Thursday, January 17, 2013

"The More You Do Outside, the Less You Have to Do on the Treadmill"

Workout: 5 miles

We're continuing in the "name the post the main thought running through your head during your run" vein.

Guys, today's run was kind of insane. Why's that, you ask? Well-drumroll please-IT WAS SNOWING!!! And not just a little, but a lot!

These trees were bare two days ago.

Anchorage has hardly gotten any snow this winter (at least, relative to most winters), and the last couple of weeks have been terrible, with high temperatures and a constant melt/refreeze that made roads uneven, icy, and generally miserable. There wasn't really any snow in the forecast, so I was shocked (in the most wonderful way) when I left class yesterday and there was snow falling and a reasonably thick layer on the ground already. We only got a couple of inches, but it was something. I was even more shocked when I woke up this morning and it was coming down again! It was the very best kind of snowflakes-light, dry, enormous, and falling thickly. I was so excited I knew there was no way I wasn't running outside.

I like to think of myself as being pretty open to running under varied and sometimes iffy conditions, but I may have bitten off more than I could chew with this run. I headed to a nearby trail with Bailey and set off into the snow.

You can't really tell, but this snow was deep and I was breaking trail. There was obviously a layer of very uneven ice underneath, so I was struggling from the get-go.

It was much deeper than this.

The biggest issue I was having (if sliding all over the place and having pretty uneasy footing wasn't enough) was that my Yaktrax kept getting stretched to different parts of the shoe so the coils were all over the place. I had to stop constantly to readjust them and I was convinced they were going to break again. After only two miles, I decided I was going to pack it in and finish on the treadmill. However, I quickly remembered just how much I despise the treadmill, so I decided to do just a bit more... and then a bit more... and so on. I kept telling myself "The more you do now, the less you have to do on the torture machine," and before I knew it I was done! No, not really. After 3 1/2 miles I decided I really, really couldn't do anymore so ran back to my car, but when I started running in the parking lot, I realized it was so much easier than running on the trails so hit the roads. Why I'm so dumb it took me 3 1/2 miles to realize that I'll never know.

Let's pretend I didn't just tell you and guess which miles were on the trails:

I earned every step of those 5 miles.

I still can't decide whether this run was difficult or not. On the one hand, duh-it was hard. But on the other, I was moving very slowly and had to stop frequently. Plus, my legs don't feel like they ran at all today. I'm choosing to believe that I'm just incredibly strong and not that this was a failed run.

In conclusion, new snow makes running very, very hard but I love it so much. The end.


Lance Armstrong, huh? I feel obligated to say something about the whole thing, although I don't have particularly strong feelings about it (in stark contrast to certain other things). I loved Armstrong growing up. I thought he was incredible. I watched the Tour de France every single summer and became so emotionally invested in it I could hardly think of anything else. All this despite the fact that I don't even like biking (cycling?) that much. I mean, it's a handy mode of transportation and everything, but it never really crosses my mind to go head out for a bike ride or whatever. I'd much rather go for a run or a hike.

So anyway, Lance Armstrong was my hero for many years and now that we know he's a cheater, it doesn't really change anything for me. If it were any other sport, I'd probably be incredibly upset. But this is biking. Doping is ubiquitous. That's not to say we shouldn't try to change this, of course not; cheating is disgusting. But when everyone else is doing it (and in biking, it seems nearly impossible to find someone who isn't), it doesn't necessarily diminish my admiration for that person's athletic ability. And maybe people like me are the problem. Maybe we need to have everyone 100% against it before people stop using it. I dunno. Just two cents from someone who doesn't matter. Some of the shit Armstrong did during the Tour de France was incredible and I'm happy to have seen it. I think Armstrong's dumbest move was being so vocally against others who were caught doping. I mean, COME ON.

UPDATE: despite my blase thoughts on Armstrong, I think Lauren Fleshman's take on it is well-argued and totally valid, especially the "unforgivable sin" bit.


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