Tag Archives: Running in snow

Seriously worried about even finishing Janathon 2013 now…

My after run music (I might even make it a routine to listen to a bit as I cool off if I continue to run late in the afternoon and have an empty site when I return) tonight was a quick bit of The Vapors followed by a singular Blondie, wrapped up by about half an hour of The Ramones. No sedation needed.

My before run day consisted of lots of doubt regarding my battered legs. My right heel/ankle is better. Not as swollen, not too tender, it only played up at all during the day when it got properly cold so worry there is reducing. Which is lucky because my left leg is all over the place. The left knee now has a consistent sharp, stabbing pain directly under the kneecap which makes stairs a trouble as well as occasionally causing a wince as I sit at the computer. The best part of the day for it was setting out the manholes this morning when I set up a drawing area and repeatedly rolled up a trouser and knelt in the snow while checking dimensions (the ones I calculated last night). It remained painful but was, worryingly, joined increasingly over the course of the day by a sharp pain in the left calf right at the top where it disappears into the soft bit behing the knee. Stretching, massage – neither of these has any effect.

Starting the run I doubted I’d get a mile. At half a mile I was happy I’d at least got in a Janathon run. The cold water running down the lane again caused calf discomfort and immediately soaked through my trainers but at least everything else felt warmer and less painful. Plodding on I tried a new route, enjoyed leaping around instead of simply running true as I dodged icy patches and slush puddles (as all lanes, my ones are massively potholed, cambered and in a disgraceful state) and amazed myself to see 1.5 miles on the Garmin before I’d had another chance to check how bad I felt.

And as usual once warmed, I felt better. So I carried on out to my usual turnaround point, did a far-away loop (to increase the mileage a bit), ran for home and then did a little loop again when I was right by the car so I could collapse and at least get home rapidly.

It wasn’t needed.

What has now gone wrong, though, is that my knee pain (front and rear) has been beaten into second place by serious hurt right across the top of my right foot. As though I’ve dropped something onto it. But because it’s just bones, there doesn’t seem anything I can do to relieve the pain. I’m trying a stretchy bandage which has provided immediate relief so hopefully it’ll be better come the morning.

Fingers crossed or I might not yet make last year’s total…nah, come off it, last year I totalled 156 miles. I’ve got 150 now. I’ll just get out each day no matter how rotten things turn and do it. 186 might be beyond me if things don’t improve, though. It feels at last (I have, after all, been expecting things to go wrong!) as though proper risk of injury is on the horizon and I simply don’t want to be limping around. As soon as the snow’s gone and Janathon is over, I’ve got mountainbiking to improve and windows to finish as well as speed to recover.

What will the morning bring? Fingers crossed it’s not more pain.

Well that didn’t last! Janathon through a rivulet.

Apart from needing an ice axe to break my way into the car this morning and needing twenty minutes to clear the ice from the windows (thank god there aren’t many), the route to work was painless enough. The journey I did on Saturday was obviously enough to melt the first layer of snow which fell after I returned home, producing the icy layer. It meant I couldn’t be bothered to clear the snow off the roof or rear window, limiting myself to the lights and windows I needed. Lack of early traffic meant that the blizzard that trailed behind me didn’t bother anyone – the best bit (as I found on Saturday) is that it all settles down until the nifty little rear spoiler lifts above 54mph when the change to aerodynamics creates a fresh blizzard twice as bad as any before. The only time proof of body-shape can be demonstrated, I guess. Odd how such things make me smile.

Still, once at work things were a touch tricky. An hour spent gritting the car park and access route to site warmed me right up. Maybe I should have used the Garmin to reduce the running need later in the day. Which, despite the sun not making an appearance, saw the temperature rise to the giddy heights of 2 degrees C. Along with the bit of grit they’d laid down on the Hawkinge to Etchinghill road, I knew where my run would take me.

As I set off after lunch, I soon realised there was a clear road but that was all. No passing places and all the banks were vertical snow walls; every car I saw was going to need a climb to avoid it and let it pass.

Which doesn’t hide the fact that it was my most boring, painful run yet.

