- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 18, 2007

The weather surely has been challenging. Nobody disputes that.

For the most part, training regimens must be modified.

Frankly, it is not a bad time to take a few needed days of rest and recovery, ignoring the icy mess outside. But this weather doesn’t have to force you to the sideline — just think out of the running shoe a bit.

Look at it like this: The way to overcome adversity is to try harder.

If you are not a cold-weather person, stay indoors. Treadmills are a great option to breathing in 20-degree, lung-burning air. Some people have access to small indoor tracks at their health clubs and recreation centers. I personally do not reach nirvana circling a 100- to 150-meter indoor track for 40 minutes but nonetheless you get in the work.

A moderate weight-training session never hurt a runner, either. Whether you are a sprinter or a marathoner, you can always use some strengthening, toning and stretching, and winter is the perfect time to be shut indoors.

I don’t buy the excuse that anybody in the D.C. area does not have access to an indoor gym. Most recreation centers — public and private — allow walk-ins to pay for just one day at a time, and I know you can go to Gold’s Gym with a day pass at any time and even take group lessons there. They have great spinning classes that can do wonders for the legs.

The low temperatures have become a secondary challenge to the poor footing on the roads and sidewalks, compliments of “The Inch that Stole Valentine’s Day.” This is a fact of life — the D.C. area is not outfitted to remove snow as fast and efficiently as say, Boston or Buffalo, so instead of complaining about it, use your breath to work out.

Think creatively rather than sulk and counter with excuses that the city or county has not cleared your sidewalk or street well enough. Remember how your parents used to walk 10 miles back and forth to school every day in the snow with no shoes on their feet when they were kids.

One sure place that gets instant snow removal is your local mall, which could serve as a large loop course for your distance run. You may just have to get into your car to find roads that are clear of snow and are light in traffic. There are plenty out there if you try harder.

And if all else fails and you cannot seem to find reprieve from the nasty elements, do not have easy access to a treadmill, inside track or gym, find your nearest parking deck and run repeat loops there. Usually there is no snow or ice underground, and you could be sheltered from a frosty wind-chill.

In other words, solutions are everywhere if you try. True, I would prefer a sunny and calm 70-degree day, but part of living in this area is dealing with a month or two of cold, sleet, ice and less-than-perfect road clearing.

Pike’s Peek picked — The Montgomery County Road Runners announced on Friday that its Pike’s Peek 10K along Rockville Pike was chosen to hold the Road Runners Club of America Eastern Region 10-Kilometer Championship race on April 29.

The Pike’s Peek 10K debuted in 1996 and has continued to be a popular event on the spring racing schedule, in some part because of its fast downhill USATF-certified course from Shady Grove to White Flint.

Years ago, when race officials offered a hefty time bonus, the big dollars attracted marquee American runners Dan Browne (28:35) and Jen Rhines (32:45).

For the championship, the Eastern Region comprises the following areas: the District, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

Additional information is available on the Web site mcrrc.org or on the race hotline at 301/460-8888.

Races are a go — Icebergs at Hains Point did not deter organizers of the By George 5K and 10K race yesterday. Some 112 people finished on a quickly constructed out-and-back course in East and West Potomac parks that was run on dry pavement, according to race organizer Jay Wind.

“The road was clear to run,” Wind said after the race. “The course was actually safer than the normal Hains Point course because everybody could see everybody else.”

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