The calendar may indicate spring, but the temperature and outdoor conditions are still wintry. It is a challenge to go out and run in the cold, surrounded by snow-covered landscapes, but I need a break from the boredom of the treadmill.
When I step out the door I feel so cold and miserable and I am tempted to return to my warm house. However, if I can withstand the freezing temperatures for a few minutes I will survive. So, I walk as fast as possible for 10 minutes to warm up before running. Thank goodness, in a few minutes, I start sweating and quickly forget about the frosty weather.
Last week I did three 3-mile runs and one 4-mile run. The running trails near my place are still too icy, so this means that I am limited to the main rural highway and some side roads in my neighborhood. Luckily there is virtually no traffic on the side roads, so it is possible to run in the center of the street where the pavement is less damaged and there are fewer potholes. Nonetheless, I have to pay close attention to my footing to avoid injuries and by doing this I usually miss the nature around me. There were lots of deer on the roads, but my huffing and puffing sent them running in the woods, making it difficult for me to get my camera out in time to snap many photos.
This is a side road that gets little traffic, so still plenty of snow here.
A couple of deer out for a run.
Close-up of one of the many potholes that I have to skirt around.
This is the road where I am training until the trails are open.
Looks like the trails won’t be ready for a few weeks.
Still too much snow here. Is it really spring?
This past week with the dawn of spring and milder temperatures on the horizon I decided to move my training from the ease of controlled pace, limited inclines, and comfortable conditions on the treadmill in the basement to the rural road and the reality of spring potholes, rough gravel, uneven pavement, melting ice, snow, and wind. My first outdoor 4-miler of 2017 is in the books with a time of 46:04 and I am quite happy with this because I didn’t push myself and I didn’t need a walking break – even on the hills.
During my winter training sessions on the treadmill I have gradually improved my endurance by doing 3 or 4 mile runs at least three times a week. Additionally, without focussing on time, I have lowered my pace from over 12 minutes per mile to slightly under 11 minutes. In April, I am planning on increasing my long run to 5 miles and doing 4 miles on the other days. I would also like to improve my pace, but at this point my main focus will remain on endurance.
In other news, this little deer has been hanging out in my backyard for a week or so and this is a solid sign that spring is here.
I am going to sign up for the Miramichi Rock ‘n Roll 10K on June 25, so I have approximately 3 months to get ready.
The first week of 2017 is in the books. I was able to stick to my exercise plan in spite of some cold, wintry weather. I began the year with a 8-mile (about 12 km) cross-country ski excursion on New Year’s Day. It only takes me five minutes on foot to access the off-road trail that travels across New Brunswick. The trail is used by snowmobilers in the winter and ATVs in the other months. It is a great place to bike, run and walk in the summer and a perfect place for cross-country skiing in the winter.
Starting point in Smiths Crossing.
The pond is under the snow.
A path off the trail – something to investigate on another outing.
Looks like some deer have already hit the trails.
Highway up ahead, so I better slow down.
A winter scene, with a tree that looks like it might not make it through the winter.
Where are the hills?
The path narrows as I approach Blackville.
After a longer than expected journey on Sunday, I had sore muscles (especially my upper body – the ones that don’t get a workout from running) and I really wanted to skip training on Monday, but decided that this would not be a good start to the new year. I managed a mere 2.3 miles in 35 minutes. I used Tuesday as a rest day to recover from skiing. I went to bed early thinking about running. On Wednesday I got up at six and did a 3-mile session (36:31) before breakfast. The next day I did an early morning yoga workout and then shovelled snow for two hours. Yesterday, I did another 3-mile run (35:41), followed by 30 minutes of stretching. I ended the week with an easy 6-mile trek on the trails this afternoon.