Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Freezing Rain...and Ultrarunning

After several days of political or otherwise non-ultra posts, let's get back to basics, shall we?  As in running and shoes and weather (all photos by Gary).

Well, the post title is kinda a misnomer.  It's not Ultrarunning, strictly--this post is more about just plain running.  Because when we have freezing rain as we did on Tuesday and is happening again today, I cannot imagine even thinking about any back country trail running.

But if you are braver than me and want to tackle icy trails, I do understand it. has been discussed many times on the UltraList, some years back I went ahead and created some semi-slip proof running shoes by screwing in a number of 1/2" hex head screws.  The screws go around the perimeter of the bottom of the shoe.  It's best to use a nut driver or socket, because a screwdriver would slip out of the screw head pretty easily as you try to torque the screw down.

For me, both the heel screws and the forefoot screws are equally important: the heel because I am a heel striker and need a solid grip as my foot comes down.  And the forefoot, because that's how I push off for the next stride.

Tuesday morning I was out the door at 5:30 AM as I needed to be back to begin teleworking at 6:30.  I knew there had been some freezing rain overnight, so I busted out my old Adidas Trail Response shoes that I only keep for ice running. In running my Harshman Road 5 mile loop, I was quite surefooted and really never had any instances of needing to catch myself.

I bet the drivers of the 5 cars that passed me thought I was nuts.  But I was in heaven, tooling along with my arms out like an airplane, enjoying myself like an ebullient drunk (I did not do the arm thingy when seen).

I know that all runners have a stash of shoes that are not quite wrecked or worn enough to toss, but for that very reason are never worn anymore either.  Go ahead and get pair ready for ice.

When I say "for ice" I am being literal.  I should point out that these studded shoes really don't help appreciably on snow.  I find that a pair of trail shoes with an aggressive tread is much better for snow running.

And then when you get home, you take off your wet duds, hang them by the woodstove, pet the cats, and life is mighty good.


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