Barefoot Monologues

A Journey of the Sole

Fear Conquering: My First Winter Trail Run

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I just completed my first ever trail run in the snow! I’m very excited that it didn’t kill me, as once presumed.

Here’s the stats:

  • Number of miles planned: 4.5 to 6
  • Number of miles completed: 5.2
  • Number of 1.5 mile out and backs: 3 and change
  • Average pace: ~13:00 (I was being cautious, don’t judge)
  • Number of people I shared the trail with: 0
  • Number of ominously creaking trees on the side of the trail: 2
  • Number of times my feet slid on the ice beneath the snow: 3
  • Number of times I fell on my ass: 0
  • Number of times I twisted my ankle: 0
  • Number of whole dead branches Oscar unearthed and dragged with him: 6
  • Number of branches Oscar hit me with: 3
  • Number of times Oscar peed on the side of the trail: 5
  • Number of times I peed on the side of the trail: 1
  • Number of natural toilet paper options on snowy New England trails: 0
  • Number of new muscles that introduced themselves today: 3
  • Number of times I wished I was in San Diego: 0

The trail I run is so flat because it used to be a railroad route. See? That's one of the railcars that got stuck here. Just kidding, it's there for show..

This was a lot of fun! Last winter I was sure there would be no way to survive running on the snow, but it is possible with the right shoes. I had to find a place to try out my new VivoBarefoot Neo Trails (full review coming), so for the first time in my adult life, I was glad to see snow.

This is the paved trail I usually run. Today I decided to skip it.

This is the unpaved trail, to the left of the paved one. It just looked more inviting today.

One thing I didn’t realize before about running winter trails is that the snow coats everything and evens out the ground, for the most part. I felt very few rocks and sticks underfoot, and the ground was actually more predictable than regular trails. Either that or I was being so cautious not to slide on the ice that the uneven ground didn’t affect me much. It’s definitely a great workout for my ankles and legs, and it’s pretty much impossible to let your form slip if you don’t want to end up ass-first on the ground.

My feet didn't slip in the Neo Trails. Please ignore the ankle brace on my right foot. Again, being cautious.

I was definitely VERY slow, though. This was the first time I’d run this trail since the day I sprained my ankle on it in October, so it felt a bit like playing with fire. I was barely out of breath for most of the run, but I didn’t care because it was so enjoyable. I didn’t take my music with me, and I wasn’t bored because of it. I learned that the trail was only .75 miles long, exactly, so I could complete 3 out-and-backs for 4.5 miles, or 4 for 6 miles. I wanted to hit 6 because I was feeling great, but as I started the 4th lap I noticed my dog’s tail was low and he was slowing down. I inspected his paws and he had 3 cuts on his front ones from sliding on the ice. Poor guy. So we turned around and went back a little early. I wonder if he would agree that “barefoot is best.”

Oscar taking a nap in the computer room when we got back home. Run: 1 Dog: 0

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3 thoughts on “Fear Conquering: My First Winter Trail Run

  1. Awesome! That’s funny as I did 5.5 mi this morning on a snowy/icy trail… in my Neo Trails also! I am really growing to like them with every run… they stay warm.. and the traction is good. Awaiting the 2012 Trail and Road Gloves from Merrell any day now, so looking forward to comparing the Trail Glove to the Neo Trails.

    I ran on a lot of packed ice today, and normally I throw Yaktrax on, but I didn’t today… just took it easy. I think running on slippery stuff is a great core workout… something about dancing along light footed and balancing that works your abs :-). Anyway, loved reading the post… as you know I am hooked on trail running.. just love being out in the woods… great job!

    • I don’t have any Merrell contacts to try their products, otherwise I’d be able to compare them. So far I’ve only tried the pace gloves and they’re so stiff and narrow I’m giving them away to a friend with less wide feet. I look forward to seeing how you like the new ones, though. I’m starting to really prefer trail running these days. Although there are less and less actual trails around here now, as they’re starting to pave everything for bikes. Boo. Thanks for reading!

  2. Pingback: Picking it up again | Renny Rambles

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