Monday, December 21, 2009

There's no running like snow running

There are many, many things I love about the snow. I love how everybody wants to go out and play. I love seeing kids out having fun. I love being able to fall down and not get hurt. And how neighbors help each other out. Everyone's a kid, everyone's your friend. The list of positives go on – there are many, many things I love about the snow.
Turns out, I also love running in the snow.
This is still pretty new to me, but not surprising. During my many years of playing ultimate, I loved playing ultimate in the snow. (Trick: use a disc that isn't white).

For those that don't know, the snow hit Philly hard this weekend. It started coming down Friday night, and snowed pretty much all day on Saturday. When we shoveled out on Sunday morning, it seemed like at least 18 inches had fallen. The weather people said 23 inches. Ok.

Our first run, though, was early on in the storm. We headed out for our normal Saturday run. It was Bob R and Pete, along with Helen and I. Bob had planned the second try at his Valley Green Trail Marathon, kind of an expanded version of the 4 corners, that goes all the way over to the Belmont Plateau. For Bob, that's just the normal Saturday stroll, but it was too much for me. We managed to get him down to *just* doing the four corners. Helen and Pete and I kept him company for the souithern half. For us, it wound up around 12 miles. These weren't easy miles!
The main thing that struck me about the run was how I was seeing things that I'd never noticed. With the ground white and the leaves off the trees, buildings seemed even clearer. Lincoln Drive can be kind of annoying to see, but this time we just saw the few cars, going along at 15mph.

This run was the coldest run, because it was still snowing. It turned out to be a good day to not have a beard, as Pete found out.

On Sunday, friend and family commitments kept us from getting back out to run (although shoveling was plenty of exercise). So Monday morning bright and early we hit the roads, for a five mile or so jaunt through C-Hill, including a mile on Forbidden Drive. It was great being out that early. There were cars on the road (more than I'd expected, actually), but the side roads of C-Hill were pretty empty. When we got to Forbidden, we were the only ones there. Coming up out of the valley, the sun was just starting to come up.

I couldn't wait for a chance to get back out this afternoon, so this afternoon, with Helen still at work, I headed out on my own to see what the trails were like. They were fun! Difficult, but fun. On Saturday morning, there was little enough snow that it still mattered what was under it; in some places, you could tell that you were running over frozen bike paths made in the mud, or difficult rocks that you couldn't see. Today, there was enough snow that it didn't matter what was underneath. That said, climbing today was hard. Doable, but hard.

Oh – doable in part because of my latest December gift from Helen – Yax Trax! One usage thus far, and they worked great. It's usable on the road, but once I was on the snow I didn't pay any attention to them - I just ran normally. Even on ice I felt ok, although I was still cautious.

I'm hoping to get Helen out on the trails tomorrow morning. It's not easy, but it is a lot of fun.

No comments: