Okay, so I'm not a "demon on wheels" like the cartoon character Speed Racer. I wouldn't even call myself a demon in running shoes. But this week I've been a real speed demon, at least by my standards. I think it has something to do with a combination of cool weather (but still above freezing) and the ice that was there last week melting away.
A couple of weeks ago we had our first snow. As is the case with October snowfall, it melted away quickly. But the combination of warm days and below freezing nights froze the melted snow and created lots of black ice on the trails where I run. The good thing about the ice was that it forced me into a slow pace. There was enough ice for the paths to be slippery, but not enough for me to put ice spikes on my shoes. Since I was still in recovery mode from my recent half-marathon, a slower pace was good to let some little nagging problems heal fully.
This week I was really flying and feeling like I wasn't expending extra effort. That's such a wonderful feeling, especially because all of the little aches and pains from the race are gone. I often get faster after recovering from a race, so this is not a new phenomenon. Being on terra firma instead of ice was an extra added bonus, as was the sunshine.
There won't be too many more days like this left. It's supposed to cool off and start raining on Sunday, and the forecast calls for snow on Monday. Ski season has already started with the local glacier opening last weekend. However, the snow is not very good yet. Once ski season gets in full swing, I will ski 2 to 3 times a week and run twice a week. My runs will be slightly longer to make up for the lower frequency.
I have always enjoyed winter running and am looking forward to it. Running while it's snowing is like being in the middle of a snow globe. I like running on fresh snow, before it has been packed down and hardened. There's something about running in fresh snow that makes me feel like a kid again. People who insist on running indoors on a treadmill during the winter are really missing out.