Zak and I made a tentative plan to get together for run at lunch time today, and with about 15 minutes notice I got the word from him that he was ready to go so I quickly got ready. Not having anything specific in mind he picked me up and we headed to Hardy road to get in a few miles on Blackstrap Hill. Totally by chance we timed it perfectly to meet Jeremy who was there getting ready for some hill repeats so Zak and I decided to tag along with his plan, which included running hard on the downhills and easy on the up.
We decided to start on the Three Bitches, a series of hills along a power line trail that includes 2 small hills and one really big one. I like running hills this way and conditions were pretty good for this type of workout. Most of the trail had a few inches of snow coverage, which was the consistency of sugar due to the relatively warm weather, and any ice spots had softened enough that we got pretty good grip with screw shoes. The soft snow helped absorb the impact of speeding downhill and provided enough of a buffer to remove some of the fear that comes along with it. The ups were run at a very easy pace and I was a bit surprised to find that I was breathing harder (i.e. working harder) on the downs than the ups, although that was the plan.
After two times across the Three Bitches we decided to run along the ridge and drop down through the tree farm. That was the last of our fast descents since by the time we reached the bottom of the hill we realized that Zak had very little time to get back to work. So we looped through the tree farm, back up to the ridge and back to our cars. It was great to do this kind of workout with others, Zak and I both agreed that neither of us would have run at that level of effort if we had been alone. Not surprisingly Jeremy went back out for a few more hills after Zak and I left.
distance: 6.29 miles
weather: overcast, upper 30's
conditions: 90% snow coverage
gear: Inov-8 Roclite 315 with screws, wool socks, shorts, 2x long sleeve shirts, gloves, cap