The hazards of winter running.
Winter has descended upon New Hampshire and while all of the amazing warm weather that we had this fall was pretty sweet I am ready for the snow. We have had eventful weather over the past two weeks with freezing rain last week. The freezing rain was completely unacceptable for running and especially driving. We tried heading to school as none of the schools were closed or delayed but within minutes ended up having to ditch our car into a field as we had gone into a giant slide. Thankfully we were ok as were most of the many other people in the region who slid off of the roadways or had minor accidents. There were cars off the road everywhere! On the bright side this gave us a day off from school so we enjoyed the day decorating for the holidays. This week has brought us our first taste of beautiful, fluffy snow and more sketchy driving and slick running conditions. I am guessing that this is what the weather has in store for us which is going to make training for the Boston Marathon an adventure! (P.S. My friend Natalie just reminded me in her last post that the Boston Marathon is less than 19 weeks away! Eeek!)
Last year with the lack of snow I was able to run to my little hearts content without much worry of slick roads or snowplows coming towards me on the road. However, I wasn’t able to enjoy some of my favorite cross training . . . cross country skiing and snow shoeing. This year I have already adventured out the door on my skis which will hopefully be the case all winter so that I can mix up my training schedule a bit more.
One of the major hazards of running in the winter is running on icy roads and even packed down snow in tire tracks can be super slick. Yesterday I was reminded of these dangers. It has been snowing quite a bit but yesterday the sun peeked out so I headed out for a nice 45 minute run. I was having the best run.
The fresh air felt great and the sun warmed my face. On my way back home I decided to stop in and see my friend Laura who’s house is about a mile from mine. She didn’t answer the door so I decided to head home and picked my run back up down her driveway. As I headed to the end I stepped in a tire track. The track had uncovered some ice and pressed the snow together making it as greasy as butter. In one quick moment I was on my back looking up at the sky with pain reverberating through my elbow, arm and wrist, palm, back and rear end. The wind was knocked from my chest and I gasped at the searing pain. I lay there for a minute assessing my wellbeing. No cars passed. I rolled to my side and gingerly stood up deciding it would be best to walk back to Laura’s entryway. I took myself inside, opened her door and called inside. I could hear her shower running. Still in excruciating pain I sat on her step in the entry with her dog Macy resting her soft nose on my knee. I clutched my arm and put my head in my hands on my knees, and I cried.
The adrenaline of the fall wearing off the pain grew intense and I wondered if I had broken something. Then, Laura opened the door, “Are you ok, what happened?. I got up sobbing and told her my tale of woe. She gave me a giant ice pack, some advil, some water, and a cookie (!). I carefully too off my outer layer, a sweaty mess revealing a gash on my elbow where I had landed. I moved my arm around and assessed the damage. Amazingly nothing was broken. I had hit the asphalt harder than ever before and thought surely my arm was broken. It would seem that the pain was made worse by the fact that I had slammed my “funny bone” into the asphalt causing pain down my whole arm into my palm and fingers. Thankfully the damage to my body is just a lot of deep bruising, a cut, and perhaps a bruised ego (haha!). A day later my whole left side is tender and the bruising will be very colorful.
I guess I had forgotten about the hazards of winter running since last year our winter was a bust. This was a reminder to be careful when heading out for a run at this time of year. When I got up from my fall I had visions of trying to train for the Boston Marathon with a cast on my arm . . .
I vow to do a better job of preparing myself for the winter running conditions. If you are wondering what to do to make running safe during icy road conditions here are a few quick solutions:
Put screws in your shoes. Here is a great post telling you how to do this: “Screwin’ Shoes”. I have never done this before but may experiment on some of my used shoes as it would be handy to have a pair of screw shoes laying around.
- Use STABILICERS: Stabilicers Sport Lightweight Serious Traction Cleat, Blue/Black, Medium. These will act as screw shoes to help you run on slippery pavement and tricky road conditions.
Good luck heading out into the wintry running conditions and be sure to be smarty about safety!
Do you use screw shoes or Stabilicers in the winter? What is the worst winter weather that you have ever run in?