Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Week Five: snow, snow and more snow

1/16/12: 7 miles
        Today was Vern and my weekly ascent on the Mickinnick Trail. Started at 6am and the temperature was between 12 and 15 degrees. Still no snow for about the first 2 miles of trail but the cold temps caused several natural springs to freeze creating big ice patches across the trail making those sections of the trail extremely slow going. The last 1.5 miles to the top there was snow on the trail with about 3-5 inches of powder on top of hard packed snow. The powdery snow made it hard to see obstacles in the trail so you really had to let your feet feel their way over the terrain. We enjoyed some wonderful views of the lake and coming down the mountain was a blast. At one point on the way down I thought it would be a good idea to stray off the trail a little bit so I could go down a very steep boulder patch. I navigated the section really well until right before I rejoined the trail, I caught my toe on a branch that was hiding in the snow which sent me flying superman style into a snowy face-plant 10 yards down the trail. I wasn't hurt (it was actually quite fun) and quickly got up and continued down the trail. The fun continued as we got out of the snow on our descent. On one of the sharp switchbacks instead of planting on my out side foot as I came around the corner I plated with me inside foot on a large rock then swung my outside hip to the inside of the trail causing me to do a quick spin move around the switchback allowing me to never slow down as I navigated the turn. It was a great move if I do say so my self. I think Vern was impressed too as he yelled from behind me if that was "one of those football moves". We did have to slow down a couple times on the way down to navigate some ice patches. It was a great run and I can't wait till next weeks run on Mickinnick.

1/17/12: 6 miles
       Ran 3 miles on treadmill then lifted weights for 45mins and then ran another 3 miles. nothing to exciting unless you like staring out the window.

1/18/12: 8 miles
      Ascended the Gold Mt. trail, I started at 6:45am from the trail head. It snowed about 4-6 inches the night before so I cut first tracks on the trail. Running in unpacked snow really makes you expend a lot energy but I managed to keep a constant pace to the top of the trail. There were some points on the trail that had closer to a 14" of new powdery snow due to drifting and running these sections really took a lot of effort as I plowed through the drifts. This was my first run with my new Microspikes made by Kahtoola (pictured below) they worked great on both ice and snow. I was so glad I had the spikes other wise I would have had problems all day long with traction going up or down hill, it truly is amazing the difference the Microspikes made. It snowed lightly the whole time I was on the trail but the falling snow just added to the mystic beauty of the woods.  

1/20/12: 18 miles
       Today was a great learning experience. As a pretense to this run it had snowed nonstop for the last two days and the snow is starting to build up. I started running from my house at 6:20am, I didn't wear the microspikes to start out since the roads had just been plowed and I didn't want to dull then by running on the pavement (I did bring them along in my pack). I ran from my house to Division St then I headed north till I reached Baldy Mt. Rd. From there I headed west to a cut-off road which I took south until I hit Pine St. I continued south on Pine St till I reached the Syringa Trail head (this section was 4 miles long and it took just under 40 min).

       At the trail head I donned the microspikes and headed up the trail. There was 10-14" of new snow on the trail and I was the first to cut tracks. I fought the snow for the entire 13 miles I ran on the Syringa trail system. When the snow is that deep even running downhill feels like running uphill as you plow your way through the snow. It felt like the effort it took was much, much more than a normal long run even though I was moving at a snail's pace in the snow. One thing that was annoying was that the snow would melt on my running tights and then freeze in clumps where my tights met my shoes around my ankles. Since the ice build-up didn't really bother me except when a piece of ice would break off and fall into my shoe where it would then melt, I just kept of running despite the annoyance. Besides the snow covering the ground it also weighed down small trees and branches over the trail which I had me continually ducking under snow laden branches and snow falling down the back of my neck if I didn't quite get low enough. During the run I tried to get some type of nutrition and water in me every half and hour wither it was a gel packet or a energy bar. About six miles into the trail section of my run it began to snow and it continued to do so the rest of the run.

        By the time I hit mile 12 on the trail I was completely soaked from the inside out due to sweat and the out side in due to the snow. It was at this point that the 20 degree air temp really started to affect me. My soft-shell jacket started to freeze up. All my zippers froze in place and the jacket was becoming stiff. I could feel my hand getting really cold as well as my feet and legs. Thankfully I was wearing a base layer made of wool from Ibex witch kept me somewhat warm despite being soaked. At this point I pulled a dry pair of wool gloves out of my pack which helped my hands warm right up. I was able to make it back to the trail head just as I thought I might be in serious trouble, but when I started running on the plowed road again I was able to speed up to a 9 minute mile pace which warmed me back up. I felt pretty good for the last mile down Pine Street back to my house. I arrived home at 11:30am, it took 5hrs 10min to complete this run. It just goes to show how slow the going was in the snow especially since it one took less than 50min to run 5 of the 18 mile on the road.  

       Once I got home I couldn't untie my shoes because the knots were frozen, so I had to just pull them off my feet. My left sock had a piece of ice that had frozen through my sock around my ankle that was about the size of a golf ball. I took the rest my wet clothing off and headed for the shower, it was at this point where my 2 year old son Ty started pointing to the back of my left ankle and started saying "hurt daddy hurt". After his prompting I looked at the back of my ankle. It was bleeding and missing a quarter size patch of skin. I am pretty sure it was due to that piece of ice that was frozen to my sock rubbing against my skin for who knows how long.  At the time it didn't hurt probably because it was numb do to being cold, but when the hot water from the shower warmed it up the pain began. Not only does it hurt where I am missing skin but the entire backside of my ankle is extremely tender. 

1/21/12: OFF
        I was suppose to run 8 miles today but the injury to my ankle has left me barley able to walk. It feels like someone is stabbing it with a hot fire poker. I will probably take a few days of to try to get it better, hopefully it heals soon.    

Total miles this week: 39

The week went well until I injured my heel. I was happy with my overall conditioning on my 18 mile run even though it took a long time to complete. Fighting the snow most of the way really made it a great workout and my legs are still feeling pretty good. Another good thing I can take out of my long run is that I know I can spend over five hours on my feet running and still have plenty more in the tank. One thing I will do differently on long self-supported runs during the winter is take along an extra base-layer, so if I soak through the ones I have on I will have a dry set to switch into and stay warm. Another gear choice for running in the snow is a set of gaiters to keep the snow and ice out of the shoes (I already have a set on order) which would have prevent the injury to my ankle.                                      

      (The video at the end of the pictures is of running an uphill section of Syringa in the fresh snow) 

Vern at the top of Mickinnick

Mickinnick trail

View form the top of Mickinnick, the sun through the clouds gave the lake a silvery glow

Gold Mt. trail head at 6:45am

Gold Mt trail

My new Microspikes their Grrrreat!

Overlook on Gold Mt

Sandpoint from Gold Mt

Looking back at my tracks on Gold Mt trail
Syringa Trail following my own tracks

My injured heel

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