Posts Tagged ‘white cane’

Winter Running – Obstacle Course

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Winter Running – Winter Obstacle Course

So, how goes the winter running now that our big snow storm of 2012  is a distant memory….NOT!  

With over 16 inches of snow in the main event, not a distant memory at all.

Here it is over two weeks later, and there are still quite a few tricky winter obstacles for me to be on the alert for whilst on my winter runs. One very obvious obstacle is ice in all its forms – from black ice to sleet falling from the sky to ice puddles and everything in between.

The morning temps have been in the mid 20’s F, so I know there is going to be ice when I run to work.

And by the time the afternoon rolls around, the temperatures have jumped up a bit into the high 30’s F to sometimes even low 40’s F. So we do have a significant amount of melting of the enormous amounts of snow we received.  Which means winter running is defined as slushy and sloppy in the afternoons, and treacherous and slick in the a.m.

Snow berms created by the plows are another potential tripping hazard. For me it is sometimes hard to see how big, and wide they are when trying to cross over them to get to the street crossing. But I use my white cane to poke and prod at them until I feel I can step on and over them safely.

Of course, the constant freezing and thawing and rain and freezing and thawing and snow always keeps the footing a question mark. Now that I am able to run in the mornings again, I have been wearing my cleats to help keep me upright.

With all of the obstacles thrown at me recently, it kind of reminds me of that ABC show “Wipeout” where they throw obstacle after hazard after spine-jarring spill at the contestants who actually volunteer for that kind of abuse.  (I imagine chiropractors can’t even watch that show for the horror of the trauma voluntarily imposed upon their bodies.)

There is one obstacle that threw me for a loop a few mornings ago.  As I was running down the very clear and easy-to-navigate bike path across town, I noticed that there was some snow in the middle of the path.

Well since I don’t have much 3D vision left, it is always best that I go around things in the path, but for some reason, I don’t know what it is about seeing something, and feeling I have to step on it?

But can you say, “Snow Boulder?”

Yep, a huge chunk of snow had broken off from the large snow bank along the side of the path and rolled right into the middle of the trail.

But I didn’t see it that way. I just saw a white patch on the black asphalt – and of course, I was thinking it was just snow on the trail – not a monstrous ball of snow standing sentry in the middle of the path.

Luckily for me it was so big, I just kind of fell on top of it. Yes, I know you can visualize it, kind of belly flat across it, arms flailing, very startled and amazed that this thing could just kind of sneak up and do me that way.

So I casually-self-consciously stood up, wondering whether anyone got to see such a fabulous display of grace and style, nothing battered but my fantasy of myself as a graceful gazelle, bounding beautifully across the open plains.

But it’s the small snow/ice chunks that are more dangerous to my life and limb, as those ones will send me flying in a more impactful way!

Anyway, I used my Herculean strength and rolled the icy snow boulder off the path, so no one else would fall victim to its hypnotic beckoning to run straight into it.

Yes, I admit – it was larger than life.

But that’s me; I like to run into big things. Just see my blog post entitled “Don’t Worry, The Bridge Is Still Standing” and you’ll see what I mean.

How ‘bout it?

- Vision Runner


Sunday Ice-y Running

Monday, January 30th, 2012

On Sunday I decided to try out the trail that heads over towards downtown where I work. I knew some of the city sidewalks to get there were still snow covered and icy.

But it had been close to two weeks since we dug out of our 16 plus inches of snow, and I was curious about the condition of actual bike trail where I like to run. I know that they usually try to keep it pretty clear for bicyclists and pedestrians and runners to have an easy path across town.

So I put on my running shoes and the ice cleats I bought for times when the path is not so clear and dry, and of course, my flashers – oh my!

So the going was still pretty torturous, I mean treacherous –  okay either works in this situation, as I had to go very slow and watch out for…err  rather, “feel” for chunks of snow and ice with my white cane. I knew that they were there just waiting to trip me up and slip me up!

But once I got to the bike and pedestrian trail, it was smooth running, as they did a great job of clearing it.

So, yay!! I got in 12 miles on Sunday, running the bike trail and skating the sidewalks.

Our local running club “Run Wild Missoula” was out doing 13 miles that day, and as I was out running in the same area, I got a big hug from Tim from the Runner’s Edge, our local running store.

It was great to see him. He helped me across some tricky snow berms at the crosswalks. “Thanks, Tim!”

