Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Trail Running in February

I have a litmus test for successful winter running.  This personal gauge is to see if I can run trails at least once in each month of the winter.  For southern Ontario, the key date is early February.  There is usually a thaw in late December or early January which provides access to the trails at the beginning of the year.  By late March, the normal weather patterns reduce snow in the bush to either hard pack (run on top of the snow) or a foot of slush.  Either condition allows for easy and fun running along the trails!  For those of you who have run in a foot of slush and are currently yelling at me, please speak to the hand.

A brief explanation on the above term "Southern Ontario".  I am using the definition that refers to the area that includes the snow belt.  People in Toronto (sigh) commonly use the descriptor NO89 (North of 89) to define the snow belt, but the proper definition is Southern Ontario.  Toronto is typically defined as "South of Southern Ontario", which includes places that don't get any real snow (less than 4 feet per year, if you can imagine that!).  SOSO includes Toronto, Miami and LA.  You get the picture.

A brief note on the explanation:  89 refers to highway 89, an east-west road approximately 1 hour drive north of Toronto.  What Torontonians are thinking when they say NO89 is "wild wild country with crazy weather and unstable inbred farmers that cannot differentiate between rednecks and latte toting accountants".  I will spare you what we (NO89'ers) think of those SOSO dweebs...

Success is attainable this year, as I have been able to run a 7.5K loop that I run frequently, on both February 2 and 3 (today).  Yesterday's run was tough, as we received about 8 inches of snow overnight, it was -16C (3F) and a strong north wind.  Today's run was balmy (-4C or 25F) with a gentle southwest wind and only a few spots had drifted over.

Well, I broke down and started a running log.  I realised to be serious about training this year, I would need to track my progress.  It is humorous how a log forces you to get out and run.  Can't have any gaps on run days now, can we?  Broken leg?  Cut your run down to a 15K.  So, my weekly totals have now edged over 50K, with my long runs finally crossing the 25K threshold.  The total for January hit 169.5K, which makes me happy, even though Lee Anne would see it as a heavy week...

There is usually a February challenge, but I have not heard about this year's version.  I had to chuckle about last year.  My running was not great at this point last year, but Lee Anne was churning out some impressively wild numbers.  She heard about the challenge on February 2 or so, but her posting on the 3rd was a lie.  She had run 40K on the first, 50K on the second and 30K on the third (yes, 120K in 3 days!) but she posted less K's because she didn't want people to think she was a freak!

Challenge or not, enjoy running out there; it will give you something to remember during the hot runs.


1 comment:

  1. Never thought of Lee Anne as a freak but 40/50/30 hmmm