Monday, February 28, 2005

The Run from Artic Hell

I woke up today to 7 inches of new snow, so did about an hour of cross-training (read shoveling snow). The snow was light and powdery, easy to shovel, easy to drift. I decided to wait until the afternoon to run, the sun was shining so I figured the snow would melt down a bit. But NOOO mother nature had other plans, the temperature remained below freezing, the wind picked up and drifts started doing their thing.

Anyway about 14:00 (2 p.m. for you non-veteran types), I geared up and hit the trail. The first 2-3K’s weren’t too bad, I clung to the road as much as possible. But then phase one of the run from hell reared its ugly head as I had to run along a 2K path between two fields. I think I would have had better luck running across the fields, because my path (or where I think the path was) was filled with 8+ inches of snow and drifts up to 2 feet deep. Normally when it is so cold the snow freezes a bit and it’s not too bad - but not todayyy - NOOO the snow was soft, I spun, I slipped, the wind beat me into a pulp, I froze - I wondered why the hell I was out there anyway. By then I had reached the edge of the woods - it was somewhat better for about 10 minutes as I the trail followed the border of the trees. The wind was coming from the other side of the forest, so the snow hadn’t piled up so bad – it was only about 6-8 inches deep. But then as the path wound into the forest I ran into phase two of this hellish run. It seems a couple farmers thought it would be super cool to pull the neighborhood kids on theirs sleds through the woods, great idea, right? That’s what you think - my running trail was filled with clumps of snow, drift-filled ruts, ice and hardly a flat surface anywhere. I had to fight my way through this mess for almost 40 minutes, finally popping out of the woods on a drift-filled trail, this time full in the wind. Man, talk about de-motivation plus. I passed a couple tromping through the snow, he was taking pictures, she had the video camera – did I tell you we normally don’t get so much snow? Anyway they were documenting it. I couldn’t help but wonder if they got a shot of the insane runner who was fighting snow drifts, wind and sub-freezing temperatures – RUNNIN G mind you, on a day when most people stayed home and snuggled up with a cup of hot chocolate. Anyway I finally made it home, happy to have the run from hell over with, feeling more like I ran 20K, than 12. My better-half must have seen me coming, she opened the door, kind of shook her head probably wondering why she married such an insane-crazy-person, and broke a couple icicles off my hat (really!). By this time the sun was hiding - I guess it was too cold - my better-half said something about 27°F and dropping.

But you know what, after a hot bath, a hot chocolate and a hot meal I felt pretty good. I mean in the old days I would have sat and watched TV, drank hot chocolate, ate every thing out of the fridge, slept, ate and generally put on a couple pounds. Today I did something for the old bod, and feel pretty good about it too - I only hope it warms up a bit before my half-marathon in two weeks! AUgh!

I have had to pretty much quit my trails in the last couple of months because either the snow is too deep or the terrain is too rutted from footprints and snowmobile tracks that have frozen. The mud of spring will be a welcome change.

But you are right, good for you for getting out there and embracing the elements rather than avoiding them :)
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