I must say, I love February training! Sure, it is often bitterly cold and the roads and trails are covered with snow but there is something about the second half of winter training that is inspiring and invigorating. Each day gets a little longer, each run seems a bit smoother, and each experience builds on the previous one leading me closer to the starting line at Squaw Valley.
One might think that after six years the wonder and excitement of Western States might wear off and that, after years of pounding out the miles in preparation for one special day, the luster of the Big Dance might dull a bit. For me, nothing could be farther from the truth. After the relatively easy months of December and January everything ramps up a bit in February. With rested legs and a calm body, every run feels like a tempo run and the speed and hill sessions are a welcome change of pace. It being four months away from the Big Dance, the weekly long runs are just long enough to burn some fat and not too long to leave me weary and worn out. Each day when I lace up my shoes I spring out the door with an eagerness that was lacking in November. Nothing hurts and everything feels right. It's the time in the winter when hope springs eternal.
So, here's to the simplicity and beauty of February training! The seemingly effortless miles logged this month will soon give way to the more arduous and deeper runs of March and April. From there, the spring will be highlighted by a couple of trips down to The Course to remind my body of what those canyons feel like and to feel the pull of that hallowed ground. Those trips, of course, never get old and they in turn give way to the glorious month of May in which every day is like Christmas Eve. I love the freedom and joy of these special late winter runs and look forward eagerly to the build-up that awaits.
I hope you all are enjoying an equally invigorating February!