Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Minor Watchung Regret and training fun

Sometimes, we all learn a good lesson the hard way or in a way we'd wouldn't otherwise choose, usually those lessons are entirely necessary.  In my case, I am kicking myself just a little for bailing on the Watchung half marathon from the prior weekend.  I distinctly recall the fatigue, the biting cold and quit on my half marathon goal for what?  Saving myself a little misery while doing what I set out to do?  Yeah, it was hard to continue but it was doable.  It's also hard to run my first marathon, every race should be hard, it's part of any sport.  Long races won't get any easier as they go, that's a given.  And if I'm running them correctly, they probably won't really get much harder as the miles pile on.  It seemed like a solid plan at the time to bail with a 10K, but I am carrying some regret.

My initial "acceptance" of 1:13-and-change was something I was content with considering the conditions.  That turned out to be good enough for a surprise 9th place of the 51 10K finishers.  Perusing the results, I was pretty surprised to see the number of runners that stuck it out.  There were 49 half marathoners, 11 30Ker's, 34 marathoners, and 23 50Kers.  The top 2 50Kers finished within 24 seconds, holding some very impressive splits and both finishing at 4:42:17 and 4:42:41.  What they did in those conditions is impressive.  While I hope for dry ground again in my revisit of the Ironmasters Challenge in April, I'm still just hoping for a sub 6-hour showing.  Granted, Ironmasters' course is significantly harder than this 10K loop, I am left with a considerable amount of work to do before then.

Hercules' brutal cold and half foot of snow did make for a great first cold race of 2014.  I will be back in north Jersey for a trail half marathon on Feb 1 to attempt for redemption.  This time, I'll fall back on a new aid, my Ice Trekkers.  These puppies kept me upright for a solid 9 mile training run on Saturday while the remaining Ice on the Wissahickon trails seemed to be combating the 63 degree temperature and pouring rain.  Ice and mud were no problem with these.

That run was fantastic.  I had set out with intent to finish around 13-15 miles and settled quite happily with 9.  I soaked in (no pun intended) the empty trails, the fog settling down very low, icy corridors in trail sections that seemed to avoid the day's blast of heat.  It was a top 3 trail run, period.  Something about it was special and I will enforce a new rule because of it.  Let no trail run go undocumented, written or visually.  I need to be a better run journal keeper and need to bring that handy GoPro on all trail runs.  Even though there's something about keeping it to myself that makes it a more personal experience, there's some beauty in that dreariness that only a trail runner might appreciate that I want to share.  When you see no other humans for almost an hour on the trails, there's an odd annoyance when you overtake a couple walking in rain gear with their dogs on the trail, I wonder what they're doing on my path during my run.  Then you pleasantly say "hi, careful on the ice." they say "thanks, you too," and you're alone again for another long span.  Eventually, I crossed paths with another guy running the trail.  We had a manly nod of respect to each other kept on cruising.  Knowing we were piling on miles and most our competition was planted in front of their TVs.

No races this weekend, probably just another long run and time on the bike trainer as preparation for the 1-hour postal and the Chilly Cheeks 7.2 miler the weekend of the 25th and 26th. My swim goal is over 4000 yds.  My run goal hasn't been given much thought yet.  I might just wing it with a goal of holding sub-10.5 minute miles.  Might just get crazy with it and try something else, who knows what the future may hold.

Stay light on your feet!

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