Warm winter. The two words contradict eachother. But for this Minnesotan, especially in February, they make for a welcome surprise.
I’ve never been a big fan of treadmills. Don’t get me wrong, I like the off-season opportunities they provide for cardio, but the experience just isn’t the same as actually running. Its really just knowing when and how quickly to lift your feet versus actually propelling yourself to a destination.
This morning I woke up to temperatures already pushing 40°F. I had to check my phone twice to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. It was a great day to lace up the running shoes and hit the pavement.
Here’s the details:
- Distance: 2.94 miles
- Total time: 24:22
- Average pace: 8:16/mile
I’m thankful to be completing comfortable outdoor runs this early in the year. Last year, I didn’t start running until late April. Looking back through my Nike+ Run Club app, I was at a 9:06/mile average pace on that first run – almost one minute slower than today’s pace.
Now I’m excited for what this two-month head start on training will bring. It feels good to be ahead of the game.
Minnesota winters don’t always lend themselves well to running. Well, unless you like running on snow and ice in sometimes sub-zero temps. But today was a different story. With 40°+ temperatures, the conditions were great for a run under a setting sun.
I jumped at the opportunity for my first non-treadmill run of the year. The ice that once covered the paths and sidewalks was mostly melted away, leaving just a few puddles to dodge, jump over or be a kid again and splash right through. And the fresh air was, well, a breath of fresh air. It was just good to be outside.
Here’s the details:
- Distance: 3.06 miles
- Total time: 25:19
- Average pace: 8:19/mile
I was pleased to see I hadn’t lost too much of a step from where I left off in the fall. For most training runs last year, I had averaged around a 7:45 pace. Certainly some work to do. But hey, it’s only February!
Oh, and the highlight besides being outside: getting to spend some more time listening to Run the Jewels’ RTJ3 album. They’ll definitely be a part of my running playlists this summer.
At this time last year, the idea of doing a triathlon wasn’t much more than a fleeting thought. Almost three more months would pass before registering for my first race of 2016. Things are different this year. My 2017 triathlon schedule is set and I’m pretty excited about it.
I’m kicking-off the season at Trinona, the race where it all began for me. In 2010, my wife and I volunteered on Trinona’s green team, helping sort recyclables and compost. This was my first exposure to the sport and it had me dreaming of tackling the race some day. In 2014, I completed my first triathlon at Trinona. The sense of accomplishment after crossing the finish line was like nothing I’d experienced before, proving to myself that I was capable of something I’d doubted I could do. In 2016, I raced Trinona again, sparking a love for the sport and completions of two more races that summer. This year, I’m looking forward to having two close friends participating in this race too. I’m sure lots of camaraderie and friendly jeering will enjoyed before, during and after the event.
Next up for 2017 is the LifeTime Tri Minneapolis. This one will be special because I’m not just racing racing for myself. I joined Team Save the Children for two reasons: to raise awareness about worldwide hunger and poverty and its affect on children – and to do so while honoring the memory of Olivia Ann Christiano. I get goosebumps just thinking about this race. I pledged to raising at least $500. Thanks to the contributions from family, friends and some very generous people who I’ve never met, I’ve already exceeded that goal. But I’m not stopping there. Between now and race day, I want to keep adding to that fundraising total. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of children throughout the world. If you’d like to contribute, please visit my personal fundraising page here.
In August, I’ll be tackling my most adventurous event yet – the Transamerica Chicago Triathlon. Adventurous is open to interpretation, but traveling out of state for a race, and the thought of swimming in Lake Michigan, both say “adventure” to me. This will also be the largest event I’ve competed in. For a comparison, last year’s Minneapolis Tri Sprint race had 641 participants; Chicago’s had 2,237. Biking and running along the lake shore and through downtown Chicago will provide some spectacular views. Plus, celebrating with a slice of deep dish pizza sounds like the perfect prize.
Setting the race schedule felt like an accomplishment in itself. But now the real work of training becomes the focus. I’m just happy that this year, I’ve planned ahead and allowed plenty of time to prepare for the season – a season with a lot to look forward to.