Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring is Actually Here

Another weekend of cool and rainy but the cold days are numbered. Everyday I see more signs of the warmer season being here to stay. I had what I feel to be another promising week of training with lots of time outside. It was the standard 5 hours and 80 miles on the bike. Running is now up to 34 miles with a great 3 hour long run on the rugged trails of Busiek.

This week I actually brought the camera along on the trail to try and capture why I think it is such a great training ground. There was plenty of mud and water from a few days of rain to play in. Even with the temperature Saturday morning at 45, the parking lot was full and there were numerous groups milling about.

From the last couple years of averaging over an hour a day outside exercising, on at least 5 days of the week, I have a pretty good sense of what I need to wear for any given weather condition. At 45, for running, all I need is shorts and a long sleeve technical shirt. I realize, of course, that everyone has a different comfort threshold when it comes to temperature. To me however, 45 to 50 is the optimal endurance training temperature. It's a little cool to start but it warms to be just about perfect while you are on the move. I felt a little odd as I got out of the car to ready myself and there was group of hikers in the parking lot all wearing long pants and winter jackets with hats and gloves! In the end, my experience was right and by the end of the run it was 55 and I was sweating and shirtless.

The week's rain had the water crossings deep and cold! I don't know what the temp of the water was but for several minutes after each crossing my legs were comfortably numb. There was once, with the water approaching waist deep, that my feet were starting slip on the rocks from the force of the water as it tried to push me downstream. I decided to turn back and walk a bit upstream for a better vantage point. Getting swept away would not have meant instant death. I am proficient enough in the water to feel confident I could have swam out. Within a few minutes of running I think I could have even shook off the chill it would cause. The scariest thing to me at the time was dropping my unprotected camera and my mp3 player in the water!

I also learned another valuable lesson about the Five Fingers this week. If there are to be water crossings, I need to wear socks. I decided to go without socks because it was going to be warm enough. However, as the shoes began to fill with sand and rocks, as they inevitably will on a trail, and as my feet got softer from being wet, I found the built up dirt acting like sandpaper within the shoe. I didn't find this to be the case at all when wearing my Injinji socks with them.

Highs in the 70's all week. It's going to be a good one!

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