The forecast is for warmer temps, so the route should dry up even better. And maybe the holdouts will actually clear their sidewalks like they’re supposed to (but probably not.)  But the warmer weather means by week’s end I could be back on my normal morning running schedule, albeit with soggy sockies and shoes!

How ‘bout it?

-Vision Runner

Starting The New Year Right!

Friday, January 6th, 2012

A few months ago I listened to Jim Fixx’s book “The Complete Book of Running”
And even though it was written over 30 years ago and it was dated, I still enjoyed it quite a bit.

One thing that really struck a chord with me was when he was discussing the concept that if you’re passionate about running, you will find ways to do it.

Well that got me thinking. . .

Ever since I started working the day shift at the hospital, my running has been limited to the weekends and the occasional day off. I didn’t necessarily appreciate that fact. 

Thinking about it though, I realized that I was doing a lot of walking to and from work: about 6 miles round trip. So I thought, “Why not run?”

Okay, well I could run to work but I knew I would not be satisfied with a measly little ol’ 3 mile run. That was almost not worth getting dressed for – although notice I said “almost.” Of course if that’s all I could run, I’d take it. J

But I thought if I got up a wee bit early, I could run a few more miles before the 3 miles to work.

When I was processing all of this, it was already November. So when I decided to try this, the days were getting shorter and shorter all the time!

So how early could I get up and run safely? It’s a tricky thing with my eyesight (or lack thereof.) Too dark and I can’t see a thing!

But morning twilight was just before 7:30 a.m.  I knew if I could see well enough, I could get in 5 extra miles before running the 3 miles to work, giving me a total of 8 miles, and then 3 miles back home after work. Now that’s what I’m talking about!  Yea, this could work!

Now I had to find a way to shower all the running off me before mixing in with the general population.  If I listened to Jim Fixx, well, he didn’t think it was a problem to smell a little sweaty. But sorry Jim, I just can’t do it! I have to face patients and their families and co-workers and of course, myself all day long. I much prefer smelling sweet as a tropical fruit salad to sweaty as an 8 mile runner.

Fortunately I work at a hospital that has a Fitness Center. For $20 a month, I could use the showers as well as the Fitness Center itself.

I really didn’t need to use the fitness equipment, just the showers. And score, the Fitness Center provided clean towels as well!

So I put my plan into action, and joined the Fitness Center, and the next day I got up before 7 a.m.

I had my pre-run meal of yogurt, and then proceeded to put all my blinking lights on – a total of 4, in red, green, blue and white. Yes I was a flashing fool, but thought it better to be seen as a flasher, then a fool!

I made out quite nicely on my run, as I could see fairly well. I was even able to time it so I could still stop and get my beloved lunch bagel at my favorite bagel place, “Bagels on Broadway.”

I had put a package of instant oatmeal in my running pack, so I could replenish my glycogen stores when I got to work.

As I write this, it’s been almost 2 months since I started running to and from work, and I feel great! I love the fact that I get to run almost every day.

I have run in temperatures as low as 9 degrees F, and my water had ice cubes in it when I got to work! But since I know how to dress for the cold weather, I stayed pretty toasty.

The only part of me that gets really cold is my hands. I was thinking I never had this problem in the past, but then I realized I didn’t have to run in such cold temps before, as my work schedule didn’t limit when I could run.

But not to worry about my fingers, as T’s mom and dad made me some really awesome hand warmers. They are filled with seed corn, and when you place them in the microwave oven for a couple of minutes they come out oh so nice and warm. I hold one in my left hand, and the other wraps around my right hand (that’s the one that I use my white cane with) custom made for me!

These corn bags have been a lifesaver, as I don’t think I could have run in such cold temps without them!

I really like it when it snows about an inch or two. The path I run on is asphalt and therefore the snow melts off pretty fast, leaving white edges in the grass and on the side of the trail. This gives me a great visual field: a black path with white borders! I wish it was like that all the time, then I could run faster and without the need of my cane so much.

Because of the angle of light and the frequency of having my black on white path, winter running can be some of the best and fastest runs I have.

All this running has made it possible for me to have the highest weekly mileage since I have been a runner. The last part of December I had 70 miles total for the week! Some might think it’s crazy to run that much, but I love, love , LOVE It!

So what is your passion? What is keeping you from doing everything possible to make sure you are able to enjoy and do what you love to do?

Make 2012 a “NO Excuses” year!

How ‘bout it?

-Vision Runner