I’d like to make a deposit of Whoop-Ass at the Snow Bank

As of 7:30pm on 5 Feb 2010 the state of Delaware was closed for business.  The Snowpocalypse arrived several hours earlier and proceeded turn this otherwise level-headed chemical producing home to our great yet pshchotic VP Joe “stick foot in mouth” Biden into a panic-stricken petrified disaster zone.  On a level of 1 to 10 with 10 being highest level of disaster, Deleware went straight to Defcon 1 and declared it a disaster level of 4 billion and 3.  This meant that felony charges were to brought about for anyone even thinking of going outside. 

“Ha! I thought it!  Come and get me.  Oh you can’t because you are snowed in.  Take that, over reaching government.”

Well, even I who was raised in the mountains of Virginia and North Carolina, in addition, spent 10 years in Cleveland, OH and two winters in Minnesota realize that the two, yes count them, 2 feet of snow that dropped between 5pm on Friday and 8am on Saturday was worthy of respect and some humility.  I mean that is, to put it scientifically, a boat load of snow.  When I finally took the Booger for a walk it was over his head.  He is a Basset Hound but still when your dog jumps and you still cannot see his head above the snow level then you know it is pretty deep.  I must get a tall dog one day. 

So just yesterday, I was thinking what a great winter it has been.  Last year the longer term residents of the First State were going nuts over a 1 inch covering.  By the end of that day there was more salt on the ground than there had been snow.  And last year was such a disappointment all-round.  I got one run in the snow and that was in Reading, PA.  Yes I had to leave the state to get a snow run in.  So, this winter we found ourselves in our second blizzard of the season, just today.  No it is not Cleveland where this second blizzard would have been called December but it is a good happy medium.  Actually, last week there was a couple of inches of snow where I made an already technical trail a whole new challenge.  BTW, thanks Lums Pond State Park that was fun.  Well, back to yesterday.  I was thinking about the snow that was coming and how it would be fun to get a good run through the snow. 

Let us be clear, this was not going to be a run on a couple of inches of snow where it is just a little slippery and your socks never get wet from just the sweat.  I knew that there was going to be enough to get at least over my ankles and it is like strapping an extra pair of useless legs to each leg.  This is strength work out and not speed.

Lets stop here and talk about speed for a minute.  I have to mention this because it was… well, it was….  just listen.  (or read)   I went out on Tuesday and had a great run where I had pushed and felt real good.  That being said I decide that my Thursday run was to be a Fartlek.  It means speed play. Now I haven’t trained a real Fartlek in a couple of years but I needed to get some speed work in so there is no time like the present, well now it is the past.  For those of you that are unfamiliar with the idea of a Fartlek work out, you warm up a little and when you are ready you pick a point like a light post and speed up.  If you plan this out right you will already have a point to “ease up” picked out.  That way you can measure your effort better.  At the “ease up” point you don’t stop and walk or shuffle but you ease up.  Then you pick another point and repeat.  Well, it can get exhausting but if done right is an amazing work out and is awesome.  Well, I was hitting this on Thursday and at one point my ease up was not much slower than my speed ups and the ease up interval was getting smaller and the speed up section was getting faster and more intense.  Honestly if I did not kick a little more and further out at the end i could have gone for another 10k.  Instead, I set a course PR and it was amaaaaaazzzzzinggggg!

Back to the snow.  This was not about speed.  As a matter of fact, I warmed up by shoveling snow for almost two hours to free up the cars prior to going out for a Jaunt.  I almost thought that was going to be good enough of a work out.   I was wrong and I am glad I decided to go out anyway.  So I got dressed and hopped in the car and set off for the Friends of Glasgow Park.  My first worry was that the parking lots would not be clear but lucky for me the park is the highest point in the Bear/Glasgow area so they needed to get ready for sledders.

So gear up:  Cap, face mask (neck warmer), gardening gloves, tunes and I was set.  I started the clock and started the run and I hit the trail.  Well, I think I hit the trail.  For with two feet of snow and drifts I had to mostly rely on memory and the mile markers at every 1/10 of a mile to guide me.  This was not ankle deep but shin deep, at first.  Oh yeah.  What a great day.  On top of it all like so many other times I was the first one out there. Not a single foot print or even a paw print.  At least last week, I was following a squirrel most of the day but here I was the trail setter. 

Did I forget the mention the drifts because I kind of forgot them.  I forgot them and in white out conditions and glare I could not see them either so the first one I hit at 1/10 of a mile almost put me face down into the snow.  I recovered and on  I went.  At one point early I think I made out a trail.  Honestly, I thought there would be a depression or something that would make the trail visible but no.  Drifts and virgin powder made that a figment of my best wishes.  Still, I made my way and as a few points I felt as if I had stepped off the path or maybe I was stepping onto it.  I really had no idea. 

Lets talk about two snow running techniques.  The High step, is just like it sounds but for you that need reminding.  In order for you to make it through the snow you step and then attempt to bring you foot up over the snow surface to obtain the least resistance.  This is a big energy user and makes for an odd stride and foot strike but it is very effective.  The other, the plow, is also much like it sounds.  Instead of stepping over the snow you just tend to run through it.  Your foot strike is usually a little more sure but the stress on the ankles and shins adds to the energy consumption.  Either way, it is like running up steps with a mud slide water fall coming toward and through you.  I tended to use both as needed or as my body was telling me. 

Any who, there I was and I was coming up on this point where the path goes into a patch of woods and there is a little wooden bridge that was put in to circumvent the portion of the path that is always under water, except it was snow this time.  I hit the bridge and about 5 little birds come jumping out from under the bridge like they had just found the hidden immunity idol.  They looked at me and I could tell they were pissed.  They were saying, “Hey mother-effer, don’t know it is snowing out here.”  Well, of course I knew. 

Another half mile along and I actually took a break and jumped over to the plowed road for about a quarter mile for a little relief.  Then I went back to the path and I hit the first real big one.  A Snow Bank.  It was like that snow bank in “The Day After Tomorrow” were they crash the truck.  Right before they fell through the King of Prussia Mall.  Except this time I kept going.  And yes it went right through my head, “Snow Bank! I’d like to make a deposit…Of Whoop-Ass!”  Thats right baby we were kicking each others asses.  I was making a path on untouched snow and it was making its mark on me.  Actually at this point I was only able to sustain a run for about 50-75 meters before I had to walk for about 25 meters.  Shortly, after the snow bank mentioned above, I had to remind myself to not stop.  I knew there was a chance of stopping resulting in a face plant and I could not let that happen.  The part of the path I was on was very isolated.  Either way I pushed and saw that half mile to go point and I knew it was almost over.  The wind kicked up like it was trying to stop me but in the end I finished up with total victory.  Take that Snowmagedon 2010.  2.6 miles in 46 minutes.  Thats right a 17:35 mile and I think I was fast.  I was expecting an hour or more.

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