March is finally here. This is the month where winter finally starts to lose its grip on South Dakota and spring starts to take over. Of course, we inevitably get nailed by one last spring blizzard (or maybe three, like last year) in later March or early April (or even early May). But, for the most part the days are getting longer and the high temps are getting higher (but not too high). This last week was a good example of that. Highs were generally in the 40s all week punctuated by a couple of inches of new snow on Friday night, which promptly melted away when the temperatures rose again on Saturday (but not before my long run, as you will see).
Sunday - 10.3 miles
Monday - 10.2 miles, played basketball at lunchtime (the first time I've done so since spraining my ankle playing three on three last month...I escaped unscathed)
Tuesday - 10 miles w/ 6 tempo. Nothing spectacular. It went reasonably well, but it did feel good to run outside in shorts and a t-shirt.
Wednesday - 14 miles. Did this one early in the morning, in the dark and fog. About halfway into it, I was running down a relatively lonely stretch of highway (all stretches of highway are relatively lonely in South Dakota at 5 AM). As I normally due, I was running facing traffic, but I would also scoot over to the opposite side of the road whenever a car approached me, always making sure I was on the shoulder on the opposite side of the highway from any vehicles. As I was happily cruising along, a cop car pulled up to me, lights flashing and all, so I stopped and the friendly officer rolled down his window to tell me I should stay on the side of the road so I wouldn't get hit. Well, no shit, Sherlock. I told him that's what I was doing and he drove off. Must've been a slow morning in Belle Fourche.
Thursday - 6 miles in the morning, another 5.5 in the afternoon. After the tempo run on Tuesday and the 14 miler on Wednesday, this was definitely a recovery day. The morning run especially was really slow, but I intentionally did it that way. I think I've been running my recovery runs too fast lately just because it felt alright, so I wore my heart rate monitor and made sure to keep my HR under 130.
Friday - 8 miles, more basketball.
Saturday - 18 miles. It had rained off and on all day Friday and when I awoke on Saturday morning I discovered that that rain had turned to snow. Yippee. There was a couple of inches of fresh, wet snow on the ground when I headed out for my run at about 9:30. The footing wasn't great, but it wasn't horrible either. A few stretches of busier road were actually clear, just wet, but the side streets and back roads were snow covered at first and then slushy toward the end of the run, which is even harder to run on than snow. It's not solid, like snow can be, but it also doesn't give way totally and after 16 miles or so, running on it can be pretty damn tiring. Lucky for me, the slushiest section of road I encountered was in the final mile. Up until that point, my feet were still dry but by the time I finished that last mile, my shoes and socks were dripping wet from slogging through the slush. Despite all that, I had a pretty good run with a solid long run pace and amazingly consistent splits. Of course, if I would've waited until after lunch I could've run on wet streets instead of snowy/slushy ones but, whatever, at least I got it over with.
Total - 82 miles
This coming week marks my last week of basebuilding. On March 15th, I officially began training for the Lean Horse Hundred. Hard to believe. It still seems so far away, especially given the weather. But in 25 short weeks I'll be slogging through a hot August day and night wondering what in the hell I've gotten myself in to. Should be a hoot.