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Running in the Snow

October 6, 2008 2 comments

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:

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