We need the tonic of wildness, to wade sometimes in marshes where the bittern and the meadow-hen lurk, and hear the booming of the snipe; to smell the whispering sedge where only some wilder and more solitary fowl builds her nest, and the mink crawls with its belly close to the ground.
– Henry David Thoreau, Walden
I’ve had Thoreau in my head lately. So with him as my inspiration, I decided to change things up for yesterday’s run. The sun was bright and there was a fairly fresh coat of snow on the ground. It was so pretty out, I needed to get out of the house. It’s been one bad-weather day after another here and I’m experiencing a bit of cabin fever. Unfortunately, the roads weren’t all the way cleared and the sidewalks were a little icy, so I decided to try the trails. It was a good call.
I frequently trail run in the warmer months, but this is the first time I’ve been on them in the snow. I chose the trail I did because it’s a scenic, hilly 1 mile loop. So if anything happens I’m not too far from the car, but I still get the feeling of being far, far away from civilization. The first loop I did a slow run/walk just to get a feel for the terrain, enjoy the view, and snap some photos.
I tried out my new Buff. It worked well. I felt like a ninja, but it was comfortable, it stayed in place, and it kept the cold air from invading my lungs. My glasses kept fogging up, but if it means I can breath, I’ll deal with it.
I definitely overdressed. I put on what I normally wear in this weather, but I didn’t take into consideration that all the trees provided a natural wind barrier. I normally run through town, or on a country road where I’m flanked by corn fields which offer little protection from the elements. Running through the forest was much warmer. I was glad I chose this trail, because I ended up stopping at the car to peel off a layer after the first loop. All I could think of was my son quoting Survivorman. Survivorman used to be one of his favorite shows and he’s very concerned about winter safety now. For the last few minutes before I got back to my car, the only thing that was going through my head was, “Mom, if you sweat, you die.” It made me giggle.
Running through a few inches of snow was slow going. My legs, my abs, even my arms feel it more than usual today. Despite the extra nagging in my tired muscles, it was a fun run. I only ended up doing 3 loops before I needed to move on to the next item on my to-do list. I only actually ran about 2.25 of the 3 miles I traveled yesterday. I felt like I could have gone longer, but that was all the free-time I had. Of course I would have had more free-time if I hadn’t spent a good 20 minutes debating with myself about whether or not to go for a run.
My pace yesterday was pretty slow. There were a few slick downhills and a few spots where the creek had flooded and then froze over. I slowed down for those spots. I didn’t want to start the new year off with an injury. Stopping to enjoy the view a few times, snapping a ton of photos on the first loop, and stopping at the car once didn’t help my time any either. But this run/explore wasn’t about pace or mileage, it was about getting out of the house and finding motivation again. In that I succeeded.
If I decide to keep blazing trails through the snow, I definitely need to invest in a pair of gaiters. A few more loops and my feet would have been pretty wet and eventually pretty cold.
Soon after I got home another snow band came down off the lake. That means there will be new snow. Maybe I can blaze a new trail somewhere else….
Where is your favorite place to run in the winter? Do you ever go off the beaten path?