Saturday, February 04, 2006

A Cold Long Run

I was up at 5:30 this morning and out the door by about 6:15 a.m. for my long run. On the schedule 34K/21M, or about 3 ½ hours. It was still cold (-5C/23F), foggy, and with a slight wind. As I was unsure if all the asphalt trails were free of ice or not I really didn’t have any specific pace in mind – somewhere around 6:00/K (9:39/M).

The first three kilometers were ice and snow free, so I had a pretty good pace going, but then the paths got worse – 2 inches of hard snow, lots of ice patches. I still managed to finish the first 11K (my first turnaround point) with an average pace of 5:52/K (9:27/M). I felt good, I tried my best to keep the tempo going.

I crossed the 20K point (my next direction change) with an average pace of 5:43/K (9:12/M) for the 20K – oops a little fast.

After another kilometer I pulled out of the cover of the forest that I had been running through and began running over trails and fields that offered absolutely no cover from the wind. My legs started getting cold – I was wearing sport long underwear with thin running pants, but these were soaked through. By the 26K point my legs were stiff and hurting, I paused and rubbed them trying to warm them, walked and ate a peanut butter and honey sandwich that I had brought along, washed down with sports drink. I painfully tried to get my legs to move again. I made it another 10-12 minutes and walked a minute or two, then ran some more.

Despite the gloves I was wearing my hands were starting to freeze too, so I made the decision that a couple extra kilometers isn’t worth it today and took a short cut back to the house.

I ran what I guess was between 31-32 kilometers (around 20 miles), a little short, but not every run can be perfect. I am very satisfied with my pace for the first 20+ kilometers, this was a good 15 seconds faster than my planned marathon pace.

Next weekend is a medium long run (24K/15M) and in two weeks a 36K/22M long run. If the cold continues I am going to dig out my thick, heavy, ugly – but very warm cotton-wool running pants before then.

I have 74K/46M for this week so far. I may go for an unscheduled hour run tomorrow afternoon if I need some fresh air.

Even with the short cut, this was still an amazingly long run - as long as anything I have in my schedule (3 20-milers is as long as I'm going this time round), so well done.
Whenever it is windy, I change my route to run in the forest rather than out in the open, no matter what I had planned in advance. Maybe you should adapt your route as well, even if it means running the same loop twice.
Good grief, I don't know HOW you do this in that weather!

Great job!
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