Another week of icy running

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I had hoped that the weather would warm up and the snow that has blanketed my running paths would be gone by Wednesday. My good running buddy (RB) that I ran with most of last winter said she would run with me if the trails were clear, but alas it wasn't meant to be: The snow did melt somewhat, then froze again, leaving the trails worse than ever. RB contacted me midday and said it was too slippery for her, maybe next week.

After work I headed out anyway, the streets heading out of town were even worse than I expected, and the logging trail leading into the woodline not much better. I switched to single-trails through the forest, which were still covered with snow and could at least run on these.

Last Thursday it snowed again, blanketing the icy streets and trails with a new layer of tread that made running much easier. I met friends Bernd, Uli and Birgit at the local research center and we ran two 6.6 km loops around the lighted compound. For the most part the ice and snow covered asphalt service road was runnable, albeit at a reduced pace.

It warmed up again on Saturday morning and as I drove to my running club trailhead to meet friends in the afternoon I hoped the trails would be free. My hopes were dashed as I slid into the parking lot with my car, you could barely walk across the frozen surface. As I waited for Birgit and Gerd I went for a test run, the trails were really icy, it was only possible to run on the edge where a bit of snow remained.

We headed out slowly on our first 11 km (8.7 mi.) loop, it was treacherous, but we kept the pace down and hugged the snow on the side of the trails. Somehow we made it through the loop without any major mishaps, Gerd took a plunge while navigating one corner, but only damaged his pride. Upon returning to the trailhead Gerd headed home and Birgit and I joined the smaller-than-normal group of runners from our club for a second loop.

The faster runners soon left us behind, as we did the slower group behind us. We gingerly made our way over the forest trails again, slowly feeling the effects of our slipping and sliding around, the quads paid a price this day. As we neared the end of the second round I mentioned to Brigit that I still needed a couple miles, so I headed out for another short loop. I found a single path that was in slightly better condition and was able to speed up a bit, but as I made my way back to the trailhead everyone was gone - except for Birgit and our club leader Gisela who had waited to make sure I come back safely.

I ended up meeting my goal of 26 km (16 mi.) on Saturday, only at a bit slower pace than I would have liked - but okay considering the trail conditions. On Sunday I woke to more snow, I was curious if I would be able to complete my planned 22 km (14 mi.) run after church. I cleared the sidewalk in front of the house, showered and walked over to church (almost across the street). As I came out of church it was still snowing, I decided it was too dangerous to drive to Weingarten and run my hilly route. I suited up and headed into the woods on the other side of town.

The logging trail through the forest was covered with 4-6 inches of fresh snow, but on top of a layer of ice. I took the single trails that I ran last Wednesday, they were still untouched by walkers, sleds and cross-country skis. It was snowing heavily, the snow clinging to my eyelids and clothes, it reminded me of my youth growing up in upstate New York. I let these memories carry me over the miles, as I plodded my way through the fresh snow past the local research center. I circled over to my running club trails, but stayed on a parallel single-track trail through the woods - it was easier to run. The snow ceased after an hour or so, and eventually the sun found its way out from behind the clouds.

As I headed over the open field paths towards home the sun was shining brightly, only the wind reminded me to hurry along the way. I arrived with tired legs back at the house and cooled down by sweeping the remaining snow from the sidewalk. Time for a warm shower and some hot food, have a great week!

2 Comments

A run that reminds you of growing up and home is always a good thing. Sounds like things are progressing nicely for you.

Running in the cold has it's pluses and minuses. Might I ask you how your body can endure such high mileage without injury? I need to know your secret!

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This page contains a single entry by Jack published on February 2, 2010 7:44 AM.

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