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Balli enjoying the post-blizzard snow.

I don’t shy away from snow.  I’m from upstate New York where blizzards are welcomed and I’ve lived in Vermont where, well, blizzards are welcomed.  I’ve skied since infancy, I ice climb, and I make a damn good snowman.  But now I’m in a bit of ignorant territory: how do you practice a non-winter sport in the heart of winter?  It’s easy to understand how to snap on crampons and carry ice tools to a frozen waterfall, and it certainly makes sense to pop on some skies and follow a slope.  But, running?  In winter?

Spending the holidays in New Hampshire and during a blizzard has made this week’s training a bit difficult … and a bit painful.  Before the blizzard hit, Jeremy and I decided to try a trail run.  Because there was very little snow or ice, we found the run to be enjoyable and not very dangerous.  It was a beautiful day, and aside from Jeremy’s bloody nose (in which he plugged with moss), we had a nice 3-mile run in the woods.  However, later that night as my arches were throbbing and my knees creaked, I started to realize that a frozen trail, even without snow or ice, can be rough on the body.  Because the ground was uneven and frozen, my joints took many hard hits.  I abandoned the trail running in winter idea.

The morning before the blizzard hit I had a solid 4-mile run on the roads of Milford, NH.  Fighting the beginning flurries, I wrapped up the run feeling good but worried that my next run would have to be postponed many days.  The blizzard soon dumped about one foot of snow on Milford (light compared to our surrounding states), and I waited three days to try a winter run again.

To my surprise, snow was not my nemesis.  Instead, that deceitful black ice took no pity on my rubber soles.  After one mile of dodging snow piles and frozen mounds of slush, my right sneaker lost control on a patch of black ice and swung rapidly above my head.  Attempting to catch my fall, I jaggedly landed on my right wrist.  After a few moments of disciplining that patch of ice, I walked my bruised wrist home to pout about my winter running defeat.  Winter 1, Liz 0.

I see now that to start training for a marathon during the heart of winter in the Northeast may have been a bad decision.  And since I cannot afford to put money into a gym membership, I think this battle against winter will be a struggle.  But, on the upside, I will have some spectacular cross-training days.  Like this nice afternoon of snowshoeing in New Hampshire…