After waiting 11 days, my formerly frost nipped toes were finally healed enough that running sounded fun again. The trouble was that the ground was now a layer of snow covered ice in most places. I decided to attempt the Wilson Springs .936 mile loop in my trusty RunAMocs. I didn’t want to be on the roads with cars sliding around, or try to running in the roadside mush or dirty ice formations.
Before I dressed for the run, I stepped outside to test the wind. The temperature was 30 degrees Fahrenheit with a wind chill factor of 14 degrees. I needed to know what this felt like. I decided to add my gator and running jacket to the standard cold weather attire of insulated running pants and long sleeve shirt with ear warmer and gloves. I would wear sunglasses to keep my eyeballs blocked from the sub-freezing air.
I set a goal of about two miles. This would wake up my legs, but help keep me from overdoing it. I put Kiwi on her leash, hoping she would not accidentally ice skate me off my feet. She has been taking a break, too, but hasn’t been bothered by the snow in the yard.
After the 5 minute drive to the path, I took off my heavy winter coat in the car and activated my Garmin watch. Amazingly, there was a couple at the ponds fishing – with their large boxer bulldog (that’s a breed, right?). His leash was long, but he was on it. He looked strong enough to pull his owner several yards, so I would be passing that section on super alert!
I set off running. My feet were completely comfortable inside the RunAMocs with wool socks, but I was having trouble with the rest of my body. For the first mile, I couldn’t relax my running form at all. Every muscle was reacting to the cold and wind. It felt like the cells were all trying to climb tightly together. Despite that, it was fun! Exhilarating, even. I was enjoying the fresh air and motion. There were numerous deep waffle prints in the snow, but I never saw anyone else around the loop. After I had gone around once, I tried to spot my footprints, but they were not as noticeable as other people’s. The narrow ridges on my thin Vibram soles gave me good traction, but I was apparently leaving little record of my presence.
I had observed that my feet slipped slightly with 85-90% of my steps. I didn’t feel unbalanced or at risk, but near the end of mile two, my legs were getting a bit tight. However, it still all felt so good, that I decided to let myself run one more mile. The last half of that, my legs were threatening to petrify me into a runner’s memorial. I finished at 3.2 miles (due to one turn around to avoid the bull dog for the last loop), then smiled with satisfaction as I walked to the car. When I walked, my legs felt normal and cooperative.
It has only been a few hours since the run now. I am noticing muscles in my legs and thighs in a way that makes me think I could draw anatomically correct representations of them. Hmmm. It seems that neither my recently increased mileage nor energetic dancing nor trail runs work the muscles like running on ice. Tomorrow, I will probably be glad that I stopped when I did!