Portland. Snow. Running.

When we last left off I had broken my running fast on a treadmill. What was I thinking? A treadmill!  More like a dreadmill. But frankly I was a little nervous about running in the snow. Because folks, it’s snowy here in Portland.

I mean, *really* snowy.

Even  Coffee Betsy, who makes winter running sound downright peachy, would be impressed.

Everything looks like this:

Portland SnowBrrr, right!?

Right! I bet you’d be nervous about running in all this snow and ice too.

Despite the crazy cold weather, I braved the elements and went for two long runs this weekend. Both trail runs. Both over two hours.  And both so completely exhausting that I should be downing hot chocolate and passing out in an exercise induced coma right now. But alas, it seems that the human body is resiliant. So here I am, drinking Mint Magic tea, all fingers and toes intact, and frost-bite free.

Here are my conclusions on this snowy, crazy evening:

1. Running in the snow. Is. Fun. No, I’m not trying to sell you a real nice piece of swampland either.  My runs this weekend were a little bit crazy, and more than a little bit silly – I can only compare it to sledding or building a snowman. I felt like a kid, “OHHHH, it is so cold. Everything is so… white!  And Ohhhh, it’s crunchy, slippery, and brrrr, it’s cold!” I was completely in awe at the same time I was working my tush off to get up a big snowy hill. Speaking of which…

2. Snow, You’re Hardcore! I’m a pretty fit, lil’ lady, but these runs were totally exhausting. Forget the starimaster. Forget the elliptical machine. Forget the treadmill. Snow, you wore me out. And that’s not easy to do.

3. Ice is not my friend. You see, I was tempted to go running on my favorite trail this morning.  A normal person would have looked outside at the thick sheet of ice covering everything and decided on a more sane running route. I on the other hand bundled up and went for it. Apparently, someone else in the Portland zipcode is just as insane, because when I got to my favorite trail (it’s about a 3 mile run just to get to the trail head) there was already a fresh set of tracks. What!?? Who are you, crazy runner? I was miffed at first: I wanted to be the most hardcore! I wanted first tracks! But then I changed my mind because I’m pretty sure I would have started crying at some point. The mystery runner’s tracks gave me hope when things got really painful.

You see, the snow had a thick crust of ice several inches thick, with a layer of  six or seven inches of soft snow underneath. Each step meant breaking through that crust and sinking up to my shins. If I didn’t do it right, and by that I mean, if I didn’t lift my leg straight up out of the hole, I’d knock my ankle or shin against the sharp icy bit. Ouch!!! For the first 10 minutes it was novel. For the next 90 minutes it was pure hell. Stomp! Bang! Ouch. Stomp! Bang!! OUCHHH!  Like I said. Hell. A  beautiful, exciting, white, crunchy hell.

3. Coffee, please!! After coming off the trail today, battered, bruised and numb (people, it was so cold out that the contents of my water bottle froze!) I stumbled into a  coffee joint to de-thaw before trucking the last mile home. Hunching over a steaming cup was better than… (no, I’m not going to say it), but it was pretty damn good. Even better than sardines, if such a thing were possible.

4. Drymax Cold Weather Running Socks, you are my hereos! I was up to my knees in snow today for over 2 hours. I didn’t wear gaiters. I didn’t even have any special shoes – just regular trail shoes, and these socks were up to the challenge. My toes didn’t get numb and considering just how long I was out in sub-freezing weather,  my feet remained quite happy – you know, not exactly thrilled because I think they prefer sitting by a fire, but they weren’t complaining. And that’s saying something. So, Drymax – only one question. When are you going to start making gloves?

5. And finally – Snow, I like you! Maybe you should think about sticking around for a few more days


About heatherdaniel

I'm a runner, writer, eater and traveler.
This entry was posted in portland, running, weather and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Portland. Snow. Running.

    • heatherdaniel says:

      It’s good to know that there are other nutty runners doing the same thing. There was a point during my run when I envied male runners and their ability to grow beards. My face was raw with cold by the end of the run!

  1. D.mn! That was one hard-core run!
    Well done! Snow makes the hardest part of running (going outside) even harder.

  2. Edward says:

    Very good post. Instantly quotable quote: “I wanted to be the most hardcore! I wanted first tracks!” You’re my blogging superhero today.

  3. Betsy says:

    Heather! I’m so glad you had fun running in the snow. It’s definitely challening, but it’s also so rewarding to be hardcore, get a great workout, and to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors. You are also a total rockstar for the sock recommendation. I’m going to track some down and see if my Sock Quest is finally at an end.

  4. Ana-Maria says:

    Hey Heather,
    I will definitely check out the socks. I, too, enjoy winter running, but come home with wet, frozen, numb, unhappy feet. Nice post, per usual! Ana-Maria

  5. lindsay says:

    you are crazy for running in that! i can just imagine frozen, cold, wet feet afterwards. brr. well, brr in general. glad you didn’t slip and fall either like all the other crazy snow/ice-runners.

  6. awesome! the snow is pretty deep up here too. White Christmas! Enjoy your snow running it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere for a while!

  7. Nat says:

    People are forever asking me why I run in winter, the big secret is that I really really really like it. (I went for run/walk in a blizzard last week… damn it was fun. Until I had the wind blowing sleet in my face. Still.)

    Good on you for going out there. You get the honorary Canadian award for the week. 🙂

    Merry Christmas hope you get spoiled.

  8. Static says:

    Wow – this is a great blog. Too bad you spent all that time in the airport without even adding one line to it. Hope it was worth it;)

  9. Run Colorado says:

    Well done! I’ve always been able to hanld the cold, it’s just the dark and short days of winter that make it hard for me to get out the door.

  10. pinkcowgirl says:

    LOVE snow running. HATE ice. Need to get Yax Trax. Good call. Thanks for that reminder. 🙂 And those socks…gonna have to look in to that!!! 🙂 And treadmills SUCK!!!!!!!!

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