This is what it looked like in my backyard on Thursday morning at 8 am. I had gone out for a run at 5:30 and the ground was completely clear with just a few rain sprinkles mixed with flurries falling from the sky. But then at 7 a big black cloud blew over and we got about 2 inches of fluffy snow. By 9 am the sun was out. But it hasn't been over 30 degrees since then so there's still a lot of snow on the north side of things and ice on the road where cars haven't driven.
This morning the bank clock registered 18 degrees at 7 am, as I drove past on my way to pick up Sharon for our run. We decided to go for 20, which is the longest I've run since the Portland Marathon in Oct and the longest for Sharon since the North Olympic Discovery Marathon in June. I was concerned that there might still be some ice on the roads near the Wildwood trail heads and I don't have an AWD. So we decided to do a simple out and back on Leif Erickson.
Fortunately, the road to the trail head was ice free. Due to a little cloud cover it was still slightly dark and I was surprised to see a few people already heading up the trail. Despite the frigid temps, I think the promise of a dry day was bringing people out. As we headed up the first mile, we were met with the most outstanding view of the sunrise over Mt. Hood. Oh how I wished I had my camera with me. This picture is the closest I could find to how it looked. But imagine a wider vista and a more distinctly outlined mountain.
It's been awhile since we've run strictly on Leif. Sometimes we'll do a loop down to Leif from Wildwood. When we do that, Leif usually feels like a such a slog, since it really isn't a trail. But today it was perfect. No thinking involved. We ran to the 10 mile mark, stopping every 2 miles, and then turned around and ran back. There's something about running in sub-freezing temperatures that uses up all my mental energy. So it was nice to not have to think too much about our route.
We have a tradition of popping a Riesen during the last mile or so of a long run. It's the magic pill that gives us that extra energy to power through to the finish. But even in the best conditions those things can be like rocks. So our plan was to put one in our gloves at our mile 16 stop to help it melt and then eat it at mile 18. But you know, when its 24 degrees outside, putting a frozen Riesen in your glove is like putting in an ice cube. Bad idea!
We finished in a little over 3-1/2 hours for a ~11 minute mile pace. That's about the same time it took us to cover 16 hilly miles last weekend. I feel pretty good about the run since we did seem to stop for quite awhile every 2 miles. We were usually in sight of the next 1/4 mile marker by the time we started running again. So I estimate that our actual running pace was 10 minute miles or less. So far my weekly total is up to 35. I'd like to hit 40 this week. If I can brave the cold again tomorrow I will.