My runs on Friday and Sunday couldn't have been more different.
Friday, I hit the trails of Ryan Park with my coworker Dan. I thought that the few days of 40+ degree weather would have cleared up the snow and ice from the trails - especially the parts exposed to the sun. Wrong! We started off and instantly the trail looked like a glacier melt. Dan's trail shoes are waterproof - good idea. Mine are meshy - great for ventilation - not for keeping water out. But it wasn't the wet feet that bothered me. Our pace was dreadfully slow - 9 minutes for the first mile. We decided to hit the pavement and loop around to the other side of the park. Surprisingly, the most wooded trails were in the best shape. They were still icy or snow covered. This kept the pace down, but we were enjoying ourselves. I even took a spill on a bridge - I kicked it going up and then "skated" on the other foot until crashing awkwardly - I felt fine after. I was impressed how Dan didn't mind the bad footing - he's a big guy - twice my size - and I was worried he might be angry at me for suggesting trails today over roads. We ended up doing about 7.5 miles in 61 minutes and I'm hoping my shoes dry out by Monday.
I wanted to do a fast, challenging run on Sunday. I didn't have a lot time, so I decided to do the road loop from my house. My house sits atop a hill on one of the highest points around - 220 above sea level. Not very impressive to my more northerly runners, but to most runners around here it is a big hill. The loop is 3.67 miles, which includes a mile uphill near the end. The first mile is mostly downhill, but does have a significant uphill in the middle. My goal was to average 7 minute or less miles. This would require me to push myself physically and mentally the entire time.
My first mile felt good and I clocked in at 6:34. Then I hit an uphill section and was feeling slower. The road levels and then drops which lifted my spirits. I turned the corner for the 1 mile ascent and took off my hat and gloves, and rolled up my sleeves. It may have been 36 degrees, but I was on fire. Half way through, there is a particularly steep section. My body felt horrible and I thought about stopping. I chugged along and as the grade eased I didn't feel as bad. I just tried to keep up a decent pace. I finished in 24:52 - 6:47 miles! The last time I did this workout (mid January), my pace was 7:10. It's nice to see such improvement. I wonder what I could do a 5K on a flat course in?