Thursday, March 13, 2008

Lost in the Heights

Oh, not me. I wasn’t lost. The sidewalks were lost when I ran yesterday. I couldn’t find them anywhere!

Even this shoveling job would be a blessing; click photo for original locationAfter changing into running tights and a fleece yesterday, I tiptoed out of work—not because I wasn’t supposed to leave; I didn’t want anyone to see me in tights—and ran from campus, up Cedar Hill and into thigh-deep snow banks that stretched as far as the eye could see.

A quarter mile of slipping and swearing later, I cut off the main road and ran on the side streets around Cleveland Heights. Now that was better! On my way into work I spied cleared sidewalks on Fairmount, so I figured a run through the Heights north of Cedar, cutting across and wandering back to Fairmount would make for at least 60 minutes and six miles. And a good last run before Saturday.

I’m such an optimist.

Sorry, I meant an idiot. Running up and down side streets went well for the first 40 minutes—at least 50 percent of the sidewalks were runnable. Unfortunately, they tended not to be all in a row. The streets were desolate, so the sidewalk situation didn’t matter much. At first.

The good/hard part of the run: the first 45 minutes were all uphill! As I trudged up Cedar Hill, I marveled at how not impossible it was for me and thought back to last year’s St. Malachi race and the hills that killed me. And not just the treacherous final stretch. I’m as susceptible to hill-tiring as anyone else, but it’s nice to know this year I won’t start wheezing when I just see an incline. I’ll just deserve an extra post-race treat. Right?

Needless to say, I was tired but happy after the first stretch of my run. I was also happy to start heading back. And I would have been even happier if I could have headed back. When I finally made my way back to Fairmount, there were no cleared sidewalks. Just four-foot mounds of snow alongside traffic moving over 40 mph.

I crossed the boulevard and ran a few blocks to another large road, which I thought might have some running space. But there were five-foot banks on that street and cars moving at least 45 mph. And I just wasn’t feeling too swell about running against razzled rush hour traffic. So, I headed back to Fairmount.

In death-defying spurts, I ran against traffic on Fairmount (at fire-on-my-butt speeds) one block at a time. It truly must have looked like a scene from a movie. Sad, but true. Once I had tired, I just started walking in the snow. Lucky for me, the dense snow packed under my feet and it only went knee-deep most of the way.

About thirty minutes later I couldn’t really feel my feet, but I finally reached the Fairmount sidewalk I had spied in the morning. Never have I wanted to go home and be home than 6 p.m. last night.

Once I picked up the sidewalk again (it was only interrupted by another 100-yard streak of deep snow-walking), it was a nice 15-minute run back to my car. All down hill.

So, I ran for about 60 minutes at an average pace of 9:30-10:00/mile; I trudged for about 30 minutes as fast as my anger would take me.

It’s no secret that I have minimal patience with snow coverage. And there’s nothing I can do about it. Following a carbolicious dinner stop at Whole Foods, I pulled into my neighborhood with the urge to shovel all the sidewalks in sight. But then I realized I actually have things to do for the next six months, which is how long it would probably take me.

Yes, I have issues.My last run wasn’t bad. And at least it helped me exercise my angry and impatient face, which I don’t use often at all. Going into Saturday’s race, I not only feel confident about the distance, weather and the hills, but any one the road conditions I might face as well. I’ve run through so much snow, sludge, slush, sleet, slippy-dippy schtuff over the past week that clomping into a puddle on Saturday won’t phase me. It will just be par for the course.

Between now and Saturday, I’ll be sticking with plentiful yogaing, while staying off my feet, doing some aerobic work, eating high-energy foods and staying positive. And crossing my fingers that they’ll have Boston Cream cupcakes at MSC this weekend.


JenC said...

You're a braver gal than I. I've been running inside with this weather. Stay safe and I hope the "warm" temps clear the sidewalks!

triguyjt said...

i have been mostly mr. treadmill..

malachi will probably kick my butt even though i have been doing inclines on the dreadmill.

amazing how much snow we got..

TrainingtoTri said...

That is a tough hill! go you. Hey good luck at St Malachi's, I decided to pass on the race, but will be pulling for you! Maybe if the weather is nice we can get together for a run next weekend? I have to do 16, but you could just do part with me.

Dana said...

GREAT snow run! Good luck at the race & it would totally rock if they did have cupcakes. But if not you may have get some as your special post-race treat.

Lisa said...

Hey, you were in my neighborhood! If you run through the Cedar-Fairmount-Coventry area again on a snowy day, give me a heads up and I'll clear a path for you. Our sidewalk has been shamefully unshoveled all winter.