My First Real Run in Snow

20170211_114401Today was my first time truly running in fresh, messy snow. Our official DFMC Group Run was canceled because the route in Waltham and Lincoln is hilly and curvy with no sidewalks. So a bunch of us met at BC at 8:30am to run the carriageway (the side road that runs along the main road/actual Marathon course) of the Newton Hills. Because BC is 1.4 miles from my apartment, I ran there.

First, I had to put Target bags over my shoes because my neighborhood wasn’t shoveled yet, and I didn’t want my feet to be soaked before I even started running. I also wore my reflective vest because there were 3 inches of fresh snow, and people have been driving like jerks lately. I threw the bags into the trash as soon as I got onto the main road, but I splashed in some slush pretty soon after. Once I crossed Chestnut Hill Ave, I started to regret running there and not just taking the T or an Uber. The sidewalks were a mess. Then, I saw a plow coming toward me. It was on the main road and I was on the sidewalk, but I could see that it was sending huge plumes of dirty snow onto the sidewalk up ahead. I waved my arms over my head like a fool – realizing there was NOWHERE for me to go to avoid getting covered in the dirty snow from the plow. Thankfully, they noticed me, and slowed down to let me pass before they picked back up again. Crisis averted.

BC did a terrible job with their sidewalks and clearly the new snow was just making it worse. I was running but barely – I was trying not to slip and fall but almost did several times. I was flailing around a lot.

When I got to campus, I had about another quarter-mile to go before I got to the building where we were meeting. Fortunately, it was warm inside with bathrooms and water fountains. I started to wonder if I was overdressed – I had gone to TJ Maxx yesterday and bought a $113 Under Armour hybrid jacket (part fleece, part windbreaker) on clearance for $40. I was SO cold on last weekend’s run that I knew I was either going to need additional layers or something warmer. So I wore a sports bra, tank top, long-sleeved base layer, then the jacket. On the bottom I wore compression shorts, compression shin/calf sleeves, and running tights. So after the first 1.4 miles, I was sweating but I think half of that was the stress of running in several inches of snow and worrying I’d be too soaked to continue. I was actually cold a few times during the run, but mostly comfortable, albeit soaking wet from sweat.

Just before the Johnny Kelley statue. This stretch was actually much better than most of the route.

We headed out and went 4 miles down the course (the reverse direction) – down the Newton Hills. Our amazing volunteer Sandy drove down from New Hampshire even though today was supposed to be an “unofficial” and “unsupported” run, and had water, Gatorade and snacks at her Valentine’s Day-themed table. She was around Mile 3 (Mile 4.5 for me), so when we turned around at the Newton Firehouse, she was only a mile away for a second stop. I actually had to go into the Newton Firehouse – my bladder was unruly this morning – and I’m so grateful they let us use their bathroom. Jess was kind and waited for me, and we decided to do run/walk intervals for the uphill, although we did miss several walk cues on her Garmin. Heartbreak Hill beat us this time (meaning we had to walk most of it) but we’ll be back!

Once we were at the 8-mile mark (my 9.5), Jess turned around to head back down the hills for another 4 miles, and I kept going straight to run back to my apartment. At some point, I must’ve hit the “lap” button on my Garmin because it told me I was at Mile 11 just as I rolled my ankle in front of the Brighton Firehouse on Chestnut Hill Ave. Fortunately, I was able to catch myself before I did any real damage, but when I checked my watch a few minutes later I realized I was only at Mile 11.05. What the heck?! So I did two loops around my neighborhood – in the middle of the road because most sidewalks were still unshoveled – and finally finished my 12-mile run.

I was spent. My whole body hurt. Running in slush was hard, but running on actual half-packed snow was the hardest thing I think I’ve ever physically done. My feet were soaked and finally cold, but when I got into my apartment, Rags clearly needed to go outside so I threw on my parka and took him for a walk.

It’s now 2:30 in the afternoon. I’ve had a hot epsom salt bath followed by a hot shower, a glass of chocolate milk, half a bottle of Gatorade, two cups of coffee, two cheeseburger sliders and two fried chicken sliders, French fries, and am now on my second beer. Sleep is close. I still need to shovel out my car from the snow overnight, and there could be more coming Sunday into Monday.

Rags looks how I feel – spent.



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