AHHH winter training! it was the best of times it was the worst of times. Winter can still be lots of fun and full of adventure but after a late march snow storm a couple Fridays ago completely messed up my Saturday running plans, I just am over it. It's time to move on to spring now. It wasn't until these past couple of weeks or so that I realized how hard I had been working all winter. Temps in the 70s, trails clear of snow and ice and I got to run in the daylight. I was flying around my usual routes without much effort. (late addition: it's currently blizzard conditions outside as I am ready to post this!)
|running in the dark
It's funny how winter kind of sneaks in so that you don't truly realize how much more challenging your usual runs have become. As I mentioned previously now that I'm back to full time work, I have my set weekday running schedule. I get up between 4-4:30 depending on what my workout is and am out the door between 5-5:30 which it was summer when I started this routine so it was either already light or getting light when I went out. It was a subtle change as more and more of my run was in the dark until I was going out in the pitch black and returning in the pitch black. And honestly in the beginning it was fun to break my headlamp out again. There's also just a little extra feeling of accomplishment when you run in the dark. Then slowly temps began getting colder but again it was gradual so I didn't notice per se the significantly increased effort to run 10 minute pace in 15 degrees vs what it was at 40 or 50.
Even the snow and ice kind of creeped in on me as after a while you kind of just get used to those conditions and don't really think about how it is making your runs harder. I do enjoy tackling the elements and I did have fun out there for the most part but once again when things cleared up, I realized how much harder and much more energy those runs were than in dry conditions. I realized how I am never completely relaxed when there's any snow or ice around. I have spikes and I wear them but I've still slipped and fallen. So not only is running in the elements more physically taxing but it can be very mentally draining as well, constantly being on full alert.
|sometimes it's freakin freezing!!!
|luckily I have friends that want to go out in the winter conditions
The other benefit of winters in Colorado is that there are lots of fun outdoor activities that can be used as cross training. Obviously there are tons of fun ones in other seasons however I tend to have way less time for things other than running and kids sports in the warmer seasons. Winter however we have always had extra time but not as many things to fill it. Being fully situated in Colorado now, we went full into skiing this year. We all have our own equipment and season passes. If you buy in the spring, it's really a great deal. We went at least one day of almost every weekend from November to end of March. I really think all the skiing made me stronger for running. I worked my muscles in different ways and I can feel it carrying over. And it's an awesome way for the family to spend time together. We do a number of runs together before splitting up for the boys to do more challenging ones. However by the end of the season Una was doing black diamons which meant I had to do black diamonds which was a big challenge since I have never done black diamonds previously.
And with all that, I have my first race of 2019 this weekend. I'm super excited first of all just to get out there and see what kind of fitness I have from all this winter work. And I'm road tripping with my best Colorado friend Meaghan and we are staying in a house with a bunch of our Ultra Dirt Diva friends. I feel like this is the real start of 2019 for me, LET'S DO IT!!!!!