Earlier this week I definitely felt needless guilt about not braving the cold to run. I even swore off all self inflicted hatred and misery for the sake of running when I want, because I want until legit training starts back up. Then I got a little stir crazy. I wanted to get outside and play in the snow. Heading into the mountains for snowboarding wasn’t in the cards so I opted for frigid, snowy runs.
The hardest part of winter running (for me) is the dark. Its dark when I get up, its dark when I get home from work. Its always dark. Yes, I know the entire internet and social media sphere has already whined about this but its true. I don’t mind the actual dark but it makes trail time a challenge, especially with snow, ice and cold. This weekend I took full advantage of my daylight hours!
My Saturday afternoon was spent frolicking around the fluffy powder on the trails at Mt Falcon. It was kind of an impulse decision to head up and it took me a few tries to talk anyone into running with me but eventually Nick took the bait. When we met at the trailhead the cars were reading 0 degrees but the sun was shining brightly so off we ran. We were trail runners on a mission…or something like that.
I made Nick stop at every overlook – partly so I could breathe, partly for the photo op. Mt Falcon is gorgeous! The snow was perfect, the sun made it glisten and there was no one else around. Running around at Mt Falcon made me understand why I felt guilty for not running earlier in the week. I wasn’t really feeling guilt for missing out on the mileage – I felt like a wimp for not adding layers and sucking it up for the views, silence and beauty of mountains blanketed in snow! It was a rather therapeutic run, if you will.
The majority of my Sunday was extremely lazy. I think the only productive thing I did was make the food I needed to eat…and go for a trail run at Lair O the Bear with Chris. It wasn’t a long run – he is still testing out his ankle – but it was a good, solid run. We ventured further from the city to avoid hard packed snow trails that get slick and LOtB didn’t disappoint.
When we arrived my car read 19 degrees…warmer than Saturday! However, we were in a valley with the sun setting and wind blowing. It definitely felt colder than Mt Falcon even though I was wearing (literally) the same clothes. We spent about 30 minute on the trail. Just enough time to give Chris’s ankle a test run and make my toes go numb. Another snowy trail success!
I’m fairly new to trails in general and while I run all winter and avoid the treadmill I have spent very little time on unmaintained snowy trails. The snow makes things interesting – beautiful, but interesting. This weekend I learned a few things about snowy trails…
– if you need to strengthen stabilizer muscles run in half packed snow
– having ankles that don’t mind a little rolling works to my advantage
– looking like a weeble wabble should be expected
– pick trails with the most sunlight possible
– pay attention to windchill
– stick your cellphone in your sports bra or it’ll shut itself off
– don’t be afraid to layer…everything
I am really glad I wo-manned up and headed out to the trails this weekend. Not only did I get to take in all the scenery and silence I also got a fun little combo of confidence boosting and reality checking. My entire winter training is going to be about running trails. This weekend gave me a little insight on what I’ll love about it – views, snow angels, post-run hot chocolate – and what I’ll need to put a little time into – those stabilizer muscles, traction, better gloves. Bring it on winter…