Tempo for the Snowflake

Today’s run (street): 4.4 miles

It’s the start of a three day weekend and I kicked it off with a neighborhood run this morning. The temperatures have been all over the place and this morning it was cold. I wore one of my “private brand” half zips (in this case, Layer 8) that do a great job of keeping me warm while managing sweat. Combined with my CS track pants, I was very comfortable throughout my run.

I planned a tempo run with a target pace about 30 seconds slower than (4 mile) race pace. I moved along well but fell ten seconds short of my pace goal. Overall, I was pleased with my fitness, but I guess I didn’t push hard enough. Four miles isn’t quite enough distance to move my base training forward but at least I’m running with more energy compared to the last two weeks.

The end of the line at last year’s Snowflake Run

The long weekend provides an extra opportunity for a distance run. I’d like to get at least one 6+ mile run in before Tuesday or, equivalently, an hour on the trails. I’m registered for the Snowflake 4 mile Run in February so in the short term I will also focus on speed. I probably should do intervals more often anyway. Now I have no excuses.

Hey, what do you mean no boardwalk?!

No-flakes only on the boardwalk

Yesterday afternoon I received an email from the Snowflake Run race organizers that said “Due to weather conditions, the race has been moved off the Boardwalk.” I’m sure they did that for good reasons but I’d signed up for this race mostly to run along the water. I guess running on the wooden boardwalk with ice and snow could get slippery and dangerous. But after all, it’s called the Snowflake Run for a reason! The new course will be routed through the town streets and that will be fine, but I’ll miss those views.

I enjoyed my guilt-free rest day this morning and I’m hoping that I’m not over confident about my readiness for Saturday. In the past I’ve made the mistake of assuming that a shorter race like this one should be an easy distance to cover. That would be true if I was planning to run it like a typical weekend training run but, in competition, any distance requires proper training. I hope I’ve done enough to prepare for this race. If it’s snowing, sleeting or raining tomorrow it will impact how I run. I’ll bring along my trail shoes just in case.

A good taper run (despite a sore toe)

Today’s run (treadmill): 2.5 miles

With less than a week before Saturday’s race I’m thinking a lot about expectations. This will be my first race in 2011 and like last year’s first race, snow may be a factor. The course this weekend is probably similar to last November’s Long Beach Turkey Trot that was held in the same town. That was a 10K (6.2 mile) race with 1/3 of the course run along the boardwalk. The Snowflake run is a shorter distance and I’m unsure how they will map out the route. I’m hoping that it includes plenty of boardwalk because the wooden surface is preferable to pavement and the ocean views provide a nice counterpoint to the hard effort of racing. I don’t know how fast I’ll go or if I have a chance at a 4 mile PR. We’ll see.

I would have liked to skip this morning’s run and just drink coffee and watch the news under a warm blanket. I managed to change my mindset and get on the treadmill before I rethought my decision. There isn’t that much to talk about when describing a treadmill run but today’s was easier than Sunday’s. I am still dealing with a friction burn on my small toe that I don’t want to aggravate any further. I switched from my Brooks to my Saucony Grid Tangents hoping that the different fit would minimize the contact. That helped. My toe is still sore but I wrapped it in a bandage that I wet with Castile soap infused with peppermint and it’s coming around. Despite the foot issue my run today was excellent. I was strong throughout the workout and never once did I look wistfully at the clock and wish that time would pass more quickly.

I’m hoping that I can carry that energy into the weekend. I’m planning to run again tomorrow and then complete my taper with light cross-training or rest on Thursday and Friday. Along the way I may get a bonus upper body workout if the ice storm we’re expecting amounts to anything.

A snowy day and a Snowflake Race

Snowy dusting of the holiday display outside my window

Today’s run (treadmill): 2.3 miles

Last year I got off to a late start for racing but still managed to get in eight races between March and November. Since I’m (thankfully) not forced into a running moratorium like last year, I’m targeting my first race of 2011 for February. It’s a 4 mile run in Long Beach, the same location where I ran the 10K Turkey Trot in November. This event, dubbed the “Snowflake Race”, is shorter than that but, like the 10K, part of the race is along the boardwalk. My friend and running partner Steve is also signed up. It’s his first race and I have the feeling he’ll be going all out. I’ve only run one prior 4 mile race, the 2009 Marcie Mazzola Memorial (now a 5K), so I will have a chance for a new PR. Maybe I’ll use Steve as a chase rabbit.

This morning I used the treadmill again although the streets are still clear. There were some reports that today’s snow would start early so last night I decided to prepare for an indoor workout. There’s never much to tell about running on the treadmill. I’ve already complained about my dislike for the machine (nothing personal Sole F63, I abhor all treadmills) and today was no different. The positives are that I get a great workout because it’s just so hard for me to run this way and it’s also a good way of practicing patience.

Unlike road or trail running, treadmills provide no visual acknowledgement of progress except for the little track diagram on the display. I’ve got fairly good at switching my mind to a zen/alpha state that helps me get through the bulk of these runs. Of course I still need to watch my step because a treadmill can be dangerous to those who fail to pay attention. For me, the best part of a road run is usually experienced during the run itself but the best part of a treadmill run is when I finish.