Eventually, spring will grab hold and maintain its grip, but until then the weather is just going to be difficult. The craziest thing about the weather these last couple of weeks is the extremes we've been alternating between. It goes from 40s and 50s (warm for this time of year) to below zero (cold for this time of year) with very little in between (i.e, there is no "normal"). This past week was a good example.
Monday - 12.7 miles. Met up with Paul, Nathan and Ryan to run the Centennial Trail. The four of us are all running the Collegiate Peaks 50 in May and Paul and Nathan are both running the Black Hills 100 (the 100k for Paul, the 100 mile for Nathan). It was pretty cold out (teens with some wind making it feel closer to 0) and there was some fresh snow (6+ inches in some areas). Honestly, if I hadn't made plans to run with other people, there's probably no way in hell I would've opted for a trail run in those conditions. But, not wanting to wuss out, I manned up, made myself some screw shoes to prevent a repeat of the previous Saturday's hard fall on the Centennial, and headed out. I had planned on going 10, Nathan and Ryan were going for more like 15 and Paul I think was going for 10ish too. After a few miles, we got spread out on the trail with Ryan and Nathan ahead together, myself in the middle and Paul not far behind. About seven miles in, while running across an open area exposed to the wind, I started getting pretty damn cold so decided to turn back (I had planned on running until I met Ryan and Nathan on their way back). I met back up with Paul shortly after but then we split apart again as he decided to follow the trail back up over a big hill and I opted for a faster dirt road route to try and get out of the wind sooner. I ended up with 12.7 miles and by the time I was done my calves were trashed. Running through the fresh snow, which was over ankle deep in most areas and even deeper in some, caused me to run up on my toes, putting more strain on my calves. But, on the bright side, I didn't fall or even slip a single time, so I guess the screw shoes worked.
Tuesday - 6.8 miles. My calves were more sore than they have been in a long time...felt like I'd run a marathon the day before. But, interestingly, when I headed out for my run (on relatively flat roads and bikepath), they felt perfectly fine. Just goes to show how different my stride is under different conditions. Apparently I don't work my calves much at all during a "normal" run.
Wednesday - 10.2 miles w/ 6 tempo. Again, my calves were still sore but felt fine once I started running. I ran a fairly hilly loop (for a road run) so the pace on the tempo miles varied quite a bit, but I felt good overall. Temp was near 40 for this one.
Thursday - 6 miles AM, 4 PM. After relatively balmy weather on Wednesday, the bottom fell out on Thursday and both runs ended up being on indoor tracks (2 different ones) because of negative windchills.
Friday - 6 miles. Again, frigid cold. Again, indoor track.
Saturday - 5.1 miles. It was 6 degrees out and sunny when I ran and it felt friggin tropical compared to the last two days. The screw shoes worked great on the snowpacked city streets.
Sunday - 20.2 miles. Again, wore the screw shoes although the streets were slightly more clear (it was all the way into the 20s by the time I got done), so running on bare pavement with them was kinda awkward. Never felt great during the run, but felt okay for the first half. For some reason, I hit a little wall after 10 miles, but still didn't really feel bad. Just okay.
Total - 71 miles