Here in DC we're wimps in the winter. The One couldn't believe it, for instance, when they shut down the school system earlier this week for "some ice," as he described it. He's from Chicago, by way of Hawaii with a layover in Indonesia. Winters in Chicago are ferocious.
Our running friends to the north just deal with it. They find indoor tracks to run on, indoor marathons to race, and venture out to run in minus degree temperatures.
Wednesday's track workout for my Half Marathon Training Program called for 4X1600 with 200M recovery jogs. That's at tempo pace or interval pace or race pace or something. I can never keep it straight. It translates loosely, with the gang I run with, to 7:55 miles or 1:58 laps.
Tuesday and Wednesday it snowed and sleeted and froze so the track was closed on Wednesday night. No school, remember? Track workout was cancelled. Yay!!
The cold temperature has been hanging around and putting a nice polished sheen of ice on the snow that is extant. It's slippery. So running out there violates my one rule of running--Be safe.
Runners aren't obsessive. The week was about to slip away without my track workout. So this afternoon I headed up to the W&OD Trail behind my house. My house providentially sits right on MP 7. Lessee, one mile thataway and back, and one mile thisaway and back, with a minute jog at the end of each mile, that sure sounds like the track workout to me.
Off I set eastbound. About a third of the trail was rutted with icy frozen snow fields but the rest was clear. There was no black ice because it had been above freezing all day (38 degrees). I booked on the clear parts and ran haltingly and gingerly, like the old man I am, on the clumpy parts.
I hit the first mile at 8:20, after passing the half mile marker at 4:00. I looped around on the trail for 40 seconds and then came back for the second mile. This was into a stiff wind and I covered the same terrain, with the same gingerly steps in the same places, in 8:40. This time I jogged around for 1:40 before I took off westbound.
It was hard to tell, but I think there were more ice-afflicted parts of the trail to the west. The wind seemed to have dropped though, and I had the hang of the exercise by now, breaking out of my periods of mincing little steps on the clotted parts of the trail with rapid bold strides on the long clear parts between the islands of ice. The third mile was 8:20. I jogged down the path aways, turned, and as I came back I hit the milepost at full speed, where I switched on my watch.
The wind was at my back for the last mile. I wanted to do at least one sub-8. And I did, with a 7:44 fourth mile. I jogged back to my house, having "checkmarked" in my head this week's track workout. It was a little different, but then us runners have to adapt.