BMC50K Training: Week 13

We’re having an interesting winter here. This area is a shrub steppe; weather-wise, it’s similar to a high desert. Our summers are hot, our winters are cold, it’s dry — we average about 8″ of precipitation each year — and it tends to be windy. Going into this winter, the weather prediction model suggested higher-than-average amounts of precipitation. Thus far, we’ve had a very snowy winter.

This story best describes what snow usually means around here: a dusting, and it melts by sunset. http://nwpr.org/post/snow-storms-jam-life-and-work-east-cascades Last month, we got a fair bit of snow. It covered our lawn for a week, then it warmed up rapidly and the snow melted. And then the snow returned.

For my shorter runs, this snow is kind of a blessing. Everything is white, so I can see when a car is coming up behind me well in advance. I was running in the early morning and never worrying about cars. (I was running in the road because the vehicle traffic compacts the snow; the sidewalks are treacherous.) I’ve been running with YakTrax. It makes for a slower pace, but they work great.

Last week, though, I faced a dilemma. I headed out for a 6-mile run Saturday morning. Because it was already light outside, I lost the advantage of being able see cars approaching at a good distance. I was too uncomfortable running around the neighborhood. I decided to run a bigger loop that included the bike path along the river. I wanted to see how it looked because I was planning to use it for my 12-mile run the next day.

The bike path is snow-covered. It’s been walked on a lot, so it’s not smooth, but it’s several inches deep. I “fell” off the edge of the path ~ thank goodness for strong ankles.(Thank you, running!) It was slow going, but I keep telling myself that all this running in and on snow will make me faster in the long run. I did a hill workout the day before, and it was also slow going.

Sunday brought more snow, and a prediction for freezing rain. I was ready to head out for my 12-mile run. I planned to run along the bike path to avoid cars, knowing full well the run would take me at least three hours. Finally, I realized that meant I wouldn’t make it back until well after dark. I just bought a new headlamp, and I’d love to try it out, but I wasn’t relishing the idea of running in the dark after a couple of hours of running in the snow. It’s exhausting. So I made the decision that I wanted to avoid: I went to the club and ran it on a treadmill.

Twelve miles. On a treadmill. On purpose. Yes, it was awful.

I was able to watch the Green Bay Packers – New York Giants game. But entertainment doesn’t change the fact I’m on a treadmill. I really hated it. I was slow, but I got it done.

This workout had the note, “This will be hard. Do it anyway.” I really wanted to quit, but I couldn’t let myself quit. I told myself that it didn’t matter if I had to walk the rest of it, I wasn’t getting off that treadmill until I got to twelve miles.  And I did it!

Here’s the best part: while it was a slow and unimpressive workout, I feel pretty accomplished. I told myself I couldn’t quit, and I didn’t. My legs are tired today, but I feel strong. I am impressed with myself.

The long workouts are getting longer. I’m looking forward to it. Now is the time to start adapting my brain for what it’ll face March 25th.

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