Endless Winter

#52toNYCmarathon
Week 15/52 Recap
4.93 – 4.25 Yasso800s – 9.85 LSR

I have to say that this was a tough week. One snow storm after another has blessed central PA with inches upon inches of white fluffy snow. Shoveling out by our mailboxes has seemed non-stop and we just left our car parked and took the bus 3 days in a row this week.

Men's Freestyle Shoveling

Men’s Freestyle Shoveling

Kelly, Pittsburgh buddy from DailyMile, was set to come this weekend and I had been excited to run with her. I kept scoping out running routes all week-long. They had run a snow blower over a nice section of the bike path. It wasn’t cleared to the pavement so I encouraged her to bring her YakTracks or screw shoes. We were set for a long run and more snow hit.

I took to the indoor track for my mid-week runs. It was so snowy and roads outside were so bad that there was never more than 3 of us at the track at any one time. Staggered like starting points on the 6 lanes, dedicated college-aged runners and I took to the track at different times. Our runs overlapped; some of us pushing hard as others cooled down and always one of us at an endless focused pace.

By the time Friday rolled around, Kelly and I both agreed it would be better to run the next time she was in town. This still left me and Jim with the dilemma of where to run our long run. We were scheduled to run about 9 miles and I had been counting on the bike path that had additional snow up to my knees. We took the car out Saturday afternoon to check out Struble and it looked like it might work. The sidewalks weren’t plowed but the road seemed ok. This would mean 3 times up and back the side of Nittany Mountain.

All that night I dreaded the thought of repeating the road crossing of College Ave. I am not a fan of repeating any section because my mind has a way of trying to talk me out of continuing. The morning of our long run, a balmy 12° with a bit of wind, I mapped a level side road that was exactly a mile that we could out and back before continuing the ascent. This would make about 2 circuits and I adjusted where we would put our hydration bottle.Struble

From the very beginning I wanted to quit. Just walking over to the cul-de-sac where we were to start had me trudging through snow drifts up to my waist. Then the first mile was heavily covered with icy patches. I just kept saying, “No way. I can’t do this.” Bless Jim for not saying, “Do you want to quit?” I would have said, “YES!”

Our first crossing of the highway we couldn’t get through the drift to punch the cross walk button but traffic was very light. That is except for the mean driver who honked at us from coming down Gerald St and made me leap into the deep bank of snow. That made the 3rd snow bank I had been in (one to stash our hydration) and we still hadn’t gone a mile.

We pushed about 1/3 of the way up Struble and hung a right onto 1st Ave that lead a mile into Lemont. This was the side leg I chose to allow us less repeating the original route. Oh my. I had assumed that this road would have been plowed, salted and maintained. I was wrong. It was just as icy as our first mile and had occasional church goers forcing us to the rough and uneven icy patches near what would have been the shoulder of the road. By the time we made it back to continue our climb up Struble, we had been running about 3 miles on very dicey footing.9milerStruble

I had chosen to not wear my screw shoes because it was such a long run and I thought a large portion of it would be pounding on asphalt. My screw shoes are always my shoes that have the most mileage and least cushioning. It was a hard choice and I perhaps chose poorly. I am glad to say that I never slipped nor fell but had to hold my body in ways that were not regular and was stressful to keep myself from slipping.

At a view of the valley, we snapped some photos that look just like so many of our other winter runs we have done this year. We made the run back across the highway and repeated the whole route again without incident (except for our hydration top leaking – my bad) but it was a really tough run.

I should say the run itself was without incident. When we got back, stretched, fueled with protein drinks, showered and I logged the route, I found that I had miscalculated the mileage. We had almost ran 10 miles so our pace wasn’t as slow as I had thought. With the added elevation and not cutting part of the first road off, this ends up being a really awesome 10 mile training course… for sometime AFTER the snow melts.

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5 thoughts on “Endless Winter

  1. Nice job! There’s a part of me that is just a little bit relieved that I’m injured and can’t run at the moment, so that I don’t have to run in this weather!

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