The water from the thaw made the road a cold (spray up the back of the legs) affair and it took 1.5 miles before any shock-absorbing capacity returned to my limbs. Before this it felt as though I was trying to stab the road with my bones and joints. The flood at the bottom of the hill at a mile, soaking right through to my ankles didn’t help. The worst bit was the route, though. The side routes that I usually loop out onto were ice-covered threads. I didn’t want to wear my trail shoes from the office, knowing it’d be the best part of a mile before I came to a bit needing them and I don’t want to unnecessarily wear out the aggressive tread on tarmac. So the main route it was. But it runs into a main road at way less than half distance. So today, Matthew, I ran out from site. Turned around and headed back home. Stopped before I got there. Turned back and headed back to the furthest point. Then turned again and ran for home.

The most soul destroying thing; far more demoralising than lapping a track or a field. The same road, between snow laden hedges, wary of cars needing to pass, on knackered wet, cold legs, heading for home but knowing there’s a need to go back before getting there.

I guess it could be said to be good for the soul. Not by me, though. I hope it thaws enough for a decent route tomorrow. If not, the sea-front will come into use again, I’m afraid.

10 runs to go and I can rest. Suddenly it doesn’t seem half soon enough. On the other hand, in a mere 29 miles I’ll have equalled last year’s total. Maybe I’ll shorten my target to 3 a day from here and give myself something to aim to beat next year…

Snow, Janathon and the wonders of trail shoes

Going to bed last night with the words “it’d better not be snowing in the morning” and getting up with the words “it’s snowing” lead to a combined chorus of protest at the weather between JogBlog and I. Hers because she likes to be warm. Mine because I like to be able to do things without a never ending struggle. Much as I accept that I’m on the planet to loathe my life and have to do everything properly (each and every sodding time I take a shortcut I get caught out. I only attempt one about every three years now just to keep my hand in but I might as well not bother. It’s partly why everything I do takes so long. Among other things I’ll be second guessing where I’m going to be caught out and receive a boot up the arse), sometimes it’d be nice if at least the planet wasn’t against me.

So I quickly decided that I’d sort out my money queries, drink coffee, swap JB’s travelling to school bike tyres for winter knobbles as opposed to the slicks normally on there, then go for my run early just in case things continued in a white direction.

And my choice of route was my favourite Gill Lane but as an out and back instead of the loop. Deciding on trail shoes I didn’t want the more main road with no snow cover, I was hoping for snow all the way.

And I got it. I plodded around the off-road path which is normally a mud bath through the winter but was properly frozen today which was a welcome break to the road that leads to interesting things. The road from there was ace. Not a patch of grit as yesterday but where it was clear then (apart from the icy patches I slipped around on), it must have frozen heavily overnight for this morning it was white. Car tracks had compressed most of it, leaving options for grippier fresh bits (about an inch thick on top of compressed base) or slippier driven-on portions.

In the Adidas Kanadia Trail 4’s I was wearing, to be honest, it didn’t matter a jot. They were an inspiration. Not a slip or slide, not a bit of movement in the shoe, not a hint of anything but satisfaction that I could run exactly as and where I wanted. It’s a funny feeling being on snow and ice but knowing you won’t fall over. They’re like my mountain walking boots only 50% grippier – simply incredible. And with the snow falling heavily but in small flakes, the depth wasn’t increasing enough to make my feet wet or cover the tracks I was making before my return journey, as I was soon to find out.

Literally re-tracing your own footsteps is intriguing. Odder still is that my strides were slightly longer on the return journey. Same pace but easier pacing. A lovely trick to try to remember when I’m tiring.

Getting home revealed that it was also the quickest run of Janathon for me. No intention to do so but I guess the shoes are more responsive than my usual trainers. I’ll not be chasing the pace tomorrow because my achilles on the right leg is tighter than a drum now but it’s nice to know the shoes aren’t slow when I return to proper trail running when things dry out a bit.

A small cycle after lunch eased aching muscles, tomorrow can’t come soon enough.

Except I’ll be at work.