We had a good crowd for our run at Bradbury Mountain State Park this morning. Stephen, Ian, Emma, James, Erik, Chuck and Blaine were all present at 8am.
We hit the trails and the conditions were very... interesting. There was more snow on the trails than I thought there would be after this warm spell and also the rain yesterday (though that was a very cold rain, mixed with sleet at times). Very icy though and I was thankful to have my screw shoes on, which again provided fantastic traction.
But with the warm weather, much of the snow was loose (especially later on), and the ice sheets near the puddles and brooks were thick, but brittle. On the old TV show Pee Wee's Playhouse, there would be a word of the day and whenever anyone said it, everyone would yell. That's what we sounded like whenever one of us would break through the ice and plunge into the water, which happened quite often. Even if it didn't happen to you, you would still yell. This amused me greatly, and I couldn't stop laughing.
Despite our racket, we did manage to see a barred owl flying on the edge of a field at one point which was of course a real treat. Chuck took a shortcut home shortly after that and the rest of meandered back to the parking lot. As it got warmer, the snow became very soft with the consistency of mashed potatoes, making the running very slow going, but a great workout.
Race plans were also discussed and I'm honored to pace James when he runs the Massanutten 100 this May. On a selfish note, it'll be a good workout for me as well. I'm also very stoked that Stephen wants to pace for me at Western States. If he can make it, it'll be great since we're of course good friends and have a lot of fun doing longer runs together.
We eventually reached the parking lot eventually, and Ian, Emma and I opted for a few miles more and did a loop back up Bradbury Mountain (really a hill) and back down. Great run with a great group, and a lot of fun.
Ran 16.2 miles @ 9:21/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 143/161
Trails with mushy snow and ice.
Upper 20s to start, around 40 degrees to end. Sunny.
Long pants, fleece jacket for first three miles, then ditched for short sleeved shirt and moeben sleeves.