency of brown sugar. Within minutes, my ankles were hurting and it wasn’t long until that discomfort spread all the way up to my hip. I was expending so much energy to keep myself stabilized that I was running 13:20s the first half as we made our way up the gradual uphill to the turnaround point. 

As temps increased and 189 people trampled on the trail twice, I began to pick up a little speed for the five miles back. The gradual downhill had me averaging 10:45s as I began to open up my stride a little more. While I still felt some sliding, the trail was smoother on the way back. At the start of the race, I placed myself in the back and slowly worked my way past 16 people, most of them in the last 4 miles. Finished in 2:01 and feeling quite tired after running hard, especially in the second half. The last mile clocked in at 9:22, as I went for a fast (for me) finish. Three down, one more to go before the real race season kicks off in March with the Salida Marathon.

I'm a big fan of acoustic music and a sucker for any with a piano player. One of my favorite Americana bands to listen to on long, easy runs is Seattle's The Head and the Heart. Their self-titled debut album is one of my desert island albums. Enjoy. 

Happy Trails,


No comments:

Post a Comment