Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘ice’

I should host my own cable show . . . Ice Road Runners (Ice Road Truckers)  . . . or maybe Man vs. Nature (Man vs. Food or Man vs. Wild.)

The need to run in the cold weather is the summation of three primary vector forces coming together as one.  First, I love to run.  Second, I hate the dreadmill or running indoors.  And third, I live in central Pennsylvania, not far from the home of Punxsutawney Phil.

I foresee more winter . . .and snow FOREVER!

I foresee more winter . . .and snow FOREVER!

One might also argue that a little bit of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder or run-of-the-mill insanity plays a role here, but I’m not sure why people think those things about me.

Running in the winter presents a number of new challenges that our running brethren in Florida, Arizona and Texas do not need to worry about.

Perhaps first and foremost is the issue of traction.  Running shoes meeting ice do not generally end in good results.  There is no way to throw it into four wheel drive when you are only ever running on two wheels.  And while the snow may look soft and fluffy, the ground beneath it is HARD.  I have tried several traction devices over the years, one from North Face that you slip on–but they kept coming off!) and I tried screwing sheet metal screws into the bottom of an old pair of running shoes . . .

screwshoes

The problem with the latter, is that under most running conditions, I am not always on snow or ice.  The removable cleats are better for running where you might go from road, to trail, to sidewalk and back to road at irregular intervals, with varying levels of ice, snow or no precipitation.  Also, I always felt like I could feel the ends of the screws coming up at my feet–it might have been in my head, but I just didn’t like it.

My favorite to date is Kahtoola NANOspikes, which are removable, but seem to stay on my shoes better than the other product.  I recommend these for the runner who must traverse icy conditions.  I think I could jog laps on a skating rink with these on!

Four-wheel drive for your feet!

Four-wheel drive for your feet!

But in addition to traction, there is another issue of equal or greater importance . . . the temperature.  It’s cold in winter.  When I got up this morning, it was -2 degrees F.  The wind was howling with chills estimated at -15 to -22 deg F .  It was actually about 5 degrees at noon when I headed out, but the wind chill was still subzero.

The key to dressing in winter is LAYERS.  I start with a Nike DriFit tank, followed by a Nike DriFit long sleeve.  These are wicking shirts that allow moisture to wick away from your skin.  The only thing worse than being cold is being cold AND WET.  And even at zero degrees, if you are running, you will SWEAT.  In fact, you will generate enough heat that you should dress as if the ambient temperature is about 20 degrees warmer than it really is.  You should feel cold when you start, because you will warm-up as your muscles generate heat.

I next add an UnderArmour cold gear shirt which is heavier than the first two layers, but also wicking.  And on top, I use either a Nike jacket or the pullover (a Pittsburgh Penguin pullover made by Antigua) you see in the following series . . .

Layers!  Not just for cake anymore!

Layers! Not just for cake anymore!

Fortunately for you, there was no room for the final image in this running game of strip poker which I seemed to keep losing.  At 5 degrees with subzero wind chills, I also wore three pair of gloves, a UA balaclava and a warm running hat also made by UA.  There are different styles of balaclavas and this type can be pulled up over one’s mouth, but I am a mouth breather when I run, and I find it gets too wet and icy if I cover my mouth.  Some people opt for a ski mask with eye holes, but it makes me feel like I am a bank robber running away from the scene of a crime if I wear something like that!

Layering also gives one the option of removing layers if the temperature rises or you simply overestimated how cold it would be.  I actually felt warm at times (sun was out, and when the wind wasn’t blowing in my face!)   My left eyelid froze to my cornea, but I microwaved some artificial tears when I got home and melted that baby off in no time!  Please do not try this at home–I am a trained eye professional!  (Ok, my cornea wasn’t really frozen–I made all that up, and please do not put hot drops in your eyes and never microwave your eyedrops!)

I do not wear any special socks, and in fact, I prefer thin wicking socks.  I wore my regular socks and my feet were not cold, but that is me.  If you suffer with cold feet, there are thermal socks you can invest in.

There is a certain satisfaction in overcoming the elements, like a mountain climber beating Everest or a rock climber successfully ascending (insert a challenging rock climbing mountain here.)  I would much rather be running in Phoenix at 120 dry degrees, but that was not an option this morning.

And my nose will thaw out by spring.  Which should come sometime in the next six months.  I hope.

Read Full Post »

I Want Some More!

Here’s the water dispenser at our surgery center . . .

icemachine1

But wait . . . what’s that????

icemachine2

 

The ice “cubes” are actually little cylinders that sort of look like that picture.  But the marshmallow thing would be a great idea!  Maybe one for S’Mores!

icemachine3

Read Full Post »

I wanted to let you know, in case you were lying awake at night wondering if I was still running on the icy trail near my house, that I am indeed still running on ice.  I could have my own TV show . . . ICE TRUCKERS RUNNERS.

