Sunday marks the start of a new year of racing for Club Northwest/Brooks. I am so happy to be representing Club Northwest/Brooks for another year. Though I don’t train with them regularly, I can’t say enough about how nice it is to be part of this team. To arrive at a race and see friendly faces and know that you’re not alone.
Unfortunately, no amount of camaraderie is going to help me on Sunday at Seattle’s Love ‘Em or Leave ‘Em Valentine’s Day Dash. I frequently open the year of racing at this fun Greenlake race. It always comes on the heels of my year-end break from running, a 3-week slothfest when I decompress mentally and physically. Though I do love the break, I would also love to be able to skip this stage of training. Coming back from it always involves some amount of gnashing of teeth. It’s a miserable climb back to a state of fitness where running starts to flow. When speed sessions don’t feel like an exercise in futility. I’m not there yet.
The thing about returning to running after a break is that you can’t just pick up where you left off. It’s tough to be patient during the build-up phase. Especially when mother nature decides to throw curve balls.
Let me tell you something about people from the Pacific Northwest. We don’t do anything in the snow. Our kids don’t go to school, we don’t drive, and don’t expect to see a shoveled walkway. It’s not happening. We shut down, break out the sleds we bought 4 years ago the last time it snowed, and wonder when everything will melt. But I had a long run scheduled. I need every workout I can get before Sunday’s race. So I strapped on some Yaktrax and headed out the door.
My takeaway? Yaktrax are not the most comfortable things in the world. But I also have an older version that lack the toe plates that would probably alleviate some of the discomfort I felt in the ball of my foot. As traction in the snow, however, they worked well. Even so, 10 miles devolved into a discouraging 7 and the slog back to shape continues.
With the specter of a painful race ahead of me, I’m comforting myself with new shoes. What else can you do? I love my Brooks Adrenalines and would run in them even without the Club Northwest connection.
I tried to capture my funky lacing system. A few years ago, out of the blue, the top of my foot started bugging me, right in the middle of the laces. When I asked at my local running store – Poulsbo Running, holla! – they suggested skipping a hole in the middle of the laces. That simple trick helped and I’ve been doing it ever since.
Though we’ve returned to our normal windy, rainy February, prospects for race time on Sunday look sunny. At this point there’s not much more to do but take a deep breath and go for it. Hopefully I’ll end up in better shape than our Pacific Northwest snowman. He spent a day listing wildly before giving up the ghost.