"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those timid spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat." -Teddy Roosevelt
Today was one of those days. I had planned to head back over to Bow Lake around lunchtime to run the actual race course...the one I mistakenly truncated last Sunday. The windblown rain made the 37 degree temps feel much cooler. I hate to be cold during a run, particularly a wet cold run. With a couple of extra layers I started out on the same counterclockwise pattern as last week. For me, the toughest part of a cold wet run is the first 2 minutes. Being wet is not nearly as bad as getting wet. Perhaps it was the extra clothing or the two late nights in a row, but I felt a little sluggish for the first 5-7 kms. Due to my less than adequate research last time I inadvertently took a wrong turn and missed a significant part of the course. Fortunately (or unfortunately) I got it right today. At approximately 8 km's the course began to gain elevation and it would climb roughly 100 meters in a little over 2 km's. I know that doesn't sound like much but after 8 km's and with 3 km's to go it was an impressive challenge. My pace slowed considerably as I kept my head down in the wind and attempted to stay focused on plugging away. I kept telling myself that today's challenge was giving me a psychological advantage over those runners who will experience this hill for the first time on race day. By the time I hit Tasker Hill I could feel the effects of 1.) my cold weather layers and 2.) the rain. I must have easily been carrying an extra 5 lbs. of wet clothing and to add insult to injury the overhand knot on the waist of my Ibex cold weather pants loosened and I ran the last 1.5 km's hiking them up every 15 strides. Very efficient indeed. In some strange twist of nature the wind blew in my face the entire way. That figured. I clocked in at 1:04:52 (6:57's). Considering the weather conditions, my training state, and my saggy wet pants I'd say that's pretty good. Time to move on to slightly longer challenges as I prepare for the Pineland Farms 25k Trail Challenge on Memorial Day weekend. Looking back at the last two years, I'll probably need to run sub 1:52:00 (~7:15's) to have a shot at a Top 10 finish. My PB on that course is 1:54:41 set in 2007 (15th overall). I've got some work to do, but I feel pretty good about my training to date. One more "on" week in this cycle.
"Beyond the very extreme of fatigue and distress, we may find amounts of ease and power we never dreamed ourselves to own; sources of strength never taxed at all because we never push through the obstruction." - William James