Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Yak Trax...A Must-Have for Mid-West Winter Running

Yesterday, I hoped to get in a 20 mile long run on my day off. My initial plan was to do 6 or so outside, then the rest on the treadmill. I thought it might be too cold and nasty out to spend 3.5 hours outside, but one hour seemed reasonable. Given all the recent snow and ice in Chicago, I thought Yak Trax were in order. For those of you unfamiliar (either because you live in a temperate climate or aren't crazy enough to run outside in wintry conditions), Yak Trax are rubber contraptions w/ metal pieces for grip that you put on the bottom of your shoes. They work really well for running or walking over ice and hard packed snow. I highly recommend them. Two caveats however:

--They are very hard to get on your shoes. Very hard. Getting these on my shoes yesterday was the hardest part of my run! Therefore I recommend choosing one pair of shoes that you put them on and leave them on for the season.

--They can be really slick on indoor surfaces (tile floors, etc) since it's metal on the botttm, so be careful!

I also recommend them for older adults to prevent falls on the driveway etc, but you better put them on your Grandma's shoes for her!

Back to my run....so I threw on (and by that I mean pulled, tugged, struggled, sweat, had to take off layers of clothes due to overheating while putting on) my Yak Trax and headed outside. It was actually very pleasant out in my multiple layers of clothes. Being cold was not a problem depsite the 15 deg weather. The word I would use to describe the run overall is....awkward. The terrain varied from no snow (which is wierd to run on in Yak Trax) to hard pack snow and ice (perfect for Yak Trax) to thick, slippery slush to powder too deep to even run on. Needless to say, it was slow going. Very slow going. Almost 11:00 min miles. Yikes! It felt slow and I was never short of breath.

1st I headed out to the Northerly Island loop. Slush, slush, slush on the way out there, but the loop itself was great! Hard packed snow, I had the place to myself. Just me and the crunch, crunch under my feet. But the loop is only 1.3 miles so I couldn't stay there forever. So I headed down towards Oakwood St Beach. I was feeling great, so decided to try to get in at least 10 miles outside. Around mile 5.5 I started to feel a bit thirsty, so I turned around to head back intending to do the same path in reverse. Everything was still going fine until I was back at Northerly Island, near mile 7. I all of the sudden got very, very, very hungry. And thirsty. And weak feeling. Still not short of breath, no leg discomfort, just a desperate need to eat and drink stat.

Unfortunately, I was still 3 miles from home. I didn't stop running because I knew that wouldn't get me to food and water any faster. I slowly, slowly trudged home, still running though. During a particularly slushy part, I tripped so I walked for a while because I was starting to get that tunnel vision thing. Not good.

I eventually made it home (covered 11.3 miles total), unscathed, grabbed an orange and some water and sat on the floor tyring to get those carbs in me as fast as possible. Needless to say, I lost motivation to finish the rest of the run on the 'mill. So I did laundry instead.

Attempt #2 will be Friday. Don't worry, I'll bring my Nathan water backpack and plenty of goo chomps this time!

1 comment:

  1. Oh, the mid-run bonk. I know it well, because I am not very good at mid-run refueling! Hopefully your next attempt goes off without a hitch, and I am very grateful to live far enough south that I don't need Yak Trax! :)