Those numbers have nothing at all to do with temperature this time, although 80 degrees in January would be pretty damn impressive (and entirely unwelcome). It's all about miles this time as I try to remind my body what it's like to run for a lot of em. The highlights of the week were back to back 20 milers on Saturday and Sunday, giving me 40 miles for the weekend and 80 (82 and change, actually) for the week.
I hit up Lookout Mtn. a couple of more times during the week, giving me 8 summits so far for January, well beyond the pace necessary to get up there 50 times this year (like almost twice as many). Maybe 50 was a soft goal? After all, I didn't get my first summit last year until March probably, maybe April, so I've got a few months' head start this year. In any case, both runs up there this week were a chore in different ways. The first one was a slog through several inches of untouched snow, so I was breaking trail the whole way. Two days later, the snow had largely melted in some spots, or had gotten packed down and turned to ice in others, so there was either ice or mud to contend with the entire way. These aren't fast runs, by any means, but I'd rather slog slowly up Lookout than pound out a faster run on pavement (last I checked, Bighorn has a noticeable lack of pavement).
Having said that, though, there is also real life to contend with. Which is what led me to pounding out 20 miles, mostly on flat pavement, on Saturday morning. My son's basketball team, which I'm the coach of, had a game on Saturday, making it unrealistic for me to drive to a trail and get in a long run, so I hammered out some windy, cold miles around Belle. I balanced that out on Sunday, though, as Ryan and I ran the first 10 miles of the Black Hills 100 course. The trail was crazy icy in a few spots, especially in the first and last few miles around Fort Meade, but for the most part it was in incredibly decent shape for late January. The ice necessitated a slow pace in those sections, especially since I don't have micro-spikes nor have I made a pair of screw shoes yet this year, but overall the legs felt really good considering this is the first time I've put in 40 miles in a weekend for a very long time.
I registered for Deadwood-Mickelson last week, squeezing in before the price increase. Still need to get signed up for both Quad Rock and Bighorn. You'd think that, as a race director myself now, I'd stop procrastinating about this stuff and sign up for a race early, but I still find myself procrastinating until the last possible moment. Can't teach an old dog new tricks....or an ultrarunner to commit too soon.