Character Building Frigid Winter Runs

Contributed By Amanda Loudin, Author of Miss Zippy

Thankful for YakTrax
Blogging? What is that? After a week off, I am rusty! But it’s been a good break–no blogging, no commenting on blogs, and very little interaction on my other platforms. I think in three years of writing this site, that’s the longest I’ve ever gone. But I’m back, batteries recharged and ready to dig into 2013.
We spent part of our holiday break in the Cleveland area, visiting family. I grew up there, so I know a thing or two about snow. But I’ve lived my entire adult life, which includes my entire running life, on the East Coast, where snow isn’t quite as plentiful. I guess you could say I’ve become a weather wimp–and Saturday’s long run was no day for a wimp!
We arrived in Ohio on Thursday, the day after they received a good, heavy dose of snow. Friday I took a spin class at the local rec center, but Saturday, I knew I wanted to get in 12 to 14 miles. I thankfully brought along yak trax, ’cause they were necessary! When I stepped outside into the cold, dark morning, it was clear there was new snow on the ground and more was coming. My parents live about two miles away from the local metro parks pathways, so I barely made forward progress ran that direction. Once I got to the paths, the going wasn’t terrible, because the parks system had cleared them a few days back. But still…

Never been happier to finish a run!
Running in heavy snow is tiring, people! And being pelted with it the entire run is no fun either. It seemed like the longest, loneliest run ever. I didn’t see any other runners (do Cleveland runners stay on treadmills all winter?) and only a couple of dog walkers here or there. To top it off, I had no water with me (dummy didn’t think ahead) and to sum it all up–it was an exhausting run! The final two miles, where I was forced onto the quite often un-shoveled sidewalks into shin-deep snow, were like trudging through quicksand. I was very happy to be done.
Every time I thought of quitting or turning around, though, I kept reminding myself that it wouldn’t kill me, and it might even make me stronger. Ok, maybe not. Maybe I was cursing under my breath the entire time and wishing I could magically transport back to Maryland and dry roads with friends. Maybe, because this is a PG-rated blog, I’m going to call this one a character builder, instead of what I’d like to call it.
Anyhow, hats off to all you who train in those conditions on a regular basis! I’m glad it’s behind me. Twelve miles was enough in that weather. Next week, I’ll jump to 14. Because I might just have a spring marathon to train for…more on that later!  

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