Saturday, 31 January 2015

Sometimes deep and often crisp but rarely even

After a couple of days off I was eager to get out today but rather apprehensive about the snow as the local pavements were slick with ice when I came home last night. My initial route deviated from the norm and went along some intermediate size roads which were clear enough to be dry but not so major as to be dangerous to a runner in the carriageway.

As I ascended from Dore village to Blacka Moor the number of footprints declined and the snow became looser. From the moor to Hathersage road the snow was barely trodden and drifting had made it thigh-deep in places and hidden the path, and previous footprints entirely. It was a good job that visibility was good and I know where the path is. I'd used a lot of energy crossing the snow (although my heart rate wasn't high) and made slow progress, for a while my pace was 15 minutes per km. On the tarmac I was able to stretch my legs a little and warm up - how could I have got cold whilst stepping into and over deep snow?

A little drifting
I'd expected that the snow on Houndkirk Road would have been compressed by a combination of hikers and vehicles but it hadn't. I met a fair few runners, more than usual, and they commented on the knee-deep snow to come. They were right, but luckily the deep bits were short and easier than I'd experienced on Blacka Moor. In places there was no snow on the path as the wind had scoured the snow from the track, depositing it against walls.

The descent through Limb valley was a little icy but there was always plenty of grip at one side of the path or the other, nonetheless my pace was modest. Once on the road I traced that home to avoid paths I thought would have been heavily trodden. Of course, the pavements I was on had some coverage of ice but it was melting and cracking and thus not too treacherous.

This was my hardest half-marathon distance and feels to have taken a lot out of me. It has also been my slowest but that's to be expected with the snow. I suppose the final pace of 7:13 minutes per km isn't too bad in the end.

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