With a number of ultra races coming up in January including the ULTRArace90 which is a back to back 45m on consequtive days along the Grand Union Canal, I need to start getting in some higher mileage. Hence Sunday's long run in the deep snow. I was actually really looking forward to getting up at 6:30am to be out the door by 7am in the sub-zero temperatures. Why waste such glorious opportunities to get out and experience nature at it's wildest by spending it in bed!
I wrapped up warm (base layer / insulated T / outer shell) and this worked a treat. It was earrily quiet as the snow acted like an impenatrable blanket letting neither any sound or light through. Most weird of all was the lack of any colour in the landscape as it felt like I was emersed in my own black n white film. Magical. See photo.
It was such a nice run and whilst the effort levels were considerably higher to trudge through the snow it was most definitely worth it. Perfect resistance training! I ran 8 miles on my own before hooking up with two running club buddies Fred and John. Fred then led us on a tough off road 10 miler through Stockgrove Park and Rushmere Woods. This including some very steep ascents and long stretches through untouched snow. By the end of this run I was beat. At 18 miles and still 2.5 miles from home I didn't have much left. My pace at this point must have been in the 11-12mpm range. The avg pace for the 20.5 miles covered was 10.38mpm completing it in 3h38m. However speed and distance mean nothing in these types of condition. Effort wise it was easily a marathon and I felt far better for it.
So that's my first 20 miler in the bag for a while. I need plenty more of them to get my endurance back up to where it was in the summer. The focus on speed since then has definitely effected my ability to string out the miles effortlessly. So roll on 2011 with more long runs to come :-)