Saturday, February 23, 2013
My current training plan called for a 13 mile run this morning. Having recently survived a 12 mile run on the treadmill and not enjoying the experience all that much, I was determined to do this one outside. At 23F, the temperature was reasonable. The wind chill brought it down to 17F, still not bad. I know how to dress for that.
Having just been blessed with a few inches of snow the day before, running on the sidewalks was not an option, as many people out here in the 'burbs fail to clear their walks. And though the streets were clear, I decided to do this run in the local forest preserve on the bike/running path. Last year I had discovered that the path is usually cleared after a snow, and given that the path is about a 12 mile circuit, and most of it is protected from the wind by the trees, it seemed like a good place to do my 13 miles.
As you have probably already guessed from the title of this blog, the path had NOT been cleared. It was covered with at least 2 inches of soft snow. But, I was already here, I was dressed for the cold, and from the footprints left behind by others, I was not the only idiot out here. I had my water bottle, I had my nutrition bars, the garmin was turned on, I had to give it a try.
It wasn't so bad. At first. After all, I wasn't out for a speed run. This was my long slow run. And it was SLOW. Soft snow doesn't give a lot of grip. With every step, I tended to slip a little, so I needed to adjust my stride to compensate. And because I was striding differently, I was stressing my muscles differently. I soon discovered that it was easier and safer to make my own path through undisturbed snow rather than using someone else's footprints. Although the slipping was more pronounced in fresh snow, the landing surface was smoother so my feet were not twisting as much.
So the first few miles were slow but comfortable, but I also knew I was working harder. After 5 miles, I was working a LOT harder. It was time for some water and an energy bar. Well, the water was fine, but my energy bars were so solid from the cold, I couldn't even bite off a piece. Oh well, it's a good thing I ate that entire bag of licorice jelly beans the night before, at least I've got carbs stored up. Let's keep on truckin'.
It took another 4 miles to convince me that this had not been a good idea at all. That treadmill, that had previously seemed like a torture device was now turning into a pleasant memory and I was wishing oh so much that I had chosen it this morning instead of this miserable, cold, disgusting snow covered path. I was NOT a happy camper.
I had covered just over 11 miles when I got back to the area where I had parked my car. I was DONE!! Those last 2 miles were not going to happen TODAY. I probably did those 2 miles anyway just from slipping with every footstep. I was never so happy to just SIT DOWN.
The crazy thing is, I'm glad I did it. I got my run in. As miserable as it was, in some strange way, it was still good.