Does this count as a 60 minute upper body workout?

14″ added to the base. Hey, I can finally dunk a basketball!

 I woke up to 14″ of new snow and a pile of icy chunks 3′ high, 4′ deep and 20′ wide at the end of the driveway (courtesy of the town plows). My wife and I got out early and spent an hour digging out as much as we could. Even after that point it seemed that we’d barely made a dent. I am happy to shovel for hours but I wanted to wrap up before my neighbor came out with his snow blower that spews a toxic mixture of gas and oil. A couple of roving shovelers happened by and my wife and I decided to hire them to get through the rest. It turned out to be a good investment. The Long Island Railroad canceled many trains and suspended service a few times so I elected to work from home today.

I’m not sure this morning’s shoveling constituted a workout but I did work up enough of a sweat that I shed my jacket to help me cool down. I’m thinking about doing an elliptical workout at lunchtime if my schedule works. The irony of working from home is that I often over-schedule calls and I end up with less time than I do when I’m actually in the office. I love the snow but the frequency and volume we’ve received this year has forced me to run indoors a lot more than I’d like. Worse, I haven’t been able run the trails since December and I miss that a lot. I wish I had invested in snow shoes before the winter season. While I’m thinking about it, it would also be nice to have an efficient, environmentally correct snow blower.

5 degree weather is cramping my style

It’s extraordinarily cold today. The display in my car showed 27 degrees in my garage and by the time I reached the train station, seven minutes later, it said 5. I usually rest on Mondays so I didn’t have to suffer through a treadmill session this morning. My threshold for morning runs is about 14 degrees. After that it’s the treadmill or elliptical machine.

It’s been a tough winter for running. We’ve already had more snow in December and January than what we usually average for the entire season. I like snow but it reduces my choices for running venues. I won’t be running any wooded trails for a while and I’m sure that the Bethpage bike trail is snowy and icy right now. My choices are either indoor running or around my local neighborhood. Make that a subset of local streets because the snow and ice has limited access to some key cross points. More snow is coming this week which will exacerbate the problem but at least the temperatures should rise. It looks like I may be doing much of my race training indoors unless we see a big thaw soon.

A difficult run on a cold winter’s day

H/H Trail Lizards — great on snow – not so much on the road

Today’s run (street): 3.8 miles

My streak of energizing, feel-good runs was broken today with a 3.8 mile run that felt much longer. I was surprised to hit the wall so hard on this relatively short run. Learning from yesterday’s experience, I wore my Helly Hansen Trail Lizards because there is still much snow and ice (and ice covered snow) on the roads. Things started out well, I moved right along, hardly slowing down for the snowy-icy patches. The Helly’s provided great grip and stability over these areas for the most part though there were some spots that I preferred to dodge rather than run straight though.

My first hint of trouble happened on my first turn into the westerly winds that made the 18 degree temperatures feel much colder. I really wished at that moment that I’d worn my balaclava. On top of the force of the wind, the touch of my glasses against my face grew increasingly uncomfortable. Once I turned another corner that problem fell away and I felt like the worst was over since my body was warmed up, making straight-on winds less of an issue from that point. That much was true and I progressed well but I started to get tired as I neared the 25 minute mark. It may have been the cold or the fact that the Helly’s don’t run very well on pavement but I began to experience signs of bonking.

My level of effort (using the Daily Mile 1-5 scale) moved quickly from two to three to almost four in a period of five minutes and I decided to re-point my route back towards my home. Despite this difficulty I forced myself to maintain a reasonably fast cadence and came in with a respectable mid-9 overall pace. The runs today and yesterday were not typical street runs as the snow, ice and slush made them more trail-like. Perhaps it was the harder work coming from running the Trail Lizards on the road instead of the trail where they shine. It doesn’t matter why, only that today’s run was tough and hopefully the next one will be better. Even as I slogged through the difficult last mile I thought to myself how much I loved this crazy sport.

Tough going on snowy roads

Today’s run (street): 4.1 miles

With all the attention that I’ve been giving to running a half marathon you’d think I’d been working hard to build up my base mileage. Between August and November I was doing a good job of mixing distance runs into my weekly training schedule and I credit that work to achieving consecutive PR’s on my last two 10K’s. I had a few high mileage weeks between Thanksgiving and early December but since my 10.2 mile run at Bethpage on 12/11 I’ve only done one run that exceeded 6 miles. I can blame that (somewhat) on feeling under the weather mid December after my flu shot and then dealing with actual weather obstacles (snow) between Christmas and New Year. The snow prevented easy access to higher distance locations like Bethpage and Stillwell on the weekends.

I went out this morning with the intention of covering 3-5 miles. After yesterdays snowfall the streets are fairly clear for cars but it’s still somewhat icy for foot traffic. I figured I could run safely without a sidewalk escape path if I was extra vigilant and I had no issues with the local traffic today. It was 25 degrees outside when I started my run and I dressed appropriately. I took the first mile slow, partially because I didn’t feel that energetic and partially due to the icy, snowy layer underfoot. I think that the constant but slight adjustments for balance tired me out quicker than I’d expected. I found a pace that I could sustain without too much trouble and after winding through a number of streets I reached my house after covering 4.1 miles.

It was one of the toughest 4 mile runs I can recall, far more taxing than some I’ve done at twice the distance. I hope the temperature rises above the freezing mark and melts the ice enough to make tomorrow’s run a little more stable. Of course we’re hearing about more snow tonight so I may end up working out indoors on Sunday. I’m really hoping that won’t be the case.