December 13 (Saturday) - Decided to continue to try to cut shapes by keeping to the roads (or mill) to try to work on my fitness in a way I'm convinced will work for me this winter. I waited until about 1:30pm and then headed out for a loop down into Tamworth. I kind of wanted to initially try to keep it just under 7s even though it's obviously much more enjoyable to just take it easy when I go 'long'. The loop was just over 18 miles and I started out relatively conservative, making sure I wasn't working too hard at all and I was still about 20 seconds or so under where I wanted for the first couple miles. The hills I hit in miles 3-5 slowed things down to about where I should have been all along...but on the backside of Page Hill, coming down into center Tamworth I started rolling along. By the time I hit Depot Rd. the route was mostly flat all the way back and I was down pretty much locked into a quicker pace and it felt pretty smooth so I went with it. I hit some pretty serious headwind at the end of Depot Rd. and then awful wind on Rt 41 on the way back and it was a grind to keep the pace where I was. I worked pretty good over the last 4 miles or so and stopped at 18 miles (about .2 from my house) and jogged the rest as a 'warm down'. Not going to do this all the time, but this was the best I've felt on a 'quicker' run all year. Hopefully I can find some similar efforts from time to time this winter, but when I start racing again, I'll start to get more intensity in those efforts on snowshoes.