Saturday, March 03, 2018

Tough Week

Well, it didn't start out all that tough, after a night in a 5-star hotel, though actually there were some repercussions from that as well. You see, we had dinner in their fancy restaurant. My starter was a pannacotta for a whopping 11 Euro, which in reality consisted of 2 tiny blobs the size of a finger nail. The main course was equally microscopically portioned, though they seemed to think it's ok to compensate for the minuscule portion with a gargantuan price by charging over 30 Euro - thankfully our meal was included in the package, but at that point I was distinctly unimpressed. However, that's where they made up for it. Desert was a desert buffet, and bloody gorgeous it was too. So I had some of this and this and this and this and of course a spoonful of that as well, and when I had eaten all that (remember, I was still starving after dinner) I went back and had a portion of those as well.

New neighbours
The next day I had gained 3 pounds. And they took about 5 days to come off again. I know a little bit of physiology and I understand that sugars (ok, glycogen) are stored with three times the water in the body, so I hadn't pigged out on 3 pounds of sweets, but it was still a whopper of a weight gain for one single binge.

Anyway, to the rest of the week. I'm in the second week in my new job and it was a really intensive training week. I was utterly drained every evening. And of course everyone knew about the weather system closing in from the East. Monday was fine, weather-wise, though my legs were suffering from DOMS after the steep road at the Gap of Dunloe, so I took it very, very easy. By Tuesday I was starting to wonder if the weather reports were just kidding but by Wednesday it had hit us, and the reports sure were not exaggerated. The paths were covered in 2 inches of snow, which was perfectly fine to run on and easily provided sufficient grip. It actually was great fun.

Caragh Lake
My approach in those situations is to head out for my run as usual but see what the conditions are like and make a judgement call. Be prepared to go home if it is dangerous but don't stay at home just because someone else says so - especially as here in Ireland some can get downright hysterical from even a dusting of snow at times.

The fun factor had decreased by Thursday because the snow from earlier had frozen and now the path really was treacherous. I managed to find one spot that was still somewhat runnable, though - the dirt track in Kilbogget Park, so I ploughed my way through a number of laps, until the wind started to pick up, I got cold and since I had already started to get bored with doing lap after lap I went home early.

Friday morning was in the middle of a red alert but I made the same assessment and judgement call again. With the snow about ankle deep on average, driving would have been lethal, so from that point of view the red alert was perfectly justified. However, it was perfectly fine for running. It wasn't slippery at all, and even if it had been you would have landed on a soft bed of snow. What you had to forget about was pace - running in snow basically adds a resistance element to your run, which quickly makes it feel like a proper workout even at snails pace. I ploughed my way through a few miles, having the entire Kilbogget Park to myself and tons of fun - I really enjoyed it, at least for the first half. After that the wind picked up, so much that my deep footprints got all wiped out within one single lap, but I got home just fine.

Millie's first ever proper snow
It was different again on Saturday - still plenty of snow, but even though the wind made it feel freezing cold it was clearly warming up as the snow started to turn into slush. After helping a neighbour push his car over a couple of snow drifts on the road I was on my way. The footing was fine, there was no ice, though I did have a few unsteady steps at times. The going was still slow but not quite as slow as the day before, with parts of the path being almost clear and others still halfway up the shin in snow. By the end of the run my legs were really tired, the added resistance clearly taking its toll, but happy to have gotten out all the same.

Stay at home if you think it's not safe, go running if you honestly deem it to be ok and be prepared to cut it short if it's not. Proper equipment can make all the difference, if you have things like yaktrax you can run on icy roads as if nothing had happened (unfortunately mine are in Kerry - doh! - but it turned out to be fine).
26 Feb
10.3 miles, 1:26:17, 8:23 pace, HR 133
27 Feb
10 miles, 1:19:08, 7:55 pace, HR 135
28 Feb
10.5 miles, 1:28:01, 8:23 pace, HR 137
   2 inches of snow
1 Mar
6.6 miles, 58:57, 8:56 pace, HR 134
   snow and ice
2 Mar
10.1 miles, 1:39:29, 9:51 pace, HR 135
   ankle-deep snow
3 Mar
10.75 miles, 1:43:35, 9:38 pace, HR 139
   snow and slush

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