Saturday, February 06, 2010

A Waste of Energy?

ORN: 22.0 Miles, R1/W1, 4:18:16, 11:45/mile

The monster snowstorm which is now hammering the mid-Atlantic slid just to the south of us on Friday afternoon and evening. We got a mere 5" of snow, ending just past midnight. Sunny skies followed, creating a very pretty setting of wet, clingy snow coating our fair city.

Bird Feeder & Bush

Pear Tree

Of course, the lovely views of our backyard were tempered by logistic issues out our front door. With the LA Marathon now just six weeks away, the schedule called for a 22 mile training run. So how is this going to work?

My preferred route for long runs is terrific trail system we have in town. But it was impassable with the snow. So Plan B was to run a 6 mile out and back route through Indian Trails subdivision, followed by a 5 mile loop to Ravinimy Drive. Then, lather, rinse, all adds up to 22 miles. I don't like the repetition but that was the only option today. And the sun was out and everything looked white and clean. While the 27F temperature wasn't bad, the 25mph wind straight from Saskatchewan was a bit stiff to run into. But, hey, it's February in with it.

I also had planned to do a Run/Walk ratio of 1/1. I plan to try this in a full marathon in May and wanted to try it out. So, after clearing my own driveway, I headed out the door around 11am.

The footing was, to say the least, variable. The entire route was through residential areas. Some streets had been plowed, many had not. When it wasn't snow packed, it was just slushy and sloppy. I tried most of the time to simply find a set of tire tracks to run in. Inevitably, there was a lot of slippage and "picking my way through."

On some rare portions of the run on more well-traveled streets, I could actually run on bare, wet pavement. And that was when I tried to test the 1/1. I was pleased. My intent was to see how deep into this long run I could hold a 9:00 pace while running. It became clear early the only time I could test this was in those places with clear pavement. Amazingly, the cycle held well...anytime I had clear footing, I could easily "glide" to that pace...including the very last segment as I was heading home. I got it to 8:45/minute as the Garmin beeped mile 22.

The monotony of repeated loops was eased with the shared community that always happens after a big snowfall. I saw one of the most perfect snowmen I've seen in a long time in one yard and went back later to snap a photo. Nice job, eh??

Perfect Snowman

Some other funny events happened. Around mile 11, I saw an older gentleman shoveling his driveway. As I approached, he looked up, leaned on his shovel, and we greeted each other. "Boy, that's a waste of energy," he said to me.

Really, how's that?

"You could have come over here instead and shoveled this driveway for me!!" We had a good laugh. It is also a pretty typical exchange following big snowstorms as everyone digs out. I'm grateful to live in a friendly town.

The 1/1 cycle sat well for me, though. I felt strong at the end and could have easily gone 26 today, even with the sloppy footing. I have a lot of confidence we won't have to worry about snow and ice in LA on March 21.

Persevere. Whatever the footing.



Sarah said...

Nice! I'm wondering...with the 1/1, what is your run pace and what is your walk pace? When Marc does the 30/30, he's pretty much sprinting the run portion. It suits his personality well. : )

Darrell said...

Your make do route got 'er done.

Tyler had to shovel lots of the white stuff in OH. It's all new to him, he still thinks that it is fun!

Backofpack said...

I think it's funny that you went back to take a picture of the snowman! Good job getting it done - I love running in the snow, but not for 22 miles. It sure looks pretty there...

Wes said...

You are my cold weather inspiration :-)

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