Tuesday, January 10, 2012

First Snow Run of the Year

First runs of any kind each season always offer a newfound excitement and appreciation for something.  Whether it is the first shorts run once Spring finally breaks from a long winter or the first snow run when Winter is finally settling in, each once provides a little extra reason to get out there and appreciate the goodness outdoors. 

Our footprints
I think he prefers the summer
But before my run, I had to take Tucker on his inaugural snow walk.  You see, Tucker and precipitation don't work out so well for running.  The last time we went for a run in the rain, let alone in the snow, he hit the deck a few too many times when darting for random squirrels and whatnot.  So we decided to take our normal walk, so I could get my run in as planned.  I was planning to do a tempo run afterall, so I normally wouldn't take him on one of those torture sessions anyways.

Some of the tougher runs I complete each week are of the tempo variety and always provide some sense of doubt prior to starting them as to whether or not I will "win" or "lose".  Obviously, just getting out the door is winning, but overcoming any obstacle always provides a sure sense of pride not often found in your traditional easy day run.  So when these types of runs are scheduled, the mental willpower to follow through and get out the door is always required.

When I looked at the paper this morning, I saw that the forecast was calling for rain showers late.  When I checked on the hourly forecast, it appeared that they would occur pretty much about the time I typically run.  I don't really enjoy running in the rain, much less cold rain, so while I accepted the fact that I'd likely be running in the cold rain, it really wasn't getting me pumped.

But that all changed at about noon, when this magical white stuff started falling from the sky.  And suddenly, there was no rain - only fluffy, white snow.  And while I thought it was too warm to stick to the ground, I found that by the time I headed out for my run, it was starting to stick.  In some sections, it was about a 1/2 inch, while in others it was just a dusting to nothing.  For the most part, this was fine, though uphills presented a bit more of a challenge than normal.  Either way, I'd still be able to enjoy the snow, instead the cold rain slapping my face.

On tap was about a 15 minute warm up, followed by 2 x 2 miles at what would normally be my tempo pace, with a mile between sets.  However, given the conditions, I had to go by effort, which resulted in about 10-15 seconds per mile faster than marathon pace, rather than my true tempo pace.  Since I was heading out in the dark and in wet conditions, I was all reflectivized to ensure high visibility.  This included, a skull cap with neon yellow strips, ViziPro gloves, shoes with ViziPro coloring, and a full on reflective vest.  I was clearly visible, because upon approaching an intersection, a car literally stopped to let me go through, rather than my usual wait till there is a safe gap to cross.  It made me happy to know that the effort to remain visible was clearly seen by cars on the road.

In the end, this was another solid run of about 9 miles.  A great way to start off the week.  Big mental boost for heading outside in some tough weather and a big physical boost from a quality 4 miles of running in the middle of the workout.

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