Monday, February 2, 2009

Snow, Sleet, and Ice

He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes. He casteth forth the ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold
Psalm 147: 16,17

This week of training offered many opportunities to skip a workout. The DC area had it’s first snow of the year and although it only amounted to about 2 inches of accumulation, it was a big deal around here. I have the tendency at times to be a fair-weather runner and fought with myself a couple times this week to lace up the shoes and get on the trail. In the end it all paid off and I was able to get my first 50+ mile week of the year.

After a good workout on Monday night I was treated to a couple of inches of fresh snow on Tuesday. Due to the “treacherous” conditions we were told to go home early Tuesday afternoon (no problem). I decided to take advantage of the opportunity and run the WO&D trail from the Pentagon to East Falls Church Metro station. The run was awesome, fresh snow, about 32 degrees and no wind. About 4 miles into the run it began to snow so more and kept everything blanketed in white. The snow offered a great cushioning effect as I sank into it, step after step. But all good things must come to an end and as the temperature stayed below freezing the snow quickly turn to nice thick sheet of ice over the next couple of days.

Snow running: Fun - ice running: Not so fun. I was able to run into work on a pretty clear trail on Friday; however the runs on Saturday and Sunday were done on very icy trails (I guess it was good training for the ICY 8 hour this coming Saturday). I was very close to skipping a run on Saturday but drug myself out to the Bull Run Trail and got in a good 8.5 miles before sunset. I would say that 90% of the run was in ice/snow, and it made for some slow going in sections. It was a good run and set me up for my long run on Sunday.

My goal this week was to try and get over 50 miles accumulated and after a tough 16 miles at Bull Run Battlefield I was able to get there. Trail conditions were not good. Thick ice in the center of most of the trails required running on the sloped edges just to get my feet to break through the thinner parts and get any type of traction. I am usually pretty good about keeping upright while I run, regardless of trail conditions, but I took 3 nasty falls due to the ice and found myself becoming extremely frustrated with the conditions. Trying to stay motivated became a challenge but I was determined not to let the conditions ruin a good run. Bull Run always offers the opportunity to see plenty of wildlife, especially deer. Lately, I have been keeping track of the number of deer I see during a run and yesterday was a record 43.

So after the dust settled (or snow melted), I was able to get 51.5 miles for the week and feel like I am in good shape for the ICY 8 hour on Saturday. I plan to run 2 or 3 times this week and rest up prior to the event. I’m still working out the strategies for a timed event but right now think that I will run (4) 8 mile loops and then evaluate how much time I have left to determine whether I run the long loop or a couple of short loops. I will provide the gory details next week, until then: Run Strong.

Semper Fi and God Bless,
Training for 26 Jan-1 Feb: Weekly Mi (51.5), Monthly Mi (158.5), Yearly Mi (174.5)
Mon: Precor EFX 546 CrossRamp (5.5 mi /50 mins)
Tues: 8 mi, WO&D Trail(snow)
Wed: Lift
Thurs: Precor EFX 546 CrossRamp (5.5 mi / 50 mins)
Fri: 8 mi, WO&D Trail (Fartlek)
Sat: 8.5 mi, Bull Run / Occoquan Trail
Sun: 16 mi, Bull Run Battlefield

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