Last night they were hyping up this winter storm we were having on the local news. I figured the schools would be closed today so I set my alarm an hour later than usual. The extra hour of sleep was fantastic, and I was right. The schools were closed so I wouldn't have been able to swim this morning even if I had gotten up early. Good call.
When I got up, I turned on the news and now they were talking about the Super Storm. Super Storm? What happened while I was asleep? How much snow did we get? I looked outside and saw we only got about 3 inches. This winter, that's par for the course and hardly enough to constitute calling it a Super Storm. I knew we were supposed to get more snow during the day, but I thought the bulk of the snow was supposed to hit last night. How wrong I was.
I had a lunch run planned, and I was determined not to let a little snow stop me from running. I knew it had been snowing all morning, but I didn't notice how much snow had accumulated. I didn't really care. We've had so much snow this winter I figured this snowfall would be no different from the others. Right before heading out for my run, an e-mail went out telling everyone the office is closing at 3 due to the snow. I debated skipping lunch to get some more work done and then running at 3. Heather talked me into running at lunch because she thought that if I ran at 3 I would be the only left in the parking lot when I got back and I would be screwed if I had trouble getting out. Good point. So I suited up and headed out for a 45 minute run in what could now rightfully be called a Super Storm (although I still think that's being a little dramatic, it definitely qualifies as a blizzard....and not of the DQ variety).
Walking across the parking lot to the bike path, I wondered how I was going to run through this stuff. It was about a foot deep with drifts several feet deep. I thought this might be a good day to test out those snow shoes Dean wants me to try. I had to climb through a few very deep drifts to get to the bike path, and I started second guessing my decision to run. Maybe this wasn't a good idea afterall. But at this point I felt committed. I was in my running gear. I couldn't turn back now and admit defeat.
So I hit the start button on my watch and started across the bridge. The snow was pretty deep, and I wondering if the people driving on the beltline below could see me and if they thought I was crazy for running in this stuff. As soon as I got across the bridge, I could see the path had been recently plowed. There was already about 2 inches of snow covering the path, but it was a lot better. I was able to pick up the pace a bit, and I thought I might be in for a really fun run. The last time I ran in a heavy snow storm it was really fun. But I quickly realized this run was going to be a little different.
The snow turned into a mix of snow and freezing rain and the wind was blowing and my face was getting so cold it stung. I considered turning back, but that would be admitting defeat. I convinced myself I was only cold because I hadn't run long enough yet to work up enough body heat. Then it turned into ice pellets. Yes, ice pellets. Trust me on this one, running while getting pelted with ice sucks.
Luckily that didn't last long. It turned into snow again, but now the snow started freezing to my eyelashes. It was building up and I was having a hard time seeing. Plus the ice was building up pretty thick on my eyebrows and it got heavy enough to be a distraction. I tried pulling it off, but it felt like my whole eyebrow would come off with the ice so I left it.
I usually see a few runners on the path, even on the bad days, but today I had the path to myself until the 20 minute mark when I saw someone coming toward me. It was good to see another runner. It gave me motivation. I wasn't the only one fighting the conditions to get a few miles in. Then I realized it wasn't a runner. It was someone cross country skiing on the bike path.
I reached the turnaround point...finally. Since I had been running into a headwind the whole time, I figured the way back would be much better. This clearly wasn't the fun snow run I had hoped it would be. Sure enough, the way back wasn't as cold since I had a tailwind and the chunks of ice on my eyebrows eventually thawed and fell off like icicles dropping from the roof.
Yesterday was the slipperiest run of the winter, until today. Yesterday the path was covered in ice, slush and puddles. Today, all of that froze and was covered in fresh snow. The way out was fine, but the way back is uphill and the snow was accumulating fast. I slipped and almost fell for the first time this winter. Then I started slipping a little with every step. I was losing a lot of traction, and this run was starting to become a lot of work. I could no longer see my footprints from the way out and with the wind blowing the path needed to be plowed again...already. I thought about the spikes runners get for their shoes and how they don't seem so unnecessary anymore.
I kept trudging along and saw another cross country skier using the path. Then I saw a kid in a snowsuit running down the path hit a patch of ice and go down. That confirmed it wasn't just me. It was indeed slippery. Then I saw one last person, on a bike no less. As we crossed paths, he said, "enjoy."
Yes, I thought. Enjoy. My face was no longer cold and the ice on my eyelashes and eyebrows had thawed. I was tired because the snow was getting deep and slippery and making running difficult, but other than that it wasn't that bad. In fact, it was kind of fun. It was like being a kid playing in the snow on a snow day. You know, minus the sled and friends and laughter plus a dose of fatigue and a touch of misery. Good times.
5.12 miles and 45 minutes later, I made it back to work. Now the real challenge began. I had to get in my car, make it down the road to Gino's to pick up lunch and make it back to work. It was a rough drive, especially since my windows fogged up from my body heat and I couldn't see. But I made it. And then Heather told me our boss told us to go home while I was out running. So I ate my lunch, answered a few e-mails and headed home.
The forecast for the rest of the week: more snow. I've had enough. I'm hoping for a long, hot, dry summer. Here are a few pictures of the storm...