Monday, December 6, 2010

Small miracles of balance and strength

Snow run in the mountains near Winthrop, WA
Who knew snow running was so hard?  From the first few steps in the 6-8 inch+ snow I knew I was in for an epic 21 miler. Or really I thought, okay I am ready to stop!  Such silly thoughts... must be ignored.    Each step was a small miracle of balance and strength.  My legs felt tired from the previous days run (11 miles), a regular lack of sleep, and a few months of almost weekly 50Ks.  On top of that, I came into the run a bit unprepared coming from Western Washington's coastal Whidbey Island.  I wore my minimal Inov-8 shoes and just barely kept my feet warm enough during the run.  I admit, I KNEW this was not a good idea.  I still did it.  At one point I asked William and James, so what are the signs of frost bite?  My toes did finally warm up after I put on an extra jacket (thank god) that I brought with me. 

To give you some background, William, James, and I ran close to and on the Sun Mountain trails near Winthrop, WA during Thanksgiving weekend.  Winthrop received half a foot of snow the week before, and the temperatures stayed low enough that the snow remained.  We followed what at times looked like a snow covered trail and at other times looked like a snow covered field or mountain.  I'm not sure how the guys knew where the trail was, but I was glad they did!  A few times William and James had to stop and figure out where the trail was.  At one point James led William and me up a steep mountainside covered in snow, to find the trail a bit farther up.  How many more miles do we have left?

It was quite the adventure despite the many new challenges.  All in all, the run took us 7 hours to go 21 miles.  That's pretty freaking long.  Gives you an idea of the unusual conditions! 
I purchased chains for my car before I attempted Steven's Pass with my Matrix.  I didn't end up needing them, luckily, even though there was snow on the pass and on the east side of the mountains.

Looks coooooold
James in the foreground, William in the background.  The freezing temps made incredible ice art on the grass.
It was pretty difficult to get a grip on the trail with the dry snow, I felt like I was moving forward one and a half steps for every two steps.

The Popsicle

Where is the trail?  James stops to assess the mountainside.

William and James

The Snow Shoes:
Team Photo
Bye Winthrop....Headed home into the sunset.

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