I never bother to look out the window in the morning before I run - I'm always too intent on getting up and out before the lazy part of me can pipe up and offer the argument that more sleep sounds better. But these days I DO check the weather as soon as (or sometimes before) I am upright, cuz details matter as the temperature drops. This morning it was the usual (as of late) temperature at 4:30 AM: 22 degrees. The difference between today and some other days: humidity was at 80%. That reads to me as COLD so I finally dug my mittens out and put them on over my gloves, and I made sure to wear the heavy wool socks and not just the little skinny ones.
I stepped out the door to: SNOW! Not just the little dusting like I experienced earlier this week...this was accumulated snow on the ground, on the sidewalk, on the street, everywhere I stepped. SNOW! YAY!!! My favorite part of it, being so early in the morning, was that much of what I stepped on was snow that had not been touched at all. No people tracks, no animal tracks, no tire tracks, no nuttin'...beautiful. That brings out the child in me. I caught myself expressing my joy aloud more than once (and people, noises DO NOT come out of me at that hour of the morning, so you KNOW I was loving it!)
The snow, it turns out, heightens my awareness of the incline on which I am travelling. The way it goes is after I walk out my back door, during the 5ish warmup minutes I am climbing an extremely steep hill. Then the first half of my run is more or less downhill. I mean, it has a couple of mostly flat spots, but even THEY are slightly inclined, and then the rest of it is more notably A HILL, though admittedly a gently sloping one. Since the first half is mostly downhill...then, you understand, the second half when I turn around is inherently UPhill. It's something I notice in the amount of effort it requires of me, even in clear weather. The running downhill part on the snow this morning was just flat FUN (though I ran slower than usual, being cautious not to slip and fall). The running uphill part...WOW. I can't believe how much more effort it takes just to lift my feet that tiny half-inch higher. Definitely took away my breath a bit more, and apparently my abdominal muscles must do some of the work for stepping higher, cuz they were feeling the burn by the end of the run.
Hey, that's GOOD news!
There were 2 awkward parts of the run. The first was that about 3 minutes into it, I stepped in a puddle I didn't see at a corner. I'm still running in mesh shoes, having not yet found winter running shoes. So...my foot was VERY WET, right away. That turned out not to be such a big deal. It was pretty cold for about 2 minutes, and then warmed back up. Interestingly, every time my foot found a new source of moisture, my foot would be cold again for 1-2 minutes...and then it would warm up again. Weird. But manageable. (There must have been plenty of moisture out there...my pants, because they are getting a little too big, are a little too long...and they were wet clear to the knees by the time I got home.) <<--YEAH I said my pants are getting too big...and I SMILED when I said it!
The other awkward part of the run was actually when I was done running, during the cooldown walk. I always cut across a very steeply inclined ditch to get to and from my building to the street. Coming back down that ditch, I took a fall (which I guessed was probably going to happen) as soon as I started downhill. It's really of no consequence...falling in snow on grass is just fun, not hurtful. So I got up with my whole bottom half coated in snow and inched my way sideways down the hill. I don't know if I'll continue doing that daily, or will take the long way around, through the driveway. I'm pretty lazy. There will probably be more winter falls, before all is said and done.