I was signed up to run the Striders Half today, and felt ready to race, but I ended up with a big DNS. I got up at 4:30AM, checked the weather outside, then checked the weather in Huntsville via internet, then checked the road conditions on Sardine Canyon via internet, then went back to bed. I think I'm just getting mentally weak, today it did not seem worth it to risk life and limb to drive up to Ogden Valley for the opportunity to be miserable for 13.1 miles. Plus being miserable for the hour before the race, and the hour after the race. I did that and bought the t-shirt last year. All weather reports were indicating snow, 28 degrees, and 15mpw headwind. Bleh. Felt a little bad about wasting $45 on the entry fee, but at least I like Striders, so I'll consider it a donation, or maybe payback for the hundreds of dollars I've taken from them over the years in prize money.
Slept in until 8:15AM, a 2010 season-best.
Got up, ate breakfast, drank coffee, worked for a little while, and then headed out for a run. The snow was mostly melted from the roads, and weather was still cold but pretty decent for running. I was starting to regret not racing, especially when I felt pretty sharp during the whole run.
I needed to get a hard workout it, given that I missed a somewhat important tune-up race to Indy. So I took Hillside to Summit down to Center St, and then headed up Smithfield Canyon for some fun. First two miles of warmup were 6:40 and then 6:02. Smithfield Canyon was a winter wonderland, very pretty with all the snow, and I had the whole road to myself.
I picked up the pace when I started going up the canyon. Hit a 5:52 and 6:04 on my first two miles, which is really good for me in this canyon. Then a 6:15, which is about normal. And then the road started getting snowy, so I had to slow down in places, but still kept it brisk. 6:36 and 7:15 for the these two miles. At this point, there was about 6 inches of fresh snow in the road, much more than what was at my house. I had tire treads to run in, but it was still fairly slow. I was feeling a lot better about not racing, given that I was at the elevation of the race start line (~5400').
I got to the gate to the campground, and then turned around here, and started going downhill. 6:22 for the first downhill mile. The snow was pretty grippy, and good to run in. I was also getting some headwind on the downhill, which explained why the uphill felt so good. It was starting to snow too. Feeling increasingly good about not racing.
Once the snow cleared up, I started a short half marathon-pace tempo. First mile was 5:25, slowed partially by patchy snow. But the road continued to improve as I descended. Next three miles were 5:11, 5:09, 5:11. Felt absolutely great at this pace, and considered it a decent workout, especially combined with the earlier uphill tempo. I had to fight the headwind a little bit, but it was not very strong.
Made a pit-stop at the 7-11 on Center St at the end of the tempo, and then got some more miles by doing an out-and-back on the trail to Forrester Acres, then took the long way home on Summit. Averaged about 6:30/mile on these cooldown miles. Averaged 6:12/mile for the entire run of 17.5 miles, which I'm pretty happy with, and had plenty of spunk at the end.
I suppose one good thing about not racing today (beside not killing myself on Sardine Canyon) is that I don't have to recover from anything. I did 4 straight weeks of 70+ during March, and had an easier week last week. Now next week I'm ready to jump up to 80 miles, and hope to hold mid-80s until my half marathon in Indianapolis in early May. I would love to run 1:06-something there, and feel like I'm starting to get in pretty good shape. I'd still like to find a tune-up race sometime this month, maybe I'll do the USU track meet in a couple weeks. That would be interesting.
After I finished my run today, I found the Striders Half race results and also read Matt Rowley's reports. Sounds like I made the right choice. Teren running 1:14 is a pretty good indicator, as is Ben VanB at 1:15 (expected 1:11 out of him or so). And the list goes on. It looked about 5 minutes slow, and sounded very painful. I really wished I could have raced something (I've got the itch), but Striders would have just been frustrating to me, just as it was last year. So it goes.