So training run tonight was pretty good considering the cold and the loose snow pack on my trail – had to push myself fairly hard tonight to try to make up for some missed training miles in the past week. Was darned cold out there again tonight (-18C or around 0F) but I decided to add one extra layer to see what would happen. I had been concerned that the extra layer would be too bulky and actually be counter productive – that is stay warmer but have to run for a longer time with same result – frozen buttocks. In the end though it worked and the only place I was cold was my face, although my face never got as cold or anywhere near as numb as it was during yesterday’s run.
Thursday marks the 6 week point from our travel day for the 2013 Goofy Race and a Half Challenge and I have missed a total of 24.35 training miles in the past 2 weeks. Not good. There have been 2 basic factors in this – the weather turned snowy and cold and our treadmill broke – essentially on the same day!
On Sunday the 17th – I attempted to do a 19 miler in about 2 inches of fresh snow – I wasn’t prepared gear wise and after 4.5 miles came inside to finish the run on the treadmill. After 7.9 miles on the treadmill, it released the magic black smoke and was no more – so 12.4 miles instead of 19 and the first weekend since August 25th (and only the second since August 4th) that I haven’t run at least a half marathon distance run during the weekend. I was not happy and actually contemplated buying a new treadmill even though the current one was still on warranty.
I worked with Johnson (the manufacturer who made my treadmill) and sure enough it was on warranty and they were sending out a new control board as well as a new belt and deck – awesome service! Essentially getting a new treadmill out of this…but if it was just the control board I could have easily changed it myself and kept on going but with the deck and belt I have to wait for their warranty installer who can’t make it to our place until next Saturday (meaning I will have the parts sitting at my house for a week while I am running outside freezing my ass off). It will be good in the end though so I knew I just had to adapt as best I could and keep going.
So I took my runs outside during the week when I would normally do them on the treadmill on weekdays – Tuesday went well and even managed a rough imitation of speed work in the snow and cold on the trails. Wednesday I had to abandon because of snow and blowing snow and not being able to even start running until after 9pm – 10 miles just was not going to happen that night. Thursday I was able to get out and do a decent run and felt good even in the cold.
Then the weather got worse – woke up Saturday hearing the wind howling outside and sure enough it was bitterly cold with the wind (-34C / -30F) and I realized that 10 miles in that was going to be a not very wise thing to do. But I knew I had Monday off work so I could move the Saturday run to Sunday and then shift Sunday’s 20 miler to Monday – I had a funeral to attend Monday morning but I could get the run in before that – so that was the plan.
On Sunday I did a solid 10.25 mile run in 1:33:25 even with some rough snow drifts to contend with (my laps were about 40 minutes long and my footprints would disappear from one lap to the next) and was feeling confident on the 20 miler on Monday.
To do the Monday run though I knew that I was going to have to shift where I was running out of my neighbourhood due to early morning traffic on some busy side streets so I decided to go run in the city park where I used to run. I figured this would be a good way to also judge how I was doing compared to last years training runs in the same park around the same time of year. Running in that park though meant that I needed to give myself about 20 minutes to get there and get rolling and then 20 minutes to get home, still do my probably 3 hours or so of running and then get showered and dressed and get to the funeral. It meant a very early alarm…which I vaguely remember going off and hitting the button to kill and then noticing it was an hour later. Blew that plan.
Devised new plan – go to the funeral and then do the run in the park in the afternoon. This should have worked well except the wind came up pretty strong and vicious. I had expected a bit more shelter from the wind in the park but it was pretty strong and bit pretty deep. I was able to keep mostly warm but by the time I had finished my third 2.2 mile lap my face was numb even through my balaclava. I was about a third done at that point and had to call it at that point to avoid damage.
Now beyond the cold my heart probably wasn’t in it either – attending a funeral before the run probably didn’t help my mindset but the funeral was more important than the run. But interestingly I think what really shut me down was the shorter laps – they are about half the length of the laps I have been doing near my house. Now I did the 6.6 miles in less than a minute over an hour (looks like approx 20% improvement over this time last year) so I was moving pretty good despite the cold and the roads being pretty greasy with loose packed snow but I was definitely having mental issues with the time it was going to take. I actually caught myself on the second lap thinking after this lap and 4 more there will be only 3 laps left to go…pretty telling that my mind just wasn’t there. I actually find the longer laps are better for motivation because as long as I can convince myself to start one I will finish it mean another 4.4 – 4.5 miles added to the total for the day, which is significant chunk of any planned training run no matter how you slice it. But 2.2 barely seemed to make a dent mentally in the overall total. What I am saying is I think I won’t be running more laps in the park any time soon – I will deal with traffic instead.
I was feeling pretty down on my running after yesterday but the run tonight was very good and I am a bit re-energized because of it.
I do however now need to re-jigger my training plan to get the 2 back to back long run weekends in. Since I blew up on the 19 and the 20 over the past 2 weekends I need a plan to get those back – not going to try to regain the mileage but want to do the 2 long run weekends back to back to show the body what it can do.
That means what I need to do is bump up the mileage this weekend – so instead of 4.5 and 13.5 miles on the weekend I will do 9 and 19 (or possibly 10 and 20 if I am up for it) and then I will keep the high mileage runs of 10 on and 20 for next weekend. This will get me what I need and at that point I will fall back into my normal schedule with a lighter week and then one last big week with another 10 and 20 mile weekend before starting the taper to the Goofy.
This should work! As long as everything doesn’t get broken by the inch or 2 of snow being predicted for tomorrow…