Monday, November 23, 2015

Triumph on the Treacherous Trails: Weekend Wrap-up

 
I had kind of a sucky week. Chilly and damp weather (can you say, "Rain, wind, and cold temps?"). I was blind-sided with an energy-zapping under-the-weather cold (early last week) that left me shivering from the chills yet feeling warm and feverish all at the same time.

As far as exercise, I did the bare minimum. My #nevermissaMonday found me firing up (and dusting off) the treadmill briefly. I also did some moderate strength-training, and my #plankingontheflyCHALLENGE maintenance (I'm still on track for my 200 #Novemberplankingminutes....current count has me at 152). And that's all she wrote.

Thursday arrived and finally my head felt (somewhat) clear, so I was able to take it outside for a couple "fresh air" miles in the evening. Much better!

Friday, Momma N rewarded us with the season's first snowfall, and it was a doozy. A good 6-8 inches of the white stuff was dumped on us, causing a lot of Friday evening activities to be cancelled.

Saturday, I got outside, this time for my first "winter run" of the season. Later, I was SO happy to watch my Iowa Hawkeyes defeat Purdue, claiming an 11-0 season! A few hours later, Michigan State scored a last-second field goal and were victorious over the OSU Buckeyes. Our family lived in the East Lansing area several years ago, so we consider ourselves honorary Spartans.

Sunday found me eager to head out to the local nature preserve with some local running friends. Our group has been meeting out there and running most Sunday mornings in recent months.  We had just received several inches of snow, courtesy of the season's first snowfall on Friday afternoon/evening.  Having spent the greater part of last week inside (due to that unexpected nasty cold), I was ready for some fresh air and physical movement.

The scenery was beautiful with the new-fallen snow. There are a couple of main trails (and a few smaller trails that taper off into the wilderness). This was my first time out there with snow cover, so I didn't really know what was in store for me.
All smiles...not aware of the challenge awaiting me...
For the most part, the trails are hilly. There's a good mix of gentle, rolling hills as well as steep, winding hills.  And, adding to the challenge on Sunday, nothing had been plowed (other than the parking lot). It's a preserve, after all. We did have some cross country ski tracks to follow and a few random animal foot prints, but most of the path would be trail-blazed by our shoes.

The temps were showing 18-degrees, so I dressed warm...fleece-lined tights, a couple layers of shirts, puffer vest, and two layers of wool socks. There was minimal wind (which probably wouldn't have been been a factor due to all the trees acting as a barrier) and ample sunshine. Did I mention, there was a good 6-8 inches of fresh, newly fallen snow to trek through?
This pic does not do the snow justice
Oh my! Was this a tough little jaunt in the woods! I had a great deal of frustration from all the necessary high-stepping through (and over) the snow (which felt more like quick sand). The hills aren't just an up & down challenge, but several also have a good 30-45 degree "sideways" slope to battle as well. By the third mile, I was toast. Not only did I feel like a hot & sweaty mess, but my arches were aching from all the slipping and sideways sliding. My legs (especially my hamstrings) were majorly burning from all the wear and tear of maintaining my balance (also from the slipping and sideways sliding).  I managed to remain vertical, though, which was a major victory for this coordination-challenged gal.

By the time we made it to the 4-mile mark, I had resorted to walking most of the inclines. That was another source of frustration, because walking really wasn't any easier than running. Every step had my feet sliding in opposite directions (and not necessarily in a graceful manner). As we approached the 4-mile mark, we did have the option to veer off on a different path that would take us back to the parking lot much sooner than if we stayed on the main trail. The temptation was overwhelming to turn off.....but I decided to keep going and finish what I had started.

Yikes! The deep snow ain't for sissies!

Thankfully, the remaining 1.5 mile to the parking lot was mostly downhill, so I was able to run (slowly) more than walk. My body was so exhausted (as was my mental stamina), that my form was really starting to fail. I've been running long enough to know when it's time to press on and when it's time to take it easy. If your form is going south (like mine was), you are at a much greater risk of injury because you're just not able to maintain your posture, stride, cadence or focus. Personally, being a hero is not worth the risk. I took my time finishing the run, being careful to make sure my footing was solid before taking each subsequent step.

I'm glad this was a group effort and I wasn't out there alone. My three friends did a great job keeping me going when I really felt like stopping.....but stopping out in the middle of the woods wasn't really an option anyways. I don't think anyone could have brought in a helicopter to rescue me.

This run was a difficult challenge for all four of us. Usually, we can make it through the same trail in under an hour, but it took us nearly 90 minutes with all the deep snow to trek through. Having spent the majority of the previous week sick (in other words, not as active as usual), I think my energy level was compromised, too. As mentioned, I was slightly over-dressed, so I think that also was a factor.....being over-heated (in hot or cold weather) is not an ideal scenario.

