Tag Archives: trail running

Slush and Mud

In case you didn’t know, St Louis got quite a lot of snow this past Sunday! I’ve been told the official measurement at the airport was 13 inches, although some areas got as many as 16!  Regardless of the exact amount, snow on the ground turns running into a whole new ball game.

I’m not one of those maniacs hard-core runners who sees that a blizzard is coming in and decides it’s the perfect time to tie on the running shoes and head outside. No. When I hear there’s snow coming – be it 3 inches or 13 – I start to plan what kind of delicious foods I will enjoy on my warm couch while watching a movie…in my warm house. (cue popcorn and chocolate)

The day the snow arrives, and usually the day after, I take to the treadmill to knock out my miles. I’m not particularly fond of treadmills (except for speedwork) because I get incredibly bored after .3 miles, but it’s better than twisting my ankle on a patch of ice or face-planting in front my neighbor’s house. Desperate times call for desperate measures – and for me that means the treadmill.

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Sunny Day at Forest Park

Monday morning, with somewhere between 10-13 inches of snow outside, I headed to the basement and completed 4 miles of HIIT.

Tuesday morning, I woke up to sunshine and seemingly warmer temperatures. I debated about whether or not the snow would have melted off my favorite running paths by now, and decided to chance it. I was heading to Clayton for a meeting that morning so I threw my running clothes in the backseat and headed over to Forest Park when I was done.

Although I did encounter some pond-sized puddles at several points, most of the 6-mile outer loop was clear – at least from snow and ice. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day for a run. I listened to a couple podcasts as I made my way around the park, and debated a short stop at the zoo as I passed it. I wish I lived just a little closer to Forest Park because I would definitely run there more often!

Gorgeous View at Queeny Park

Gorgeous View at Queeny Park

Wednesday, I decided to venture to yet another park and test my luck on its more “primitive” path. Sure enough, it was clear of most of the snow, but lots of slush and mud remained. My favorite. 😉 As I made my way around the loop, and noticed my shoes getting more and more soaked, I realized that running in mud and slush can actually be quite enjoyable. Or, maybe not enjoyable, as much as adventurous.

Something about hopping over puddles and strategically trying to avoid large patches of slush makes me feel like I could conquer the world. For a moment, I forget I’m 5 minutes from my house, at a small park in the middle of the suburbs, and instead I’m just out in nature, trying to survive keep my shoes as dry as possible.

There’s something satisfying about finishing a run, panting and sweating, and looking down to see mud caked all over your shins and shoes. Usually this is accompanied by soaked socks – which can be annoyingly chilling – but then I remember that I’m just a few minutes from home…complete with hot tea, dry socks, and a warm shower.

Happy Running!

Footprints in the snow

How is it already December 18th?! This season has flown by so quickly! Christmas parties are happening, cookies are being baked, and presents are being wrapped! I still have some Christmas shopping to do, as well as several other “Christmas activities” I want to squeeze in before the 25th! I have yet to do a “Christmas lights run” or go to any drive-through lights displays. I haven’t watched nearly enough Christmas movies or gotten tired of Christmas music yet. I need this month to sloooow down!

This week I’ve been dogsitting for a family friend while they are in Florida! I’m staying at their house, which happens to be 2.80 miles from a beautiful state park! I know this because I ran there on Sunday morning before church to explore! However, I had just down P90X Plyometrics the day before and my calves were pretty tight, so by the time I got to the park, I was pretty tired and decided to turn around and save the exploring for another day. My route back was a little bit longer so I ended up with exactly 6.00 miles when I got back to the house! We’ve had crazy-warm weather here in St Louis lately, considering it’s December, but I’m not complaining! I love being able to take off on a run without 5 layers of thermal shirts and leggings. 😛

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This morning I headed back to the park to tackle the trails! I had such a great time exploring the cliffs and bluffs and jumping over tree roots and rocks. Every time I do a trail run, it makes me wish I had access to more trails near my house! Trail runs are a great way to get out in nature, enjoy the peace and quiet, and disconnect from phones and computers. I always feel so refreshed after a trail run, I love it!

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About a half mile into my run, I spotted a beautiful doe just 20 yards ahead of me on the trail! The trails were hilly and muddy, winding through the woods and ravines. I felt adventurous and free as I powered up the hills and flew down the other side.

I’d accidentally left my earbuds at home so I didn’t have any iPod accompaniment on this run, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I also didn’t use my GPS watch at all, so I had no concept of pace or time. Amazing. I need to unplug more often for “naked runs” because it’s always so cleansing and relaxing!

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When I did finally make it back to my car, I was covered in mud, but happy and content. Settled. Peaceful. Refreshed. Is it possible that a simple run in the woods can do all of that for me? I’ll take it! 🙂

I’m off to study for the afternoon with a doggie on my lap and a mug of Candy Cane Green Tea beside me. 🙂

Merry Christmas!

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