Despite falling and seriously injuring my ego, I have continued to brave the winter elements.

This looks like a good place to run!

This looks like a good place to run!

Yea, though I run through the valley of the shadow of ice, I will fear no falls.  Thy tread and thy YAK TRAX they comfort me.

When I blogged about my accident, I mused that I would not be able to tolerate stopping and putting on YAK TRAX just to run the short distance between my development and our local high school.  Well, I lied.  I tried.  It’s not so bad.   It actually works very well.  And carrying the YAK TRAX (which are technically DueNorth ice cleats but I like the sound of YAK TRAX so much better) is no worse than carrying a water bottle on a hot humid day.

The time I spend to stop and put the things on and then take them off again is well worth not having to be bruised and picking myself up off the ice.

I am still really looking forward to spring, though.

As is this person . . .

Thank goodness it was the perfect texture for running!

And I’m glad there was no video of me!

That I know of.

Read Full Post »

It was like déjà vu all over again.

There I am, jogging along.  Minding my own business.  And then there’s ice.  And then there’s me, falling.

Runner down!

So what did I do?

I jumped back up and continued running, before anyone else might have noticed.  There is a trail that leads from our development to the high school, and that was where I fell.  I fell right in full view of several houses.  I ran far enough to be out of the line of sight before I stopped to check for injuries or missing body parts.

Unlike 2009, when I fell on the ice while jogging around the high school, I did not seriously injure myself.  I did scrape and bruise my arm.  My hip hurts, but not the joint itself.  Just a flesh wound!  Or bruise.  I finished another three miles after the fall–including running back the same icy trail to get home!  I also apparently cut my ankle, but I didn’t even notice that until someone else pointed it out.

I was actually more worried about my Ipod.  I carry it in my hand inside my glove, and run the ear bud wire down my sleeve.  When I hit the ground, the music suddenly stopped.  I might have gone deaf, but I was more worried I had smashed my Ipod.  My right arm was hurting and took the brunt of the fall.

But a quick check showed that the wire had been pulled free.  I plugged it back in, the band played on, and off I went.

Now you may ask, why would you run on a trail you knew was icy?

TRADITION!  Tradition!

Why do rednecks ask someone to hold their beer and watch as they try to drive an ATV up a tree?

It’s what I do.  I run.  I can’t let a silly thing like weather get in the way.

The trail was there.  I had to get from here to there.  I couldn’t very well fly over it.  My dogsled is in the shop (it’s been a loooong winter.)  I ran on this trail yesterday without falling.  I fully expected to pull this thing off again without bloodshed.  Alas, I was wrong.

Couldn’t you run on a treadmill?

I own a dreadmill.  I hate the dreadmill.  I’d rather fall on the ice than run on the dreadmill.  I would not dreadmill here or there.  I would not dreadmill anywhere.  I would not do it with a goat.  I would not do it on a boat.  Well, I might if  I couldn’t jog around the deck.  But I digress.

I have noticed that when I run, my pace varies.  Here is a chart of my pace when I’m not running falling on ice:

PaceChart

If it were my heart rate, it would probably be fibrillation.  Don’t quote me on that.  Dammit Jim, I’m just an eye doctor!  I haven’t put a stethoscope on a patient’s heart in 23 years.

Now, can you imagine trying to run those peaks and valleys on a dreadmill?  My finger would have a blister on it from adjusting the speed up and down too often.  I would be in fibrillation if I had to do that.

And, if I haven’t been perfectly clear on this matter, I hate the dreadmill.

Couldn’t you just not run?

Couldn’t you just stop asking stupid questions?  I don’t ask you to just stop breathing do I?

So why don’t you wear YakTrax or some other product that would be useful on ice?

My you ask a lot of questions.  Just like I own a dreadmill, I have a pair of DueNorth Ice Cleats.  I don’t like them!  Oh, they work fine, if you are constantly on snow or ice and don’t mind things strapped to your feet besides your shoes.  But the road from my house to the trail–NO ICE!  From the trail to the rest of my run–NO ICE!  I would only need them for about a quarter of a mile or less, and I hate the clacking, bumpy feel of them on dry pavement.  Don’t roll your eyes at me–you asked!

OK.  I could stop and try to stretch them on over my shoes before I hit the trail, and then reverse the process on the other side.  Repeat for the trip back home.  Carry them in my hands when I’m not on the ice.  But if you don’t know me very well, I do not have the patience for that shit and I’ll take my chances with the ice.

So why did I bother telling you this?

CautionIce

It’s a public service announcement.  Ice is icy.  You might fall.  When you fall, you might get hurt.  If you get hurt you might go to the hospital.  If you go to the hospital, you might have to watch cable TV.  Don’t  get stuck watching cable TV.  Stay off the ice!

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: