Friday, 18 January 2013

white lines

it has been a long time since i last had the pleasure of running in fresh snow.  the weather forecast had never been so certain the previous night, with everyone bracing themselves to get dumped on by the cold white stuff.  i was excited as i looked out of my bedroom window and saw our world turned white.  as soon as bella was sorted and i had downed a strong black bialetti i laced up my trusty brooks cascadia, man they have earned their stripes, and headed out the door. 

as i started to run i could feel the rare but familiar feeling of snow compressing under foot as my shoes attempted to grip the powder surface.  i gained confidence quickly gradually increasing my speed whilst taking extra care with corners and gradients.  if i remember rightly i slipped on ice only once during a one hour and forty five minute run, not bad considering the snow was ten to 15 centimetres deep in some places.  this is south west england you know, that is quite a lot for us.

my route took me down to near water level and the river avon, i live on a hill so nearly always start with a downhill. i snaked my way through empty streets to the bristol and bath railway path, a partially disused railway line that was converted to a cycle way and footpath connecting the two historic cities back in the eighties.  it is my go to non-technical and flat training route predominantly used for running, although i have been known to cycle to bristol and back, end to end so to speak, which can be useful if conditions are tricky and i want to steer clear of hills.  on a day like today the route represented the perfect choice.

i will be running my one official running race of the year on the 3 march at my local bath half road race.  it is a race i entered for the first time last year where i managed to achieve a personal best time over the twenty one kilometre distance, so a relatively flat and fast course.  i am not a fan of negatively reinforcing something but i am currently suffering from a niggling sore left hamstring that has been affecting my running for a couple of months now.  although it does not feel like it is getting worse it will make it very challenging for me to attempt to beat my record.

injury aside i have recently started to use fridays or saturdays to run relatively hard and fast, so tempo, a shade under race pace, for the duration of my runs.  base done i have been trying to work on speed.  i have had a couple of decent sessions over the last few weeks showing that i am not too far off my best although there is still work to do.  running in weather like today though took me back to speeds more commonly seen at default base level, near conversational speed.  there was nothing to be done but to run and enjoy the scenery.

i said earlier the route i ran today is non-technical. it actually turned technical due to the snow. weather conditions also meant what would normally be base effort for the speed i was running was pushed ever so slightly higher due to having to lift my thighs to compensate for the depth of snow and of equal importance focus extra effort on the foot fall. better to shorten the gait with the aim of keeping the feet on the floor more often, hopefully improving traction.

i reached the village of bitton with its old time railway station and turned for home. the change in wind direction gave me the perception that it was snowing harder.  flakes swirled in front of me hitting my face and eyes and making me cough. i ran back along the path occasionally stooping low to avoid branches bowed from the weight of the snow. Pulling the brim of my winter hat lower for protection from the elements, i pushed on for home.

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