Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sun Worship and Safety

Don't get me wrong, I love winter. I love cross-country skiing, that is. I also don't mind the occasional freeze-your-nostrils-shut lung-clearing cold run, either. But I loathe being cold (which seems to be my constant state if I'm NOT running or skiing), shoveling, and the short amount of time there is in a winter day to get my vitamin D from the sun. If you're in the mid-west, you know that the last two days have brought welcome warmth and sunshine, drawing many a winter couch potato out for a run, as well as those like me, who tried to get in one last ski, and then opted for to run instead.

It's a lovely thing to sweat, and it not immediately freeze or evaporate!

That said, there will still be many a day when you may be up before the sun, or out after it has set. And, the snow is still here, even if it's melting fast. I know some folks are interested in how to navigate the slush/ice/winter mix (still) on the roads. I posted a few of my winter routes on the right--they consist of well-plowed streets and/or sidewalks that 90-95% of the time are cleared. The biggest thing to worry about though is not wet shoes or a slower pace when the roads and sidewalks are crummy--rather, it is safety. Always make sure that you are visible and follow pedestrian rules. In other words, wear light or reflective clothing and/or a little blinking light (thanks to my mom, I have a sweet blinker for my ankle for those early a.m. runs that allow me to greet the dawn), and run on the roadside of oncoming traffic--you see them, they see you.

One final secret (my husband loves me for having shared it with him, and you will too):
If your shoes are wet, simply stuff them with crumpled newspaper. Let them sit (preferably by a heater) and then pull out the newspaper a few hours later. Voila! Dry (and less stinky) shoes!

Still waiting to hear on mottoes! And if  you know of any cool Eastern Iowa road races, let me know!

Given my optimistic safety advice above, this morning I am trying very hard to be grateful for my body and the run I had, even though it was full of frustrations. Slushy sidewalks and ice from folks who for whatever reason never bothered to shovel made my feet cold and wet almost immediately. Began running in the street to avoid falling on the ice and the ginormous puddles. Cop car pulls over and asks me to run on the sidewalk, even though Thea and I are on pressed against the curb on the correct (for pedestrians) side of the road. Grrrr. Then two blocks from my house, an undergraduate looking only one direction before pulling into the intersection almost hits Thea and me, even though I was screaming at her "hey hey hey!" Somehow managed to get home without anything worse than wet feet. Almost cried as I rubbed Thea down, thanking her for being a good girl, and so grateful for her silent understanding. Sigh. Some mornings are just like that I guess. You get beat down, and must count your blessings. And I have many--I love my home, my family, my animals. I am able to run. Even if there is so much ignorance and selfishness in the world, I can combat it. I can breathe, and forgive, and move on. Because the only person I can control is me.

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