Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Being An Idiot

Winter Dawn
I've been called worse.

We awoke on Monday to a winter wonderland. I knew the kids would be absolutely delighted, grown-ups tend to be rather less so. My own mood dipped a good bit when I actually ventured outside into the darkness and realised that the stuff covering our driveway by more than an inch wasn't really snow but slush, and in no time at all my toes were frozen numb.

It may have been uncomfortable but at least footing was not an issue and I did not think twice about doing my planned easy 8 mile run.

Things changed considerably on Tuesday after the temperatures had dropped significantly below freezing overnight and the ice had frozen solid. I had already dug out a set of spikes, one year old and still unused, just in case. Our driveway was more akin to an ice-rink but the road itself was clear, making the spikes unusable, so that was not an option. As I ventured out on my run I knew full well that this may be a really bad idea, one single slip could lead to serious consequences.

What can I say? As mentioned before I'm comfortable with being an idiot, it works for me. The temperatures were -4C/25F, the road was mainly clear but there were some icy patches and running clearly had its risks. I ran at my normal, relaxed effort and slowed right down whenever I saw the ice glistening before me, something that worked surprisingly well but I'm sure it would not pass any health-and-safety standards. How the pace managed to average a nice clip despite the frequent slow downs, I'm not entirely sure, but the Garmin data doesn't lie.

Surviving an easy run was one thing but I had planned a workout for Wednesday and I knew it would not be possible to do it if conditions were to remain the same. Obviously there was no point in hoping the council might treat the roads (they are too busy encouraging drink driving at the moment [good to see where their priorities lie] ), but the weather forecast offered a glimpse of hope with slightly warmer overnight  temperatures.

As it turns out, it was just the little break I needed. Conditions on Wednesday were definitely improved, just enough to enable me to do my workout, though I still had to mind my step on a couple of occasions. The run itself went well, the pace came naturally. I had planned on running 2 x 5k at 6:20 - 6:25 pace, but for the first 2 miles of the first repeat I never even checked the Garmin and ran entirely by feel, and was very pleased when I finally confirmed that the effort was indeed spot on. The second section was a tad quicker but at the same effort, probably down to being properly warmed up at that point.

I know there's plenty of people who think I'm an idiot for running in those conditions. But I also know that the guys and gals walking away with the trophies in Tralee will be the ones who don't make excuses but get on with training regardless. And anyway, as our county councillors have shown, there are still far bigger morons out there.
21 Jan
8 miles, 58:35, 7:19 pace, HR 141
22 Jan
10 miles, 1:13:04, 7:18 pace, HR 142
23 Jan
10 miles, 1:06:36, 6:39 pace, HR 155
   2 x 5k @ 6:23, 6:18 pace


  1. We don't think you're an idot for running in those conditions, just a wus for complaining about :-)

    Almost every run I've done in the past ten days has been on snow and ice. You do adapt to it but have to temper ones expectations of hitting a fast pace.

  2. Minus twenty degrees C and windy here on Tues for my run, but no ice. Be careful out there, Thomas. Great training so far, but a split second can screw it all up in a hurry.

  3. You're right about the councillors !! Only in ireland ehh! :(. Anyway it looks like our winter is over for now so you've escaped sgain.... Looks like all is on track for you.

  4. Shame you didn't get to use the spikes. Would have made a good review subject. Minus 4C would be a typical morning temp here in winter - sometimes get -10. Getting 36-40C now - meet you half way!