I've never been forced to train through the winter. Ever. I've always chosen to peak for fall races, giving me the summer to train properly. This is more about perceived limitations than toughness. I just never considered winter as a time to train.
When it came time to choose a first 100-miler, I wanted something fairly straightforward, flatish, close-by and familiar. The obvious choice turned out to be the Kettle 100 in S. Wisconsin. I know and love the Ice Age Trail in this area. Fantastic running, beautiful scenery, and (mostly) non-technical singletrack. The trouble was though, that it runs the beginning of June.
This early race forced me to train through snow and sleet. Through 6" of snow and very uneven footing. At 5:30 in the morning with a headlamp. I refused to run on the roads in training for a trail 100-miler; that would make no sense. I am now emerging from winter pretty tough and fit, and uninjured. Relatively of course.
One unexpected gift that came my way was "the things you see" when you run at all times of the day and year. This morning was no exception. It is the end of April. Average high temps are supposed to be around 60°F. We are expecting to see the sun and 75° by the weekend (woo hoo!). And yet, God saw fit to give us one more winter gift in the form of about 8" of freshly-fallen snow overnight.
I was out on the trails at Willow River State Park in NW Wisconsin this morning, at about 5:45 am., and took these pictures. Enjoy, and happy end of Winter!