Snow jogging!

Last month I had the opportunity to practice what I call "an exercise in lateral stabilization." In other words I got to go jogging in the snow! We typically get 1 or 2 snow events every year. 

Side bar: Come on, you Northwest folks! Quit calling it "inclement"! It isn't inclement if it happens every year, which it almost always does! Every 10 years or so we get an El Niño year where it doesn't snow (2004?) but this was certainly not that kind of year. Now back to the show...

The snow scenes are really beautiful and tranquil-

View of the marsh south of Allen Lake in Sammamish, WA.I have a few favorite routes for jogging that I use for training. They are all out-and-back routes with moderate hills, except for my "hill climb" route which has a pretty major climb in it. I like the out-and-back routes because I can make them as long or short as I want to tailor to my specific time needs in my training schedule. This particular route has a couple of short climbs that approach 6% but never more than about a 1/4 mile.

The sidewalks and trails were only covered by about 2" of snow and slush which was melting a bit. That made it relatively easy to traverse. I was actually going faster than my training buddy: my 10-year-old son. He decided to accompany me on his mountain bike. The snow and slush made for slow going for him. On the up-hill sections he decided to walk up rather than attemp to stand up on his pedals.

The snow covered sidewalk along 244th Ave. NE in Sammamish just west of Allen Lake.The lateral stabalization came from making sure that my feet were not coming out from under me as I jogged along. Each step would slide just a little bit before settling in, allowing me to push off. The entire course was like this with only a few breaks. Even the pipeline trail was a mess.

The pipeline trail covered in snow in Sammamish, WA.In the end the snow significantly reduced my pace. My average time per mile is usually in the 8:30-9:45 range but in this case it was well above 11:00. 

Minutes per Mile      
Summary 39:34.8 3.46 11:27
1 11:15.2 1.00 11:15
2 11:19.0 1.00 11:19
3 11:52.4 1.00 11:52
4 5:08.2 0.46 11:11 

Just this past week I was reading one of my favorite Tri blogs, Ray over at DC Rainmaker. He wrote up a great article about jogging in the snow/ice because the "other Washington" gets a lot more snow than we do and it sticks around a lot longer. This one little tidbit would have saved me a lot of slipping, sliding, and near agony...


"For icy conditions, I use Yaktrax.  They cost about $20-$35 (for running ‘Pro’ model), and completely and totally rock.  And while they work well in snow, they don’t quite work as well in deeper snow.  Meaning that while it doesn’t hurt to have them on, I actually don’t find them necessary since fluffy snow has pretty good traction.  Their forte is really icy conditions that you can’t get a good grip on. I’ve run countless runs on otherwise nasty icy roads with them and wouldn’t trade them for anything." 

Well, you live you learn. Maybe I'll buy a set to use next year.