Survived my biggest weekend of training so far! I was scheduled for 4 hours and 10 minutes on Saturday, and another hour and forty minutes on Sunday. With the weather, that turned out to be a huge challenge, but a great workout with some magical moments. I couldn’t wait to get out there as I’d been grounded the last few days with messages like this waking me up:
Woke up Saturday to see that a forecasted snowstorm was in full bloom, with several inches on the ground and more on the way. The temperature was reasonable, just around freezing, but I wasn’t sure what to wear or how this was going to go–snow? Ice? Rain? After several moments of indecision, I packed quite a bit of clothing options, changed my mind once or twice, and headed out for the trails.
This winter, virtually all the long trail options in the Cincinnati area are not available without danger, as it is hunting season in most of the parks (as I discovered several places after running into hunters! Yikes!). The only real exception is the backpacking and mountain biking trails at the beautiful East Fork State Park. With the snow falling heavily, this was a very long and slow drive, and I arrived to be what looked like the only one in the park:
I soon found that the “trail” was very snow-covered with no real tracks for the whole stretch, and with about 6″ of fresh snow to try to break:
After a few minutes of trying to slog through at my usual pace, I discovered that because I needed to high-step, I was not going to be able to keep this up at any reasonable speed. Also, my uphill hip started getting really fatigued, and I was soon breathing raggedly and getting fatigued. I started taking short walking breaks and then walking/slipping through all the uphills, while having great fun cruising the downhills and trying to stay on my feet. A few times I slid out of control and into the snow, but there was no chance of getting hurt, so this added to the fun.
The views of the lake were spectacular:
The trail was incredibly peaceful–soft to the feet, on the eyes, and on the ears as well. The only sounds were the gentle breeze, my feet on the cushioned snow, and an occasional flock of geese honking somewhere above in the low clouds. Soon, all thoughts of outside business and bustle dropped away and I glided though a magical, ancient forest:
Lost in my drift, the time passed much more quickly than I would have thought possible. While the extra stepping motion was challenging, I soon got the hang of the necessary pacing and finished up feeling great–not too fatigued, and with plenty of energy for the rest of the weekend. I found I’d only made it 16 miles from my GPS (but an impressive, and clearly much inflated, 45 miles with my new FitBit One!), which is a pretty slow pace. No matter, it’s the effort and time on my feet that matters, and that had been an amazing leg workout.
Finished up with 10 miles Sunday with Melanie and Tom, tough to begin but not feeling too sore. I’m definitely on track for trying out the Barkley Marathons course in 2 weeks!