Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Braving The Snow

I am a seasoned snow runner, having had the good fortune to grow up in Wisconsin. I was visiting my family there when the Boxing Day blizzard hit the Northeast this year -- scheduled to return to Brooklyn on 12/26... rescheduled to 12/30. We had about 3 feet of snow on the ground in southwest Wisconsin and everything was functioning business-as-usual. So, ironically, I was not snowed IN Wisconsin, but I was snowed OUT of New York.

I took the extra time on the farm to put in some snow mileage, not only in my running shoes, but also on snow shoes and cross-country skis. In high school this was how I trained from the end of cross country season in the fall to the start of track season in the spring. I could count on a heavy covering of snow on the ground continuously from November to April. It's what I miss most about the place.

Every year I start dreading the winter as soon as the leaves start falling. You'll see me running in denial, I mean shorts, until the temperatures are well down into the 30s. But every year, winter running wins me over. This year has been no exception. When I make it out the door in my heavy layers, I revel in the surrounding silence amplifying the crunch of my shoes in cold, crisp snow and the sounds of my breathing; deep breaths of cold air that render the shape and volume of my lungs inside my chest. The heavily edited palette of the world makes the mundane magical; the sky is never more blue that when everything below it is coated in a diamond dusting of pure white snow.

This is no spring crush. My love of running endures through seasons and conditions when it holds no obvious appeal. I feel joy even as my eyelashes frost up and my fingers and toes get so cold they start to feel warm again. Let the fair-weather fitness enthusiasts, the gym rats and the couch potatoes say that runners are crazy. I suppose they're right.  By Jennifer Bolstad

     "A  Magical Ending "   It began as a dinner date  at a Mexican restaurant called El Charro  in Greenwich Village. It was snowing heavily that Friday winter eve in 1978, but my date and I decided the snowfall would add to the romantic mood. By the time I dropped her off in Brooklyn Heights the snow was tapering off; it had left a good four to six inches on the ground , it was well past midnight, and waiting for the infrequent bus or train back to Park Slope seemed a dubious option. So having finished the 1977 NYC Marathon, and in training for the Winter Series  I decided to run back home. The streets were silent. The snow, slowly whirling down,reflected in the street lights made me think of the movie Dr. Zhivago, I began to hear the theme from the movie keeping time to my every footfall  as I headed down Pacific Street towards Fourth Avenue. The silence was beautiful; my imagination saw covered tree branches as all sorts of forest creatures. The stillness was only broken by the sounds of my footfalls. The whole world was wrapped in a deep Winter's sleep. As I ran up the hill on Union street, approaching my destination I was gratified for the opportunity to finish off a wonderful evening with such a peaceful run through such pristine surroundings, but saddened that as I shook off the snow from my shoes and clothes it had come to an end. By Paul/Soave

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