Freezing Temps, Snow Bank Hurdling, and Puddle Jumping- The Blizzards of 2015

For my whole life I can remember my parents talking about the Blizzard of ’78 like it was some kind of Armageddon they were worried they wouldn’t survive. Their stories of mountains of snow and being trapped inside for days were exciting at first, but sooner or later I’d roll my eyes, sigh, and mumble something about how that would never happen these days.  

I have been proven wrong.

Man of the Mountain [of snow]!

Man of the Mountain [of snow]!

This winter we’ve experienced the most insane weather I can ever remember. I think one’s perspective of snow changes as they get older, and their hope for more snow days turns to hatred for more shoveling.  I have to imagine even kids are getting sick and tired of the boredom of another day off. It’s like when summer vacation gets old, except instead of sunny, warm August afternoons, we are facing frigid 6am shoveling marathons that result in tears and unnecessary carb loading to quell those tears.

As a runner, I’ve realized I view winter differently than I did in my pre-running days as well. As the temps dwindle I find myself perusing running apparel websites like a hawk, looking for anything labeled “water-wicking.” Suddenly I have a completely new wardrobe of hats, gloves, balaclavas, and wool pants. I have 40 packs of hand-warmers from Amazon and shoes with pegs on the bottom to prevent slipping. I also find myself asking anyone and everyone “Is that street runnable?” Or, “Have you seen the Southwest Corridor?” This is information I need to know, and I need to know it now. I stalk weather.com and the weather App on my phone, critiquing, comparing, and criticizing every prediction as if it were a cancer diagnosis. Except that it is nowhere near as important and terrible as cancer; it’s just the weather and I have gone crazy.

I think what has troubled me the most during these past weeks of snow is the real sense of independence I have lost, and the feeling of claustrophobia that has replaced it. I have been stripped of my ability to get places easily. No car, can’t bike (I tried, my tires did not follow my lead), and God help the poor folks on the MBTA. As a runner, I feel like I can’t use my legs the way they want to be used. Pavement feels like this weird and wonderful experience that is brief and fleeting. Most of the time I am running on ice and snow, slipping around and unable to accelerate like those dreams people have when they want to run but their legs are like lead. Occasionally I stomp in a puddle, and freezing water soaks through to my toes making a terrible sucking sound as I run onward, cringing.

Thank you Arboretum for being safe and clean to run on!

Thank you Arboretum for being safe and clean to run on!

I am an optimist, and thus, I try to parse out the good in situations, even if my mood takes a minute to catch up. Some psychologists suggest that framing the way you think about a person, situation, or event can have a profound impact on your reactions and feelings about that element. In the spirit of this, I am trying to see the good in this winter; the valuable things I have learned, the precious things that have kept me going, and the hope given by the fact that daylight savings is March 8th and spring is only a few weeks after that. When all else fails, I try to remember that I am a certified bad-ass for trying to stay fit and have fun in this winter of mayhem. I am also a member of a pack of other certified bad-ass Forest Hills Runners, who prove time and again that we all have the strength to be amazing and we can lean on each other for that extra “oomph” when we need it.

What is one thing you have learned running in the Blizzards of 2015?

One thing I've learned running in the blizzards is that cold is a relative term. Running in 30 degree weather this weekend felt almost spring-like, something I never would have thought possible when I first started running! I've also learned that I am far more capable and much tougher than I thought, and that finishing a run in snow, wind, and ice feels incredibly satisfying and exhilarating. - Alicia

Look at Boston...buried in 7ft of snow.

Look at Boston...buried in 7ft of snow.

Be adaptable and tailor your workouts to what the conditions allow for. Speed up on the treadmill or crush a spin workout, you won’t regret it. – Marc

You really are going to be warmer than you think you will be. The biggest battle is getting out the door and overcoming the mental block of winter. Also, some days are okay to pass on running outside. Stay active other ways, but don’t place all this crazy guilt on yourself if you skip a day (just make sure its only a day).  – Katie

It’s more fun to run in the snow. There is no way I’d go alone without the team [Forest Hills Runners]. - Lexi

 

What is one thing that has kept you going through the Blizzards of 2015?

FHR!! I know I need to be seeing people instead of burrowing into my couch; it’s really the only thing that gets me out. – Lauren

Two days ago I put on my Boston Strong scarf (from the church on Boylston last year) for additional strength and inspiration. – Jenn G

Boston Marathon 2014

Boston Marathon 2014

Knowing that the rewards of carbs and wine are sweet indeed, and they are waiting for me to get warm and cozy after my workout. – Katie

Knowing that my FHR friends are counting on me! – Rebekah

As cheesy as it sounds, the one thing that's kept me going has been FHR; having a group of friends who are all supportive, encouraging, and dedicated makes the blizzard-running experience not only doing, but fun! I have wonderful memories of running down an empty Huntington Ave, climbing snow banks, and making pit-stops for beer and food at James' Gate and Canary Sq., and all of these have happened in the past 3 weeks! It's really the community and the atmosphere of support (and a slight bit of peer pressure and FOMO!) that has kept me going! – Alicia

Fear of missing out, far of losing fitness, and the desire to not allow nature to “win.” - Marc

My motivation was the FOMO on super fun FHR time :) - Aleta

 - Each week we will be updating this blog with personal stories from fellow runners, race recaps, training tips, recipes, and more! If you are interested in becoming a blog contributor, please contact Katie Merrill at merrill.kathryn@gmail.com for more information. And remember, as Owen says, Be Amazing! -

Posted on February 24, 2015 .