Today was my first long-ish run since the 11 I did to get ready for the Fall Classic Half....I was very excited to see a fresh new dusting of snow on the ground for my 10 miles this morning! The valley I run in is SO beautiful in the winter--especially with a fresh dust of powder. I just love how it sticks to the trees and makes everything look like a snow globe.
I got my bottles of water and nuun ready, grabbed some Clif Bloks, and headed to meet my Soler friends for a run. They are all getting ready for the St. Louis Marathon in April and had 16 on their schedule, so I just decided to go out 5 with them and back 5 by myself.
Running with friends is the bomb. Especially in the winter. It just makes you feel warmer and makes it go faster with good buds. We took off and I decided to wear my HR monitor, which I haven't been wearing lately. I figured now that I'm officially on Indy Mini training schedule time, I might as well keep some data to notice trends. (Sidenote: If anyone is interested in seeing my plan for the Indy Mini, you can find it here. I'm on week 5.)
I find that unless I'm careful, I really can become a slave to the HR monitor. I am very much more a fan of RPE training. But, for Ironman, HR training is kinda essential for NOT screwing things up. So, for now, HR will be a guideline for me to just notice trends and see improvements, but I refuse to be a slave to that darn thing.
It was 22 degrees at the start, and very very very icy. So, we were pretty conservative in our pace. Which was good, as I took the time in to enjoy running with my buds, hear the sound of the creek rushing against the rocks, and the snow crunching underneath our Brooks and Mizunos and whatever else we all had on. Some parts of the creek were frozen solid, and it was really peaceful.
Around mile 3 or so, there was a BIG puddle on the trail...I warned, "Puddle!" to those behind me, and then tried to gazelle-like jump OVER the puddle. Instead, I more sort of Kerri Strug-like landed on one ankle directly IN the puddle. NOT GOOD. Luckily, I didn't twist anything and was fine, except for a cold squishy foot. Dr. John even gave me a "10.0" score for sticking the landing. My friend Jen was not so lucky on the way back and rolled her ankle pretty bad.
At the 5 mile mark I said goodbye to my friends and ran back. It was nice to just run without an iPod, no podcast, no music. Just me and the snow and other runners on the roads as we waved or smiled in acknowledgement. Running in silence is a good thing.
Around mile 7, I stopped to take a Clif Blok or two. I had taken the liners of my gloves off, since I was hot, and was just running in my mittens. The liners were stuffed in my fuel belt. Well, I dropped the darn liners and didn't realize it until I was 1/4 mile away.
Turned around and high-tailed it to go pick up my liners--right by the street. Whew! Not like anyone was really out there that would take 'em, but still. They are essential for my winter runs when it's less than 25 degrees. So, I added an additional 1/2 mile onto my run. Oh well!
I made it back to the car, and checked my "stats:"
Total Miles: 10.5
Average HR: 157 (right on the money of where I needed it to be! Yahoooooooooooo!)
Average Pace 10:23/mile (hey, not bad for nasty ice and stuff!)
Total Calories burned: 2231 (I don't buy that for a SECOND)
Number of friends ran with: 8 for the first 5 miles, 1 (that's me) for the last 5.5
Gloves Dropped: 2
Puddles fell into: 1
Deer Spotted: 4
Fun had: infinity times 10
Went to Caribou to meet up with a few Soler buds, and then about an hour later the rest showed up. Now I'm home, showered, and warm, ready to read and relax a bit, and play some Guitar Hero II with my buddies tonight.
In the words of the infamous Ice Cube, "Today I didn't even have to use my AK...I'd have to say it was a good day."
Get out there, friends!