Monday, April 6, 2009

The winter that would not die

You know, Mother Nature can be a real bitch when she wants to be. Here it is April 6th and I think we've gotten more snow in the last three weeks than we did all winter before that (or at least it feels that way). Here's a recap:

March 23rd - Blizzard, well over a foot of snow, drifts much higher

March 30th - Blizzard, another 6 inches or so

April 4th - Winter Storm, 13+ inches more

Will it ever freakin end??

Well, the good news is that its actually supposed to approach, or exceed, 50 degrees at some point this week and there isn't aren't any more major winter storms in the forecast (knock on wood).

Running-wise, the taper continues. As of today, I can check the 15 day Boston forecast on Accuweather (62 with rain showers possible), so that gives me something else to obsess about for the next couple of weeks.

Monday - 6 in the morning, another 4 later in the morning. I knew the blizzard was bearing down on us, but I went about my morning routine as if I was going to work (knowing full well that I probably wasn't). Sure enough, after I'd run the six and was ready to head into work, work got cancelled because the interstate got shut down and no travel advisories were posted everywhere else. I squeezed in the 4 miler before the gym closed down early due to the storm.

Tuesday - 8 miles. Back outside. This blizzard definitely had less punch than the first one (at least in Belle Fourche). The streets were runnable right away; seems like the city actually kept up with the plowing this time.

Wednesday - 11 miles including 20 minutes easy, 15 minutes tempo, 20 minutes easy, 15 minutes tempo and a couple of miles cooldown. I ran this on an out and back route in Spearfish that's generally downhill on the out and uphill on the back, so the first set of tempo was faster than the second, as expected.

Thursday - 6 miles in the morning, 2 miles with Caiden in the afternoon. Caid, who just turned 5 the day before, is registered to run two kids marathons this year: Deadwood-Mickelson and Missoula. Now, of course they don't expect a bunch of kids to run 26.2 miles at once. What they do is run, walk, or hike a total of 25 miles in the months leading up to race day and have an adult keep track of their progress on a mileage sheet and then run the last 1.2 on race day. This was Caiden's first run of the "spring" (I use that term loosely, but it was the warmest day of the week). We started off with the goal of running 1 mile, but when we got back to the house after a mile and I asked him if he wanted to stop he said no, so we kept going. He ran 11 minute pace the first mile, closer to 12 after that and didn't walk at all until about 1.6 miles and then we walk/jogged the last 0.4. When we got back to the house again at 2 miles I asked him again if he wanted to stop and, with a huge grin on his face, he said no again. But, I decided that 2 miles was probably enough at that point, so we stopped. Now, if Mother Nature would just cooperate, we could do this more often.

Friday - 6 miles w/ 8 strides in the morning, 4 in the afternoon. The afternoon run was done in fairly heavy snow as the next storm began.

Saturday - 6 miles w/ 8 strides. Back inside thanks to yet more snow.

Sunday - 16.1 miles. The irony of this run is that I spent a good part of the week worrying about what I should do. I didn't know if I should just run an easy 16, or if I should mix in some marathon pace miles. I even emailed Jack Daniels, not the whiskey distiller but a famous running coach who wrote the book I've been using to train for Boston, and asked him. He actually responded really quickly and his advice was to include some marathon pace miles. So, I eventually decided that I would run 16 with the middle ten at marathon pace. Well, Mother Nature obviously had other plans. Although the snow had stopped late Saturday, the streets were in craptacular shape and I had no desire whatsoever to run my final pre-Boston long run on the indoor track, so I headed outside. Running anything faster than a normal, easy long run pace was basically impossible, at least if I didn't want to fall on my ass repeatedly (I didn't). The streets in town were snowpacked with a thin layer of fresh snow on top, which made them slicker than snot. Outside of town, the roads had either been freshly plowed, so the snow was all broken up and soft and it was like running in sand, or they hadn't been plowed yet, so I had to run in the tire tracks of vehicles that had passed through. At one point, I had to turn around and backtrack because the tracks stopped and the road was just totally covered with over a foot of fresh snow. So, all the worrying about what I should do ended up being taken out of my hands. I did manage to throw down one marathon pace mile when I finally found a clear stretch of highway toward the end of the run, but for the most part my last long run before Boston wasn't anything spectacular (and most certainly wasn't fast).

Total - 69.1 miles

Two weeks to go. I'm at the point now where I've pretty much done everything I can do. From here on out, it's more about not hurting myself than it is about pushing myself. This is also when the questions start: Did I do enough? Did I do too much? Is my goal totally unrealistic? Is this the stupidest idea I've ever had? Why can't I find a less stressful hobby? How many Sam Adams can I drink after the race and still make my Tuesday morning flight home? Ah, the joys of taper madness....

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