Sunday, December 22, 2013

Ice Storm!

I couldn't resist.  Yesterday saw the first ice storm of the year.  The trails were mid-shin deep in snow and the treadmill was occupied.  For those who don't live with someone who is training for a 100 mile race, here is what to expect:  Your morning's coffee is accompanied my the hum of the treadmill.  Morning chores, blowing the driveway, clearing snow from the deck, all with the hum.  Time to go for a run.  Hmmm, what's that hum?

No problem, the trails beckon.  Post holing is an art form.  A precarious balance between efficient high stepping leg turnover and a face plant.  But let's make it challenging!  Add 1 cm of ice on top of 30 cm of snow.  In this situation the proper technique is to lean far forward and bring the knees up to the stomach.  This allows you to withdraw your leg and foot in a near-vertical direction.  If you use a conventional post-holing stride, the bottom of your shin will be cut open at every step.  However, visualize what it must look like to ice-post-hole.  Yes, a recipe for disaster, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

The first part of the trail had footsteps to follow, so much of the effort was directed at spotting an efficient foot plant pattern that incorporated the existing footsteps, while careering wildly in all directions.  Think of ballet.  Almost exactly the opposite!  Did I mention the breathing?  Stentorious comes to mind.

But all good things come to an end.  The footprints diverged from the trail, so I was left to my own devices.  After a mere 200 meters, I noticed that the effort level was exceeding my fitness level.  Breathing became raspy, the pace slowed and I started thinking about the wonderful trail behind me.  Then I had a great idea!  Directly beside me (I was running the Ganaraska trail alongside the Mad river) was a field and if there was any justice in the world, there would be a snowmobile track.  Perfect!  I made my way through the trees and out onto the field.

Snowmobilers are the most crass, self-centered idiots in the world.  Thousands of them around Creemore and they all had the temerity to not lay a track along the field.  A perfectly inviting field along the Mad river and just because of some archaic trespassing laws, they had avoided the area.  Pardon the pun, but I was in deep trouble.  Because of a slight drifting effect and a lack of training, my run had degenerated into a staggering parody of running.  It was also starting to hurt.  The sideways sheering motion was eliciting signals from my shins.  Time to pack it in.

Of course I took a shortcut through the field back to the trail, causing further harm to my protesting shins.  In reality, there was little damage.  8 small cuts to my right shin and negligible harm to the left.  It did feel good to get back to running on the trail with footprints.  Nearing my driveway, I felt what can only be described as a "popping" in my right Achilles tendon.  Not good.  I stopped running immediately, but walking was now a bit painful.

I will have to run roads today...

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