Spring Training: Week Eight

This week I dealt with a head cold and foul weather, but the training went well despite those things. The cold took hold on Tuesday afternoon, hours after a very good run along my new favorite 5 mile back-and-forth in Scarsdale. I ran along that stretch three or four times this week and it’s likely I’ll be up there quite a bit again this week as we had yet another of our “paralyzing blizzards” mid-week and now have another foot of filthy snow on the ground.

Fortunately, the cold was mild and the temps have been above freezing, so even if I have to run in the streets, they are at least clear of black ice. It’s the little things.

So I had some kind of pre-illness pop in fitness on Tuesday, rumbling along in 15mph winds and a mixture of sleet, hail and rain that turned the road to the consistency of semi-frozen bird shit for much of the run. But I still managed a decent pace.

Even the recovery runs later in the week were okay, consistently below my usual slugtastic 10+ minute mile pace both inside and out.

Then I put on my big girl pants and made a second attempt at doing last Friday’s spectacularly failed speed session again. But this time I did it by effort rather than trusting the treadmill’s pace readout (I also knocked the total down by two miles and removed one 1K repeat, it being a recovery week and all). HR topped out at 93% for the last one, right where it should be — and I felt able to do a fifth, but didn’t so I could save my legs for today’s trip to Scarsdale.

With my cold now over and a fairly windless/slushless day, I was able to cruise along at just under 8:00 for 13 miles in the 81% range. This felt like real progress.

I like my new loop, but it’s a little weird having to run it back and forth several times on longer run days. Today I had to run one two mile section twice and a three mile section three times. I’d run up the road, nod my head to someone shoveling snow, then, half an hour later, I’d come by again and the snow shoveler would still be there. It was very Twighlight Zone.

The disadvantage to running in the street, of course, is that you take your life into your hands. Or, rather, you involuntarily place your life into the hands of insane drivers. The worst offenders are typically SUV-wielding Robomoms with a cellphone clamped to one ear.* These ladies are out for blood. Today’s adventure was with the woman who rolled right through a stop sign at 15mph.

She was close enough to me that I could give her Canyonero a good whack. I have for the most part managed to cure myself of the habit of hitting people’s cars when they offend, but this was so egregious a transgression that I couldn’t stop myself. I don’t think she even saw me at the stop sign, since it was not without some twisted pleasure that I noted her well coiffed head swinging wildly around behind tinted windows, trying to figure out what just hit her car. My hand hurt and my HR skyrocketed because I was so angry at the cluelessness of surburban drivers. But it was worth the pain!

My next race (actually, races: I’ve got two back to back) is in two weeks. I’m feeling pretty good about things. Which is always worrisome.

* Driving while talking into a handheld cellphone is illegal in New York. But — like the laws forbidding riding a zebra in public while naked, or allowing a drunken monkey to play a theremin — it’s rarely enforced.

Posts I wish I’d written

Sometimes I stumble over a blog post that I envy for how well the author has captured some aspect of running. In this case, our runner lines up for a race in foul conditions and “just wants a good workout.” Then, some internal shift occurs and, despite numerous distractions, she ends up racing the thing like her life depends on it.

Bravo, Angry Runner.

I think I’ll make this a new series, like Google search oddities.

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