Sunday, March 14, 2010

Spring is here

Spring is here, yes, spring is really here. Over the last 2 weeks the snow has been disappearing and the temps have been moving upward. I absolutely love this time of year except for the moment my trails are still snow covered and they probably will be for another week or so but the bike paths are clear, I am running in shorts, what a wonderful time of the year. The rains will come the temps will continue to move up with an occasional move back down, white turns to brown which will quickly turn to green. Homes I can see from the trails will disappear as the forest reappears and hides them from view. Yes, If we follow our normal pattern, winter won't surrender completely, we will probably still have more snow but the corner has been turned.

I am less than a month from my first race of the year and on that note, I talked with Karyn concerning Chippewa and McNaughton and after I expressed my disdain for running in snow (for probably the 100th time) we both agreed that I might as well wait another week or two before I sign-up. So that means no decision as of today, I do think the snow will be gone at Chippewa but I will gladly pay the extra $10 if it means no snow and why do I think if I sign up today, there will be a snow storm next weekend :-). McNaughton would be $80 so Chippewa is still cheaper, granted it doesn't get me the state of Illinois like McNaughton would but it would keep my streak going of 3 in a row. Another advantage for Chippewa is that it is just a 50k and McNaughton I would need to go 50. Granted I would have more than enough time as they give you the same time for the 50 as they do for the 100 but it is still 50 miles. Decisions aren't they fun.

Karyn and I went for a long run today and it was a fantastic day, turns out it got up to 64F. Back to the run, Karyn revised her marathon program to one a little more sane so today's run was scheduled for 18 miles. I had written down 23 for myself as my plans are still focused on Chippewa and I would like to get in a 25 miler so I figured I should ease my way there. Something like 23 today, 20 next weekend, then 25 the week after, taper for 2 weeks and head to Chippewa.

Well, today we decided against going up to the Lakes again and instead chose to run the bike paths in our neighborhood. We ran a route I used to run when I was doing road marathons and hadn't yet discovered the trails. It is a somewhat hilly loop that goes from our house up to the Highline trail in Eagan, past the Zoo and back home.

The run was going fairly well and at about 4 or 5 miles in I mentioned I would probably add 5 more miles to the run. At the time, it seemed like a good idea. As the run went on, it started seeming that maybe it wasn't such a good idea. You see we were on a paved hilly bike path. Here is the elevation map from today's run, you can see it was hillier from miles 4 through 12.

As we went up and down the hills, my legs seemed to take a pounding and were transferring the impact to my knees and back, I was reminded yet again of how much I love my trails. At around 14 miles, I knew that it would be stupid to run 5 more miles. I mentioned that maybe I would just run 5 later in the day. Again it seemed like a good idea. Well, my back is so sore that again I think it would be stupid so I am going to cap it at 18 for the day. I ran in a pair of trail shoes that have 200+ miles and it may be the cushion remaining wasn't enough for the loop we ran.

So with today's shorter run I think I will instead go for 21 to 22 next weekend and if I am lucky, the snow will be gone and I can run in Lebanon or Murphy. After that I will go for 25 and then taper for Chippewa or will it be McNaughton?


wildknits said...

Nice workout. Understand about the joys of hills and pavement! Ran 19 on the roads about town yesterday. As wet as it is, I am thinking it may be a few weeks before the trails are runnable without inflicting too much damage on them - at least up north.

Wayne said...

I can't believe McNaughton is still alive! FWIW I've gone from "maybe going" to "going". :)

Kel said...

FWIW, I'd vote for McNaughton. Even if you hike it instead of run, you've got enough fitness to finish 50 miles in the time allowed.

My reason? The new RD for Chippewa is also the new RD for Voyageur and is also the new director for the MN Race Series, which sounds like it's being completely revamped to include twice as many races (with some of them in WI). And maybe adding a 5K trail race series too. Nobody knows for sure though, since it's mid-March and nothing has been posted. I think he bit off more than he could chew. So far, not so good.

So, stop worrying about the snow at Chippewa and get in the mud at McNaughton! That will also give you IL.

Kel said...

Just noticed on the Three Rivers website that most of the trails in Murphy are closed to help control erosion (just too wet and muddy right now). Even the main parking area is closed.

Sounds like the horse trails are open to foot traffic (no horses) and that parking area is open.

All of this was as of 3/17.

Mike said...

Kel - timely comment, I was planning on doing a long run at Murphy this weekend, will have to consider somewhere else. Thanks for the advice on Chippewa too.


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