24 February 2014

The Springing of February - 23 Feb 2014

Yesterday's run around Saratoga Spa State Park was a lovely combination of wet pavement, icy pavement, water-logged pavement, and mud.  My favorite, though, was when the ice and water worked together.  It came in two distinct forms: standing water over hard ice, and standing water with chunks of ice floating in it.  The latter was, by far, the strangest thing I've run through in a long time.

Water on hard ice along Putnam Road.

I first encountered it along the bike path, where it cuts between the apartments along Route 50 and the golf course.  There was a short stretch of it, and it was very much like the inside of a cooler that started the day full of ice and had sat out in the sun for the rest of the day.  It even made the same sound that the ice in the cooler makes as you root around to find a refreshment.  The first stretch was short: long enough to make me take notice, but not so long that it really bothered me.  I had been running through water on and off for the entire trip, so it wasn't really a problem, it was just odd.

As I got over to the crosswalk for Railroad Run, I decided to pop over and check it out.  I had seen bits and pieces of it from driving around, and I knew it was roughly a mile long, that it went past the Y, and that ended over by West Circular.  Little did I know.  The first stretch started out great.  The pavement was wet, yet free of standing water, and it was pleasant.  Conditions were the same after the next street crossing, and even though there were some massive puddles near the intersection, I didn't think much of it.

Around the halfway point, I came to another stretch of standing water with chunks of ice in it.  The water was deep, at least an inch, and as I ran through it I kicked massive quantities of water up onto the bottom of the jacket that was tied around my waist.  (Where my phone was, of course.)  This stretch was longer: at least 100 feet, and immediately after it there was another stretch of equal length, and then another.  Each stretch was long enough that my feet started to go numb.  My feet had been warm up to this point; despite the standing water that I had been running through on and off throughout my run, my feet had warmed up by the 1k mark and hadn't felt cold since.  Now they were dangerously cold.  Mercifully they warmed up quickly after the last ice bath, but there was no way that I was going to repeat that.  I decided to run on the streets back to the last crossing instead of another turn through the ice bath.

The rest of the run was typical.  My shoes (Brooks PureFlow 2) did better than I expected them to on the ice.  One stretch along the bike path, between the dance museum and the Avenue of the Pines, was solid ice with water over it, and I was kicking myself for not bringing my YakTrax along with me, but I was able to navigate it fine, all things considered.  I slowed down a bit and kept my stride short, and I felt stable.  Nervous, but stable.  All told I felt myself lose traction only a few times on the run, and it wasn't so bad that I feared falling.

All told this was a good run.  I managed to go 50 minutes without taking a walk break; I'm fairly certain that's a record for me, or very close to the record.  I have a goal of being able to run 60 minutes without take a walk break that I hope to complete very soon.

Until next time, be excellent to each other.

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