Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Greetings from, Boston

Holy crap, February is basically OVER. How did that happen? I think the endless onslaught of snow has left me so completely focus on just getting basic life tasks done that I practically blinked and missed the month. Since the last time I posted, as I'm sure the whole world is aware, Boston was hit with 3 ADDITIONAL snowstorms. This was the first week that I've worked a full 5-day work week in an entire month. A MONTH. The change in schedule definitely threw off my running chi, to say nothing of the fact that the sidewalks, bike paths, and streets of our fair city have been an absolute disaster. This week we haven't had any snow so things are finally starting to look up a little bit, but it's been a rough, rough month. And yet, Boston training continues on.

I've tried really hard to minimize my bitching about the weather and just keep trucking, but there have definitely been times (I'm looking at you, people who decided they didn't need to shovel their sidewalks AT ALL) where I've totally lost my cool. Trying to put together any sort of decent training when everything is a mess of black ice/snow/slush/some combination of all 3 is just really frustrating. There was a 2 week span in the middle of the month where I wiped out 3 times while running. The first occurred during a super frustrating run commute where I had spent most of my time running around, over, into, and through thigh high snowbanks, and when I finally reached one glorious speck of snow free sidewalk, my snow blind self caught my foot on a tree root and completely ate it, landing HARD on both knees. The situation was made even more ridiculous by the fact that, due to an unfortunate combination of forgetting pants + waiting an hour for a bus and then giving up, I was running home in shorts. Soooo I spent the remainder of my run bleeding heavily, my right knee slowly swelling up to the size of a tennis ball. LOVELY. I really can only imagine what passers-by thought of the crazy, bloody woman running by in shorts. By some miracle (and some rapid response ice, Tylenol, and compression) there wasn't much lasting damage, but I managed to wipe out on black ice twice more in the week that followed, not to mention a non-running wipeout where I awkwardly caught my messed up right knee underneath me, AND a rolled ankle in a separate incident. February has not been kind to my body, to say the least.

Another problem with this weather has been trying to get long runs in, replacing them with races, and then having said races getting cancelled. After much hemming and hawing I finally signed up for the Black Cat 20 last weekend - I wasn't planning on doing it originally because I'm racing the following weekend, but the temptation of getting in a 20 miler fully on pavement was just too much. Apparently, it was also too much for the streets of Salem, because I found out earlier in the week that the race was being postponed and today learned that it was cancelled all together! Really a bummer, because it's a great event, though I guess now I don't have to worry about racing 2 weeks in a row...

And yet. Despite the fact that a lot of my miles have been frustratingly slow due to self preservation, or the fact that I'm going to finally show up at track practice a month later than planned since the track hasn't been OPEN on a Tuesday in a month, and the fact that I'm becoming a total pro at running on ice, I am still getting shit done. I'll be finishing out the month with 2 50-mile weeks, long runs of 17, 20, and 15 (faster) miles, and this week I've somehow started to feel like I'm actually sorta kinda in shape. There are days when I have what I hope are glimpses of things to come: a 5 mile tempo run that I did in sub-7 minute pace, the fact that I banged out the last 3 miles of my 20 miler in 7:30 average just because I wanted to see if I could, the fact that I've started learning to run sub-8 pace on ice and snow pack. I just feel like things are happening, and I have a great base to build up on during Monster March. As a replacement for the Black Cat, I'm now doing a 30K race this coming Sunday, which should be a great test of fitness. I'm not really planning on racing it, but let's be honest, when I have I ever said that and actually followed through on it? The course is apparently VERY hilly so that might decrease any grand ideas I have, but I still think it will be fun to get in some longer miles on the roads without dealing with ice/cars/off leash dogs/pedestrians/unplowed sidewalks/all of the other issues that this winter has created. That's the whole point, right? Have fun, try to run fast once in awhile, and just keep on moving forward...

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