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Running in the Snow

No, I wasn’t running in the snow this weekend, but I did get out there on Friday and Sunday, which felt very good. I’m planning to go out again tomorrow, hopefully, depending on how crazy my already crazy schedule is.  I’ve found some of the Scars on Broadway album is perfect for running; other tracks just don’t work for me for this purpose, although I like them in general.

Yesterday’s run — through a part of town with a lot of downed branches from a recent thunderstorm — got me thinking about running in the snow.

The first time I ran in the snow was in college, seven or eight years ago.  This was after the storm had already passed, and the snow was 6 inches deep and very slushy.  I don’t think I made it half a mile across campus before my legs gave out.  But I loved the feeling.  It was different and fun.

Since then, whenever I see snow starting to fall, I want to be out there running through it.  Yes, the roads and sidewalks start to get slick, but it’s hard to describe the sense of childhood freedom that rushes through you as the brisk winter air blows past your face and the snow lands on your skin and melts there and your legs burn and burn.  (Usually, by the end of my run, I’ll be soaked to the bone and my eyebrows will be heavy and thick with ice, which looks pretty freaky, I must admit.)

I can’t count the number of times I’ve been out running in the snow since college, but it’s one the reasons I’m trying to get back on track this fall.  If we have a couple of good snow storms this winter, I want to be out there in them.

One other great snow running memory: three years ago, the winter after my wife and I moved into our new house, there was a terrible snow storm that dropped a lot of ice and freezing rain along with the 2+ feet of snow.  It took us six hours to chip our way from our front porch to our car (10 feet total) and another day to finish the sidewalk and actually dig out our car.  It was like chiseling through brick.

Most of neighborhood gave up and decided to just let mother nature do the job, so for the next two weeks, many of the sidewalks were covered in snow and ice.  It was like running through an arctic tundra, and I’m not sure if I ever had more fun than I did with those first few runs before folks gave up and got out there to clear the sidewalks on their own.

The top layer was crunchy so it wasn’t too slick, but it WAS hard on the legs — like running through a rough terrain in the woods, off the trail, only with a lot more “give” under each step.   Every now and then I’d hit a section that had been cleared and that was actually tougher than the snowy sections because each afternoon some of the snow would melt into those gullies and then freeze overnight, creating sheets of ice.

I’m sure a lot of people around town thought I was a freak, but I loved every moment of it.

Anyone else like to run in the snow?

On a totally unrelated note, if you’ve ever wondered how Nike films the runners in their ads, check this out:

  1. afragogrunner
    October 6, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    I always did wonder how they filmed runners for their commercial. I thought they were maybe on a treadmill. Thank you for posting that youtube video.

    From the sound of it I don’t think I love running in the snow as much as you. lol. I see this time of year as a good chance to get strong and build the muscle that it will take to run through the slippery roads in the middle of winter.

    I was wondering since you have experienced running in the snow I was wondering if there was some sort of trick like using vaseline. I think I read something about runners purchase a lot of vaseline and I didn’t really understand why. I thought that maybe it had something to do with using it during the cold winter running weather. Let me know what you think? Maybe you use vaseline for running?

  2. Becoming Brooklyn
    October 14, 2008 at 10:08 am

    I used to live in Ithaca, NY, where if you run, you run in the snow. I got used to it, but those first few runs were fraught with peril.

    Afragogrunner: Runners use vaseline to keep from chafing. I don’t know the specifics because I don’t use it, but I think thighs, underarms ad nipples are popular places. And I imagine it only comes into play on long runs.

    Also, I just ran the Baltimore Marathon (my first) last weekend. It was terrific, beautiful weather, lots of fun people, I did better than my goal time; I highly recommend it. I do feel that I won’t be running at all for about a week, or until I can walk without limping.

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