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Desperation

Michelle describes her post-blizzard adventures in slush.

When I started training for Boston, I hoped that we'd have a mild winter like last year. I do okay with running in the cold, but let's be honest - it's much nicer to run in the 40- and 50-degree temps that we enjoyed for much of last winter. Not to mention the almost complete lack of snow.

We are not enjoying those conditions this year. Our arctic blast a few weeks ago was brutal. And there have been a few smaller snowstorms already, which have prompted me to head inside to do a lot of my speedwork on the treadmill, rather than risk slipping and sliding on icy roads.

And this week, we got seriously walloped by Blizzard Nemo. I knew it was going to be a big storm, but the predicted snowfall totals kept changing - they started at 10 - 12, and then as Friday approached, they were up to 18 - 24.

Schools were cancelled Friday, but we were able to get out to the gym Friday morning, which was a lifesaver - workout + some alone time for me, and thanks to Kids Gym, a solid hour of running around and bouncing time for the kids. And we were able to get home just before the roads started getting bad.

I was still holding out hope that I'd be able to get my scheduled 13-miler in on Sunday, since the snow was supposed to stop midday Saturday. I figured the main roads would be cleared enough for me to run Sunday afternoon. I figured wrong.

We ended up with just about 2 feet of snow, and that - combined with howling winds - resulted in a lot of downed trees and power lines on top of the snow-covered roads.

We were extremely lucky to only lose our power for a few hours Friday night. In just those few hours, our house had already started to get really cold (and prompted Carmine to ask "Why it is so dark in here?"), and I cannot even imagine the poor people who have been without power for several days - many of them either just getting it back now, or still waiting! 

It's one thing to lose power in the summer or early fall, but at this time of year, when temperatures are in the single digits at night… Like I said, we are counting ourselves as incredibly fortunate that our power came back last Friday night and stayed on.

But as the day went on Saturday, it became increasingly clear that the roads, although they had been plowed, were still pretty disastrous. And virtually nothing had changed as of Sunday morning.

The run wasn't happening. And I was disappointed - and kicking myself for skipping my long run last weekend to run the 5K, but who knew there would be a blizzard this weekend?  I didn't stay mad too long, though - the situation was out of my control, so I just resigned myself to it and tried to remember that a few missed runs won't completely derail my training.

And more importantly - in the grand scheme of things, a missed run was really nothing to complain about, when so many people were in the dark, freezing, and some even unable to get out of their houses because some roads hadn't been plowed at all. We were incredibly lucky, and a missed run was nothing to whine about, so I quickly put my disappointment aside and focused on the positives.

Three days in the house with three kids is very draining, though, and my sanity was in desperate need of a good old-fashioned endorphin rush, so when Scott generously offered to watch the kids during his lunch break today (he works from home) so I could get out for a run, I quickly agreed, despite the fact that the forecast was predicting rain and 40 degrees. 

We enjoyed some playtime in the snow on Sunday, which actually turned out to be a beautiful day - it warmed up to almost 40, which felt warm after temps in the teens on Saturday. And I did get some exercise clearing the driveway (yes, we have a snowblower, but with the amount of snow we had, even with the snowblower, it was a workout!) and making snow forts with the kids, but by Sunday night I was giddy with anticipation of finally getting out for a run.

The caveat was that I'd have to stay in my neighborhood, because the roads in our area were still pretty messy, and going out onto the main roads (with more traffic to contend with) would have been dangerous. I wasn't thrilled with this, as our neighborhood road is a hilly 1.5-mile loop that I'd have to run again and again and again, but it was either that, or not run at all, so I was more than willing to deal with it.

As eager as I was to get out there, though, when the reality of 40 degrees and rainy was staring me in the face, my enthusiasm waned.

But I knew, that with the gym still closed, this was the only chance I had to get in any sort of workout, so I gathered my resolve (and my water-resistant coat) and headed out.

The first few miles were rough, and initially I was actually trying to avoid the puddles, but then I realized how laughable that was - there was no way my feet were staying dry. The first soaking was a shock, but once I got past that and my feet were drenched, there was no turning back. 

I kept moving, having to stop occasionally to pick my way over huge slabs of ice, and turning off to do loops around the cul-de-sacs in the neighborhood, just to add a little bit of interest to my route.

After I had done about 3.5 miles, I heard a snowplow. This was good news, because it meant the road would be much clearer - but it also meant I had to duck into driveways and snowbanks a few times, to get out of the plow's way! 

The rain was still coming down, my feet were beyond soaked, and I was dripping wet from head to toe. I had traversed the same streets and gone up and down the same hills countless times, and I had run half of the hour that I was allotted.

And surprisingly, I was suddenly having fun! I think in weather like that, the absurdity of it all just makes it hard to do anything other than laugh and just go with it. So that's what I did.

I continued circling, and splashing, and at times, wading through puddles that were ankle-deep (or deeper). And even though I was literally running in circles, the hour seemed to be going by too quickly.

As I came up to my house 7.75 miles and 1 hour and 3 minutes later, it was very reluctantly that I stopped. The rain, the puddles, the slush - I wanted more of all of it. Crazy how that happens.

I'd never choose conditions like this, but now I know that if I have to run in them again, I'll be just fine. I'll be more than fine - I'll be great. Because a wet, cold, slushy run is way better than no run at all. 

Nine weeks to go...

For more from Michelle, check out Me and the Boys, her blog, and her Facebook page - For the Love of Running.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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