Spring has yet to arrive in Rochester, and even though it wasn’t snowing during todays workout it was only about 25 degrees and the wind was at a steady 20 mph with gusts well over 30 mph out of the wnw. Mike and I had a 4×1 mile workout planned on a 1 mile stretch of the Erie Canal trail which just happens to run east-west. We knew from doing our warm up strides into the wind that it was going to be rough, but we had no idea how rough it was going to be.
We ran the first one with the wind and were flying along nicely until the final 100 meters when we hit a pack of ice and snow that had blown onto the trail forcing us onto a small rocky patch along the canal that had some traction. Despite that little set back we managed a fairly easy 5:14 which we both agreed was really a 5:12 because of the slow down on the snow. Our return trip took 30 seconds longer and that was with us switching every 400 meters to share the burden of breaking the wind. I was not surprised by the slow time, but I was surprised at how hard it felt.
The next rep we really got moving and ran a 5:06 with the wind pushing us along. You know it is windy when you are running 5 minute pace and you can feel the wind still shoving you along. Even though we were just taking 90 seconds rest I was feeling pretty good as we turned to face the wind one last time. The first 800 meters went nicely in 2:50 but then things took a horrible turn for the worst. The next 3 minutes the wind was howling the kind of wind that just stands you straight up. I felt like was I at a dead sprint the last 400 meters and we ran it in over 1:40. When we finally finished I felt like I just ran up 100 flights of stairs. I am certain had we run that hard with no wind it would have been well under 5 minute pace.
All this has left me dreaming of a warm calm day in May when I can get on a track!