Monday, April 08, 2013

The Third Month of February

This will be the winter that never let go. Maybe we'll see the ground by Memorial Day? With lows of -16 and highs in the single digits it still feels like early or mid-February. And according to our 10 day forecast, no break through the middle of next week. Unless you call 32 and snow a respite!

I'm running more than skiing. The latter just for recovery or distance about twice a week is about all I feel like doing. Despite the cold and icy conditions I'm ramping up the miles earlier than past years here Nothing huge, but 26 and 33 miles the past two weeks and aiming for high 30s this week.

I did the Spring Fling on Saturday, in spite of it being like a mid-winter's ice plunge. Spring Fling my Frozen Chosen ass.

The UAF thermometer said 14, but no way. It was more like 5 or 6 F out there at 10:30 when I was warming up and not a degree above single digits by the time we finished. I've done some cold racing on snowshoes and skis (or combi races), but have generally avoided winter road running. I'm almost certain this was my coldest 5K ever.

I lined up on the front row, but got put into my place right quick when a couple runners bumped me from behind and rocketed past before we even reached Alumini Drive, some 50-60 meters into the race. Along the way I picked up a stone in my shoe tread and it was digging into the ball of my foot. I tried to shake it, scrape it, or kick it out on the pavement but that didn't work. The leaders were well ahead already and I wanted to hang with the second pack of five or so runners. However, the rock was becoming painful and I had to stop to pull out the offending pebble. With clumsy lobster mitts, and already out of breath, that took two tries. Just past the UAF traffic circle, maybe 500 meters in, I was 10th or 11th and a ways back. But I could see that other than the first three or four everyone was slowing up, so I just made my way up, catching one at a time.

I tried to get a mile split but the glare was pretty high and I didn't hit the split timer well. I think it was 5:55, and I was 8th place. Past the Reindeer Farm/Botanical Garden I was still moving up and by 2K I caught the fast-starting 5th and 6th place runners. They were breathing hard so I was confident that I could move ahead. Patiently.

I was 10 seconds clear by the turn-around and was able to maintain that position throughout. I did pick it up (effort wise), but splits were right even with 11:49 (about) and 17:44 (finally got a split!), and I kicked in with 18:16. That's my slowest 5K since 2003, when I was injured and running 20 miles a week.

But at those temps I'm not disappointed because everyone's time was off; in fact, I was encouraged by placing decently and keeping an even pace.

Looks like it will also be cold for Beet Beathoven this weekend. Mid-teens will feel like a heat wave.  


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