6 - 39:59 A busy schedule and cold pouring rain kept me from running until almost 9 pm. Though the rain had stopped, a strong 27 mph sustained wind that was accompanied by 45+ mph gusts was thrusting much colder air on the area. It was 50 degrees when I left and 39 when I finished up. As I attempted some pace work on the asphalt Greenway at USI I was blown into the mud several times. My fast pace varied from 5:15-5:40, depending on whether the wind was working with or against me. Overall, the pace slower than normal due to the wind. Except for the frozen hands at the end, this one was a lot of fun. It is worth noting that I will continue to increase the length of each of my runs as I build endurance for the summer runs.
6 - 41:52 Nice and easy today. Groin still sore after the slip and slide mud run. Uneventful except for the three deer that I spooked on this night run. They shot across the trail just a few feet in front of me. I would like to see the surveillance video. It would certainly go viral on YouTube because the truth of the matter is that their attempt to scare the sh@! out of me was a hoof pumping success. Those darned deer had many places to run, so why did they run almost directly AT me? Deer Humor?
This deer event reminded me of another truly scary moment in night time running that occurred fifteen years ago. I was running down an unlit county road on a moonless night (not dangerous since cars can be seen from a great distance) when a deep, rumbling noise started to build. A few seconds later two oddly placed lights rounded a bend in front of me. I kept to the 5:15 pace of the tempo run with reservation. As the lights grew near I wondered what was approaching. Then a shadow passed in front of the lights. Then it passed again. And again. And it was going up and down. What in the world? With the lights now within a hundred meters and approaching quickly the shadow appeared again - just a few feet in front of me. Click - Click. It was a deer with a large rack. Lucky for me, the great agility the deer possessed allowed it to land just in front of me, see me, and dart off to my right while moving really fast. My heart paused until I realized that the two lights were also upon me and they were not darting to the side! So, I did. It turned out to be an elderly farmer, whom I knew, on his was home from a long day in the field. I'm sure most runners have unforgettable stories like that one.
Saturday 2 - 5
23 - 2:54:35 Mother Nature is trying to make sure I am ready for summer. Today she placed another 1-2 inches of snow on top of the slightly hardened mud. The weather forecast indicated that the temperature would only rise to about 33 or 34 degrees. The problem was that it only dropped to 31 overnight. So the saturated ground was only slightly hardened. A little recon walk let me know that the sloppy trails I had used last week were still quite sloppy. Not this week!
Instead, I opted to minimize the mud running by repeating a 2.8-mile mostly off-road loop on snow-covered grass fields and gravel trails. A wet snow fell most of the time. It stuck to the grass, mud, and my shirt, but it melted into slush on the short asphalt sections. My shoes were soaked within thirty minutes due to the wet snow and the slushy puddles in the grass fields.
I ran eight of these loops plus a little more to end up with an even 23 miles. My legs were fatigued to the point that the groin I strained last week began to ache. That was probably due to the fact that I had been lifting those heavy wet shoes for over two hours.
It was a good run for me. Afterward, I thought about the fact that I was on pace to break 3:20 for a marathon while running in tough conditions that included more than 1200 ft of climbing. I am looking forward to pushing beyond the marathon mark by the end of February. Yes, I can get there from where I am.
To keep my own limited abilities within the scale of minimal achievement, I must write that I just followed the Rocky Raccoon 100 Mile Trail Run on twitter. Ian Sharman destroyed the course record on that Texas course by finishing in 12:44:35. That is 7:38 per mile for 100 miles!! Put another way, Sharman ran almost four consecutive 3:20 marathons. That is amazing!! You can read about it at iRunFar.com.
This feat motivates me to train hard to reach my own goal. I did not write "train more." That is not my style. I am the guy who runs fewer miles than most runners regardless of the goal race distance.
Weekly Total: 35 miles (4:16)