 Bill, Andrew, Barb and myself...feeling victorious for having finished!
I am a strong believer in the theory that every run has something good to come out of it. This run certainly challenged my confidence in my level of fitness, but it also solidified the strength of my endurance and ability to persevere when I would much rather have given up.

Lesson learned? Never, not ever, underestimate snow on the trail!

Have you ever been over confidant on a trail run, only to be humbled? Have you run in the snow yet this season? Ever wished for a rescue helicopter?

***I'm linking up with Holly at HoHo Runs  and Tricia at Misssippipiddlin for their weekly Weekend Wrap, do check out their awesome blogs and all the other blogs in the Weekend Wrap link-up



29 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Ha! I'm in Iowa, we're lucky we haven't had a blizzard yet ;-)

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  2. Sounds tough! I ran in the snow but it was on sidewalks and paved trails. They weren't entirely clear but much easier to get my footing than if it were in the woods!

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  3. I am glad to hear you are feeling better. The trail run in the snow must have been a killer workout! I would probably be sore today after using the ankle and calf muscle more than normal. Great job on pushing through without needing a heli rescue. I watched some of that that Michigan State game. What an upset! I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and appreciate you linking with us again!

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    1. The snow was indeed a tough workout! I feel fine today, surprisingly :-) Hzve s great turkey week !!

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  4. I love your strategy #nevermissmonday! That's fantastic. Way to get out there and run even in the snow. Brrr.

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    1. It was a fun challenge, though tough! I didn't feel cold until we were driving and the snow started melting nto our socks

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  5. Love your outlook. Great job lady! Last week WAS a sucky week, indeed. Here's to a better week this week!

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  6. I can't even imagine running on the snow like that- WOW! Great job! Have a great week !

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    1. I have run on snow-covered streets, but never trails! Total game changer ;-)

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  7. Brr, I can't imagine running in that much snow! Kudos for you getting out there. I was so glad to see Michigan State defeat the Buckeyes Saturday night. I don't have any ties there, I just don't care for Ohio State. Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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    1. The MSU victory was amazing! It totally made my weekend :-)

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  8. I learned a lesson similar to this a few years ago! Fresh snow is so tough to run in and it takes so much out of you. Props for getting it done though!

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    1. No kidding! I was completely exhausted....in a very satisfied/proud kind of way. I'm actually kind of eager to go back

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  9. Snow! Omg I know it's middle of November but why do I think it's still so early. I've enjoy the pictures of the snow from you an my other northern friends. Ha yall keep it up there. You know it makes us go crazy down South. Thanks for joining us again this week. :)

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    1. Ha! The snow doesn't scare us (but it can be annoying). ;-)

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  10. You are brave. I don't mind cold, but snow is scary. That is the truth snow running is not for sissies! I guess since I am in the south and we have get less snow, I am always waiting on it to melt lol I am afraid of falling.
    I have taken quite a tumble on a leaf covered trail before...darn tree roots, you can't see them when they are leaf covered.

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    1. You can't see the tree roots when they're covered with snow, either. Or the bridges over the ravines LOL #proceedwithcaution ;-)

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  11. Oh my! You are tough! I have barely even ever been in snow and certainly canNOT imagine running in it! It sounds grueling and challenging. I am pretty new to trail running in the first place and losing your footing is so easy already. And the climbs are tough. I can't imagine if the mountain were covered in snow! It's so great that you have a group with you.

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    1. It was definitely a lot tougher than I imagined...but I'm eager to go back and conquer the trail again.

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  12. Wow, that sounds like a very challenging run - I can just imagine the difficulty of trying to run through the snow. Beautiful to look at but not so great for running!

    Milwaukee was hit with a winter storm last weekend but I did my run inside on an indoor track. Grateful to have this option during the winter months!

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    1. I live near a college, and there's an indoor track (I think it's a 200?). I also have a treadmill, but I much prefer to be outside. This was my first time doing trails in the snow, and deep snow at that! Looking back, it wasn't so bad....;-)

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  13. Your photos look beautiful. I've never ran in the snow but I imagine it to be like running in the mud, which I have done quite a lot of!

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    1. I haven't done much mud running, other than during rain (on a trail). I think I utilized every muscle from the waist-down ;-)

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  14. Ugh! Trails are a total mess with that much snow. Until this past weekend I was entertaining all sorts of spring races. After a quick reminder of just how difficult winter training can be, I'm giving those plans a second thought.

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    1. Winter running and winter training are definitely two different animals. Personally, I like having the flexibility to just run and enjoy the scenery when the road conditions aren't always ideal for "training." And, the 'mill is not an (appealing) option for me LOL

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  15. Way to early for snow!! I do not like the cold. It's got to be above 30 for me to get out there, lol. Looks beautiful though!!

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