the art of running in the snow

21 01 2009
Running in the Snow

don't let it stop you

yesterday we got about 3 inches of snow here. it’s not much, compared to what we got in PA.  it was a normal training day, so it gave me the chance to check something off my list:  go for a run in the snow.  let me say this : its obvious where the term a “blanket of snow” came from.  i love the snow.  it’s like nature’s mute button.  there is nothing like going out alone for a run and having the planet turned way down so that all you here is the sound of crunching ice crystals under your treads.  when it’s that quiet, i can hear my breath so clearly that it’s like I can feel it entering my throat, filling my lungs and pushing back out of me even more. 

i suppose running has always been a solitary event to me.  and it’s something i really look forward to doing alone. for years now my days have been spent working with and for people, constantly talking face-to-face, on the phone, sending emails, checking blogs, updating twitter, reading articles, doing research – i often feel overwhelmed by the amount of information exchange going on around me.  not when i run.  lots of people are part of running groups, or have running buddies.  not me, at least not yet.  as i said earlier, running is a lonely undertaking for me, and it’s on purpose.  i think that sometimes we’re scared to be alone, for fear of what our thoughts might reveal to us.  on my runs, things become clearer – they seem to crystalize for me.  so that lonely trek is one i almost always look forward to.

now the first half of the 6-miler was into the snow, and that was interesting – tough to look up without getting an eyeful of snow, so most of it was done head down, eyes on the road in front of me.   once i made the turn to head back though, the wind was at my back and i could really get a good look at the world around me.  it was beautiful, white, and perfect.  other people were out enjoying it by then, and campus was particularly buzzing.  it was definitely cold, so the thermal tights and windblocker came in handy. but a handful of snow was the perfect thirst quencher.  so that’s checked off, but i hope to get to do it again.  and you should too.

today was a different story – 18 degrees when i set out for a 5-miler.  the sun was out, but dude – it was cold.  about half way through i literally couldn’t feel my fingers.  and my face was pretty numb.  the biggest trick was dodging all the ice on the sidewalks.  tons of “refrozen” snow so it required lots of focus.  all-in-all this last week has been a real baptismal in winter running for me – a 18-miler all below freezing, a GREAT run in the snow and and icy obstacle course today.  all proof for me that winter is a special time for runners, a great time to see nature in her splendor and no excuse to stay in.