Now, living in Virginia, I've come quickly to hate the snow/ice. It's not so much the snow that gets you, it's the ice. It makes running on anything but plowed streets either impossible or incredibly difficuly.
That's where I'm at now. Trying to sludge through the ice/snow and get my runs in. When I was a kid, I always wished it snowed more. I felt like we were missing out on the snow ball fights and snow men building. Now, I'm kind of glad we didn't have the massive amounts of snow everywhere else got. It made the snow every couple years exciting, new, and something to look forward to. Up north, it's pretty much something you dread.
I tweaked my achilles a little bit so I've been limited to one run a day for the past couple days. I don't think it's a big deal. I just need new orthotics which are on the way.
So, not much to update.
No indoors for me. I'll open up in outdoor season with the plan for a 5k at Raleigh Relays.
Congrats to my teammate Moises for a PR in his first competitive mile in years. He ran 4:03 at the New Balance games.
Other than that, there was an interesting article on the BBC sports webpage. It goes over the championship races in Beijing and has data on every 100m of each event. There are some interesting things that can come out of such data. Maybe, the most important is that we need to remember to train for races, not just time trials.
When I have time, probably next post, I'll post some theories as to why the African's seem to be able to change gears and finish at faster speeds than most westerners.
On the drive back, it was kind of disheartening to see the temperature drop as we headed north. We split up the trip with a stop at South of the Border, where everything revolves around some mexican guy named Pedro. It was a very uhh interesting experience to say the least.
The next day we made the rest of the trip with a long stop in Raleigh, NC to get in some running. We ended up running on a very scenic, but very hilly, trail in Umstead park. As long as you don't mind some serious hills, it's a great place to run.
Upon finally returning to the freezing north, I finally got a taste of what a real winter is. On our sunday long run, we ran next to a canal that was completely frozen over. We spent a mile or two debating whether you could get out and walk on it, when we came to a group of people playing ice hockey and skating on it. For someone who has grown up in Texas, that was a pretty crazy sight. Following the run, we walked out on the ice, so I have now walked on water.
The next day, my introduction to a real winter continued as it snowed during our morning run. And the introduction to cold weather running continued today as I did my first real workout in pretty dang cold weather. We ended up working out pretty early and it was about 19-20 degrees out with some wind that made the wind chill to be around 8-10 degrees.
Despite wearing more clothes than I ever have for a hard workout, it went well. I had a 3mi tempo, a couple minutes rest, and then 2 miles at tempo. It was supposed to be progressive in nature and it ended up that way. Splits were 5:07, 5:01, 4:56. For the next 2miles I was 4:54, 4:45. Then I had 4x150m. It took a while to get the legs going, but once I did it felt pretty good, except for the parts into the wind. The one thing that really sucked is that by the end my hands were frozen. I definately need to get some better gloves. After cooling down, we hit the weights.
That's about it for now. I'm slowly, reluctantly, getting used to the cold weather.
The weather here is great. It's been around 70 degrees and sunny every single day. You couldn't ask for better training conditions, especially in the heart of winter. It's a nice feeling to be able to go shirtless on every run.
In addition to the weather, there are some great places to run here. They've got a couple of greenbelts where you can run for many miles on soft surface, and there's a really nice park, Tom Brown park, where we've done most of our longer runs.
As far as the training specifics, I'll be about 80 miles for this week with a couple of workouts. On Tuesday we had mile repeats, for which we were joined by Canadian Olympian Kevin Sullivan. Sully also joined us for a tempo run later in the week. It's been pretty surreal to tuck in behind three olympians in a workout. Besides the workouts, I've been getting used to doing some more general strength work and weight work. It's not a lot, but for someone whose never really done much consistant weight work, it's definately a noticable change. I really think it's going to make a big difference though and something which I lacked.
Other than that, we've pretty much just bummed around, rested, and recovered. We've got almost another week before it's back to the cold in Virginia.
-It's really cold here.
-There are tons of places to run in Northern Virginia.
The first is obviously a negative, but the second observation helps make up for it. Coming from a city with limited running routes, it amazes me how many places there are to run around here. There are tons of parks and you can't go wrong with the rails to trails paths either. So far, everything has been within about a 20min drive from my house, which is pretty good considering it would take me about 25min to get to Burroughs park, aka the only park with good running trails around my house in Texas. To put in perspective, I did a longer run with Alan this morning and we did the entire thing on one big loop at manassas battlefield. We didn't have to repeat a single section of the trail, and it was all on soft surface ground.
Besides that, I did my first real workout with the group on friday. We did a hill fartlek and it went very well. I hung in better than I thought I would, so I must be in better shape than I thought. The hills got to me though by the end. I'll definately have to get used to running up and down hills here.
Finally, I've only been here a couple days, but now we're off to Florida for some warm weather training. Should be fun, except for the fact that it's more driving! I'm kind of getting a taste of what my friend Jeff felt like when he drove across the country.