Then things at work went a bit haywire. It was a very stressful spring/summer which had me unable to take much time off, putting in extra hours, and contemplating my career path. Add to that heat and I really scaled back on my running with only two 50+ mile weeks in August.
By the second week in September I had hit 1400 miles for the year. Hmmmm..... 1500 seemed pretty attainable. I think someone in my local running group threw out the number 2000 and I simply laughed, even my rudimentary math skills told me that would be a reach.
Sometime in late October I realized that 1800 was a reasonable goal, assuming no injuries or illness. I was well on my way at that point and just had to remain consistent. The weather in my area can make this tough. We have had some snow, but not enough to make the trails reliably runnable. This means more time on pavement in an attempt to get in longer runs without risking a slip and fall (the sections of the Superior Hiking Trail I usually run have a few steep climbs and cliffs).
By the last week in December I had only 15 miles to go and then I headed off to the Tuscobia Winter Ultra to volunteer. I packed my running gear (as always) yet didn't leave the race headquarters - at least to run. This meant I had to get in a long run on the 31st. And of course this was a really cold day.
Fortunately I have a really good friend who was more then willing to come out and ensure I logged those final miles. Rather than hitting the trails for one long loop, with no potential for a bailout if we got too cold, we opted to run at Hartley Park in the heart of town. This would allow us to:
a) quit if we got really cold
b) get some protection from the wind
c) scope out the trail for the following days Barely Organized New Years Day Run
It took me 3 miles (vs my usual 1 - 1.5) for my feet and hands to get fully warm. My Raynauds had kicked in full force due to getting chilled prior to starting the run. The loops were 6 miles long and during the 2nd one I was rethinking the importance of reaching an arbitrary number. I was tired, my legs were tightening up.... whine, whine, whine. By then Ron was in full pacer mode (he had ample training at Sawtooth) and was making sure I was eating and even singing Bob Marley to me.
As we approached the end of the loop Ron and I discussed how to modify it so we would reach 15 miles at a scenic spot in the park. We hit on a solution and headed out for the final 3 mile loop.
First attempt to document - too big and too far out on the pond
Snow angel - because why not on a day with windchill readings below zero
It also hides the fact I can't seem to accurately right out 1800
Evidence that it was indeed me that made the snow angel