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Fall Training: As good as it gets!

As much as I love to line up and race, I've got to say that for me, it's more about the journey! When I think back to all of my amazing experiences cycling, xc skiing, and running, most of the highlights are while out training. Training in amazing places or my own backyard, with friends or by myself, all can yield great experiences you will take with you for the rest of your life!

Yet somehow, when I think back on most of my most memorable or epic workouts, most of them happen to be during the Fall months. Why? I'm not sure, I think it's just a great transitional time. A time when there's no real pressure to perform. It's not really bike race season, not ski season yet, and most of the major running races are done and over. You're just out there having fun and challenging yourself!

One thing that many folks love about fall is the crazy variety of weather. Why just in the past week, I've been blown away by the variety of conditions we've had. Cases in point:

On Friday the 9th, I did a great hike with ski poles and Ingrid in the backpack on the huge hills on the north side of Hyland Park Reserve. It was chilly, breezy, partly cloudy, but beautiful with a hint of the winter to come. I got in a great workout with lots of big hill climbs, and Ingrid got to see her first ski jump up close and personal.

Three short days later, on Monday the 12th before work, I did a morning trail run in Hyland Park Reserve, right from the parking lot of QBP (where I work). Remember how a few short days later I had felt a "hint of the winter to come"? Well, I found it on Monday morning! I awoke to a thin blanket of snow at my home in Minneapolis, but about 12 miles south at Hyland Park Reserve, there was a solid 3 inch or so blanket of snow there to greet me. I got in a fantastic 45 minute or so trail run. Sadly, my only regret was that I didn't bring with some rock skis!

Fast forward to Saturday the 17th. A beautiful, some would say "classic" fall day. I got out for a fantastic classic rollerski for about 2.5 hours. This was one of the workouts that contributes to a solid winter of ski racing (we'll see if that happens :) ). I skied from my home in South Minneapolis, to Minehaha Falls, to the Fort Snelling Monument, and then down into Fort Snelling National Park. This is my favorite rollerski route as I spend 100% of my time on beautiful bike trails and then on the roads within the park of the fort, where the speed limit is 20mph and cars are very respectful. At either end of the park is a huge hill climbing out of the river valley. At the south end of the park, I did 5 repeats of the hill, which on classic rollerskis took about 2:05 to 2:15 per repeat at an above race pace. A very hard workout, but one that leaves you feeling satisfied! On the ~40 minute ski home, I took my time to appreciate the beautiful fall day. 55 degrees, perfect sunshine, and only a slight breeze made for an amazing day.

There you have it! A week of either extreme of the Fall weather spectrum here in the Midwest! You can either love it and get out in it, or hate it and lock yourself indoors for the next 6 months. I'll take option #1!

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