Today's forecast calls for high temps in the 60's, so I thought I could dress in what I call "winter-lite" gear. I wore a thin Sugoi running beanie and some lightweight Nike fleece gloves, along with a Sugoi tech-fleece, running pants, and all my reflective regalia. My body was okay during the run, but my face and hands got very cold, as it was actually in the mid- to upper-20's during most of the run. As I stepped outside, it was pitch-black, with a slight mist from the still-melting snow. We've seen some substantial reductions, but there are still plenty of dirty-white piles, especially in shady areas or where the plows made 10+-foot mountains over the course of this dismal winter. Dodging the potholes and frost heaves before dark has presented a new running challenge, that of not shattering an ankle.
At some point about 4 miles in (of a scheduled 11-miler), I turned my headlamp off, and noticed the creeping lightness as the sun made its way above the eastward horizon. It was very nice to be able to see where I was going, and there's something about that first light, so fresh, crisp and invigorating, that makes it seem like all is right with the world.
The run went pretty well (came in at almost 12 miles), but my legs are definitely feeling the high-mileage and recently stepped-up intensity. My HR stayed constant, but my hips & quadriceps are a bit sore. However, thanks to the boost from last weekend's 5K PR and highest-ever mileage week, I feel like I am the master of my workouts now. I have more confidence than ever that I will hit my training goals and - most importantly - that I will be in great shape (physically and otherwise) come May 25th. Although I am mostly thankful that more training remains, since I am still building fitness and fine-tuning speed, I am starting to wish the marathon was less than 6 weeks away.
The rest of this week calls for a cross-training/rest day tomorrow, 4-5 miles (with 4x100m strides) on Friday an 8-15K race or time trial on Saturday and 17 miles on Sunday. Saturday will pose a logistical challenge because I'm speaking at a conference about 90 miles from home at 9:00 am, and have some familial obligations during the rest of the day. I will figure out a way to get a 10K time trial in, but won't put too much stock in how it goes, since I'll be pretty fatigued, it'll be an awkward time for me to run, and a time trial cannot reasonably simulate an actual race in terms of running one's best.
So, looking forward to another 50+-mile week and hopefully more fitness gains. Oh, and watching a few more sunrises won't hurt my spirits either, especially when the trails clear and I can round my favorite bend in the woods to see the sun rising above one of the ponds and the school's beautiful library and chapel.