Met Sam at 8:00 am to run some nearby trails. It was chilly! 9 F when I left my house, 11 F when I returned and a rising wind. After a brisk October we had a very mild November and this was the first really cold morning. I seem to have gotten the layers just right - hauled out the Sporthill 3SP tops and bottoms, added a fleece vest over the top, my windbreaker, a wool hat and liner gloves topped with worsted weight wool mittens.
We ran for 45 minutes, covering a 5k loop on the ski trails and then heading out on a snowmobile trail for another 15 minutes. There was a light dusting of snow on the trail (more is coming down as I type) but the footing was pretty good. Got in a lot of hills today and took in a nice view of the western part of Duluth at our turnaround spot. Frozen trails are fun to run on!
Today's run reminded me how much effort it takes to run in the winter. Felt like I was working moderately hard, but wouldn't know it by looking at the time.
One of the neatest things about the recent cold snap is the ice! There are a few spots on this trail system that have rather large "puddles" and these were completely iced over. In one spot you could see that the ice was over 6 inches thick already and there was a huge bubble trapped midway in the ice sheet.
Today confirmed that winter ultras will never be a good idea for me. My hands (notably the right) did not warm up until over a mile into the run (dang Raynauds) despite the rest of me being toasty warm. Later, after getting home, I noticed that a couple of my toes were a lovely dusky purple. Yup - will stick to shorter races with the option for getting indoors quickly during the winter months. So far, the experiment using nitroglycerin cream to combat the vasospasms has been a failure. May try it a few more times as it doesn't seem to be having any systemic effects either - at least at the dose I am using.
Bridge to Peace 5K
Well I decided to race on Saturday. The weather was perfect. Sunny, temps in the upper teens to low 20's, not much wind, a little snow on the Lakewalk in a few places (though the volunteers swept off a few sections). This race has some of the best volunteers! Lots of folks out on the course keeping an eye on runners, marking the turn arounds and cheering the runners and walkers on. The post-race refreshments were incredible. There were apples, oranges, cheese, bars and cookies (church ladies bake the best treats!).
Results: 24:22, 1st in my age group (40 - 49).
Didn't PR but am quite happy with that time. I was wheezing a bit, so the lungs were not 100% happy. Had to chase Wayne at the end but couldn't quite catch up (he also got first in his age group).
After the post race festivities, socializing and refueling Wayne, Rick and I headed to Lester Park for a long run. As I said it was a beautiful day and the trails were a treat. We ran the ski trails, eventually crossing over to Hawk's Ridge for a couple of miles and then headed back down to the parking lot. Lots of hills here as well.
I used my camelbak hydration pack and realized why I need a winterized pack - my bite valve started to freeze and the first sip or two of water was a bit cold until I got past what was in the tube (I had filled it with hot water prior to the 5K). I am looking forward to a new hydration option that will make the long runs I have planned for this winter more feasible. I have a theory that hip belt carriers are adding to my IT issues so have been avoiding their use. Longer runs require more liquid than I can carry in a handheld (and there is the Raynauds issue - though hot water could help with this - theoretically).
We ended up running 9 miles. The time flew by (good company will do that). All too soon it was time to head home (with a quick stop to refuel) and fire up the sauna. Unfortunately no one told me (read Mr. Wildknits) that the recently split wood wasn't much good. Of course that is what I used to build up the fire... burned through a lot of kindling without ever getting a fire started. Frustrating! Luckily Mr. Wildknits arrived and explained where the "good" wood was. The fire was going well in short order and a couple of runners got to wind down the day by soaking in the 180+ F heat. There is nothing like sitting out back, gazing at a star-lit sky while cooling off from a sauna.
Selective Focus: Matt Kania
7 hours ago