Friday, January 29, 2010

Racing the Weather

2.5 mile w/u
3 mile predator @ 17:52 (5:58, 5:59, 5:55)
2.5 mile c/d
Total: 8 miles

The impending inclement weather was on everyone's minds this morning, so Jess and I planned to go to McAlpine for our workout immediately following her morning class. Though no precip was falling at the time, it wasn't much of a stretch to imagine what would unfold later in the day. Thick, low-lying clouds, temperatures in the low 40s and falling, and a stiff, blustery wind greeted us upon our arrival at Old Bell. There wasn't much dilly-dallying before beginning our warmup.

As soon as we got started, it became apparent that the trail would be running much slower than usual. Normally the densely-packed dirt is almost as firm as your average neighborhood street, but apparently Parks and Rec had recently added more soil in response to last week's heavy rainfall. As a result, many sections of the trail were as soft and uneven as running on a beach. I wouldn't mind during a normal run, but for today's hard effort it would prove frustrating.

After some debate, Jess and I decided to be as un-creative as usual and stick with a familiar course: out and back from the one mile mark on the Footlocker course. This meant that we'd have a nice little tailwind boost early on, but would face a stiff headwind for the last mile or so of the run. Makes you tougher, I suppose. We started out at a brisk clip but due to the wind assistance I felt like I was jogging. In fact, I felt amazing all the way to the turnaround point despite the iffy terrain. By the time I hit the 2-mile marker, however, the wind had begun to wear me down. The section from 2 to 2.5 felt like an absolute crawl; sure enough, I went through the half mile mark in 3:03, my slowest section yet. I dug in and increased the effort as much as possible toward the end, surprising myself by closing in 2:52. It definitely didn't feel easy, but in the end I ran 25 seconds faster than on this exact same workout two weeks ago. Further, the weather conditions were perfect on that day and the dirt was a non-issue, which makes today's run that much better than the previous one. I'm still not fit, but it's satisfying to see that I'm getting there.

Speaking of satisfying, after one of the best hot showers I've experienced, the rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing with coffee and peanut butter M&Ms. The first flurries began to fly around 5, and it occurred to us that we should probably fortify our supplies for the weekend ahead. What started as an innocent and well-intentioned trip to the grocery store turned into a huge mistake. Apparently everyone within a five mile radius of Dilworth/Myers Park was convinced that the apocalypse was upon us and thus needed to stock up on necessities like milk, frozen pizza and alcohol. The line for the self-checkout was backed up farther than at a Jonas Brothers album signing, and we spent a good 30 minutes queueing up with the masses in hopes of taking home our own rations of said necessities. It was absolute chaos. Fortunately we made it home before the streets became undriveable and settled in for the night. Stay tuned for winter wonderland photos tomorrow morning!