The last week of January was not much different from the preceding three. We did got a short reprieve from the arctic temperatures, but the snow continued to fall. Monday, I did 6 miles in the morning and four miles in the evening, on the treadmill at recovery pace (around 8:00/min.-mile.) On Tuesday, I did my first mile intervals since November of 2008, and really, those were not quality miles. My last really good mile intervals were probably in September. So, I was not expecting much, but surprisingly, I did 3 miles, each at 6:00/min. pace, with 400 recovery after each. Wednesday was pure treadmill torture...15 miles in the early morning. I kept a reasonable pace, averaging 7:45/min., and I switched several times between the television and my MP3's. The only good thing about that run was the relief I felt when it was over. Thursday was another 6/4 mile double at recovery pace, nothing particularly noteworthy. On Friday, I got a nice 7.5 morning miles on the streets of Solon. The roads were alternately icy and slushy, but my screw shoes proved reliable if not speedy (7:53/min.)
Saturday at Lock 29, I arrived early and tested the trails, but they were terrible. Even the tow path, looked like this.
I wanted to run, but the trails would barely allow more than a fast hiking pace. So, it turned into basically another road run, this time 12.5 miles. Sunday was the most beautiful morning we have had in months. It was already 32 degrees when I left the house before 7:00 AM. I ran my early miles alone, then 12 with the group, then added about 1.5 to get me over 21 miles. Maybe it was the warm weather, or the clear roads, but I averaged 7:43 pace, even though my first 6 miles were over 8:00/min. I really picked up the pace, particularly on the Hawthorne Parkway hill. Total miles for the week: 82.1
This was the worst January I can remember for consistently bitter cold and snow that would not stop. The conditions made quality runs very difficult to manage, and forced me to rely on the treadmill far to much. I got my long runs in, including a couple of 20 milers, but they were not pleasant and at times, truly uncomfortable. January will do that to you. Now that it's gone, and February has started so promisingly, I admit that I am satisfied with the miles I was able to run. My total from the month was 325 miles, which is 5 miles higher than my previous highest total month, December. I cannot remember ever looking forward to February so much. I've started to get some quality speed work back into my schedule. If February's weather allows, I'd like to get a good tempo run in at least once a week, and not on the treadmill.