Yesterday, I planned on running 20 miles (my square 4 mile route in 5 laps), even with the cold and wind. I’ve done it the past two years to train for the WDW Marathon and only once have I come in early (last year during an ice storm) and finished on the elliptical inside. Now, I’ve done it twice. It was not the cold and wind, but the snow, drifts, and lack of snow removal early on Saturday morning. We didn’t have a foot of snow or anything like that, but we had enough snow starting Friday night that by the time I went out at 7:00 am, the snow was about 3-5 inches, unless I ran into a drift-then the snow was part way up my calf. Naturally, the sidewalk that drifts the worst is next to the busiest road I run on during any of my training routes. The snow drifts here because this stretch of road has agricultural test fields for the University of Minnesota alongside it, so for half a mile, I have the same conditions as running in the country. It’s always a windy place and generally not my favorite part of my routes.
During my first lap I ran through a few drifts, before I jumped to the side of the road to run. The traffic wasn’t bad yet, so I was fine, but I knew I’d have four more laps of drifting snow during this mile stretch. As I made the next turn on my square, the sidewalk was in decent condition, so I was okay, but then I made the last turn to go back towards home and I was faced with crappy sidewalks again. I made it through the first lap about 4 minutes slower than I planned, but felt that I knew what the conditions would be for the other four laps, so I would be fine.
The second lap, which I did in reverse, broke down almost immediately. Now the snow plows were out in full force. This is great for drivers, but the snow’s got to go somewhere, right? Where does it go? On the sidewalk, of course, so now I have about 6 inches of snow to trot through. Unless the wind gets it and starts drifting, which my busy section of road did. The second lap I ran in the road, but had to be very conscious of where the cars were and hope that they saw this large, bundled person lumbering down the road towards them. During this lap, I starting thinking about finishing inside. I don’t like to split the workout like that, but sometimes you have to doing this kind of thing. I got through the second lap and started the third, again reversing myself so I was headed in the same direction as the first lap. The busy road drifts were worse, bad enough that I was not on the side of the road any longer, but at the edge of the right lane. Luckily, traffic was not bad for the time I was on the road, but I decided that I would finish this lap and head inside.
I probably should have figured out which of my routes I could graft onto this run to be able to go farther before coming inside, but I couldn’t remember distances for the routes I could have done, so I decided to try to stick it out. I got done with the third lap and came in to finish inside. This was not the way I thought my 20-miler would go, but I have another one in two weeks, so we’ll see how that goes. The joys of running in Minnesota in the winter!
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