Friday morning at 7:00 a.m. seemed to be the best opportunity to fit in my LSD (long, slow, distance) training run, and I had gone to bed early to be well rested. Despite the freezing rain, I was committed to getting this done. Dressed in every reflective piece of gear I owned and equipped with a headlamp and flashing lights behind me, I headed out into the dark and wind and steady, icy rain.
Taking the sidewalks through the suburban side streets seemed to be the safest choice of routes, but the condition of the sidewalks quickly undermined the wisdom of that decision. It seemed that every few squares offered a new kind of treachery – changing from wet concrete to icy concrete to slush fields to skating rinks to swimming pools. It all looked the same in the dark, so my only option was to relax enough to let my joints become shock-absorbers, engage the core for balance and just keep going over – or through – whatever lay ahead.
Every so often, the skating rink sections sent my feet off in different directions. No amount of core stabilization was going to help. Wacky waving arms and an audible ‘Whoaaa!’ was the automatic first response, followed by a trek across the slush covered grass swamps to try out the road for a while. At least on the road, some sand was left over from a previous encounter with winter and it provided some welcome traction. I hoped my reflectors and headlamps were sufficient for oncoming cars to figure out that some idiot was actually running in the dark and freezing rain up ahead.
As daylight dawned, the rain turned to biting bits of hail, then snow pellets. They bounced off my face as I looked for the most obvious slush ponds and a safe way to launch myself over the worst looking parts. The snow became heavier and created an even-looking coating on the virgin sidewalks, providing traction on the parts that had previously been skating rinks, and disguising the ponds so they now looked solid.
Two steps into each, with water running through my shoes, the profanities flew with reckless abandon. Two steps past, with water being squished back out with each footfall, the giggling started. The absurdity of the situation mixed with the childlike freedom of plunging recklessly through surprise puddles pushed away the discomfort for the moment.
The bundled faces peering through the steamed up windows of cars and school buses passing by had no idea how much fun they were missing!
© 2012 Savvy Runner Inc.
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