12+ Miles in a Winter Wonderland = Awesome!

You know how when you wake up in the morning after/during a snowstorm, everything is strangely quiet and still? Well, that is how it felt this morning at 7AM when I woke up. I got out of the bed to check outside and "Wow!" We had snow overnight, and it was still snowing albeit lightly. How cool!

Then I remembered about telling Mike and Meghan how I really wanted to run in the snow sometime, to see how that felt and experience the spectacle of a pristine snowy landscape in a unique way as I ran along. Well, I guess you better be careful what you wish for! I sent Mike a text message asking "So what is our plan? Still 8:30am run or wait until the afternoon or Sunday?" His response was predictably, "I'm game for today! It would be fun to run in the snow!" So I got up, texted about what would be best to wear, and then headed to our usual path. This was going to be awesome (if I didn't freeze, slip and fall, or otherwise fail to finish).

Hi Ma! Look at me on the snowpath at 27 degree weather! I'm a looney runner!By 8:36am, we were running! But first, I had to have a picture taken of me on the path to document me running in the snow. This was just too cool not to document for my personal journal.

I decided to wear a long-sleeved tech shirt underneath a 1/4 zip fleece pullover, a vest over that, CW-X compression pants underneath a pair of Nike running pants, SmartWool socks, plus gloves and a running skullcap. I was pretty comfy once we got started but I think when I run the Polar Dash in January, I might ditch the skullcap for just a regular hat. BTW: I liked the new Brooks vest!

As this was going to be my last training run before the race, I made it one more 'fueling' test run. I want to make sure that I will have the energy I need to finish strong, staying hydrated. Today I took Chocolate Outrage at Miles 5 and 10, along with water. I also ate my standard pre-race breakfast about 1/2 hour before the run. Everything worked out great. So this will be my plan for Disney, with the addition of taking an Endurolyte tablet around Mile 7 just to make sure I am covered for electrolytes (I tend to sweat a lot).

We started off at a decent 10:00/mm pace for the first 3.8 miles. Then we settled into our usual 11:00/mm pace for the Long Run. There was about 3 inches of snowfall so the footing wasn't too slippery (except on the bridges) and we weren't having any troubles. Of course, I managed to step off the side of the path twice during the run, almost rolling my ankle, but luckily I recovered quickly with no injury. Running on snow is like running a trail race, because your feet, ankles, and calves are constantly having to make adjustments to compensate for the changes in the running surface. It actually makes your muscles work harder.

We ran into a lot of other runners on the path, some from our Run Club and others we didn't know. As we approached Mile 5, the snow started to look fresh so we knew had gotten to a distance most others hadn't yet reached (I kinda liked that thought). Mike and I made it to Rt 72, 6 miles into our run, and started our way back the way we came. A couple of women asked about the condition of the path and how far we had come. They were impressed when we told them we started from Rt 31 (6.2 miles north).

On our way back, we kept the pace between 10:45 - 11:30 as we continued to talk about Disney, the Everest 5K in May, and lots of other topics. We both are hoping that Disney announces a new race on December 21st. I am trying to decide if I can do the Everest Challenge, but if RunDisney announces a new race I might want to run that one instead. Mike is already committed to the Everest. Decisions, decisions! LOL

By now the snow had pretty much stopped and it seemed like the weather was slightly warmer than before. We cruised on up the path. I was beginning to feel some tightness in my right hip, and some twinges in my left knee, but nothing really painful so I just kept moving. When we crossed the bridge over the Fox River, we knew we were almost done! I was happy to see the marker at Rt. 31!

And we were done! We walked the 1/3 mile to our cars. I had to boogie outta there to pick up my wife and son to take them to a church Christmas Pageant rehearsal and then pick up my daughter from the train station. So I wasn't really able to do any stretching for about an hour afterwards! Being in the car left my legs and knees pretty tight when I finally got home to rest. I really love my foam roller! It hurt so good! As I write this, the knees are still a little sore but nothing a little ice can't handle.

So 12.90 miles covered, 2214 calories burned, in 2:40 hours of foot time for today. A pretty good run I think! Tomorrow is a rest day, and the beginning of Taper time! By the end of December, I will have run 62 miles this month and just under 520 miles for the year! Not too shabby for a guy who didn't even own a pair of running shoes until late March.

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