Tuesday, March 12, 2013


So after all of that whining about wanting to run when I was sick - what do I do on Saturday?

Well, I plan a long run. A loop course that involves the ability to shortcut home early in multiple places in case my post-sick body isn't interested in too long of a run. I planned with a friend for the afternoon so I could sleep in and also do some skiing in the morning with my husband. When I woke up at 6 to let dogs outside (okay, the husband let the dogs out and I woke up and checked out the window) and saw it was sleeting, not snowing, and sadly figured there wouldn't be any skiing in the morning. Back to bed only to wake up later to snow! Yay!

So I'm eating breakfast when my friend calls to say that she's okay with ditching the run. She's not training for anything yet and doesn't feel motivated to run long through gross roads. We decided to make a decision after my ski and husband and I headed for the Spirit Mountain ski trails, which I've never skied before. I actually enjoyed the weather, kind of foggy so you felt all by yourself, snowing in small (and sometimes sharp) flakes. The trails seemed great (though too hilly for my husband's liking) however, the conditions weren't stellar for skiing and the course wasn't well groomed. The poor husband had two inches of snow stuck to the bottom of his skis at all times and had a miserable, slow time of it. For what it's worth, though, my awesome shiny brand new skis did great!

*Sidetrack* I don't think I related that story here but basically, I've been skiing on skis that are too short for me pretty much since I've been skiing (because I wanted skis the same length as my skate skis so I could control them better). I finally got sick of pushing downhill and bought my first ever pair of brand new skis on a nice sale from a spectacular ski store (Itasca Trail Sports) in Grand Rapids. These skis have already been worth buying! It's so great to actually glide! *end sidetrack*

Now, driving to Spirit Mountain gave me a good preview of the road because we took sideroads there instead of the highway as my Jeep was about to hit 100,000 miles and I needed to make sure I was somewhere I could pull over a take a picture! Where there has been traffic, it was wet and slippery. Where there hadn't been much traffic, it was several inches of cold wet slush. The top of the hill (where the vast majority of my loop run was planned) was split pea soup fog. You couldn't even see half a block up by Spirit. Between that and the fact that I had to stop and hack the insides of my lungs out a few times while skiing, I decided that trying to run long just wasn't a good plan. So after Spirit, I dropped the husband off and headed up to Piedmont to do a quick loop there before lunch.

At Piedmont it was more raining than snowing and the tracks leaned more towards icy instead of the sticky I just came from but I managed to do both black diamond mini loops without any real threat of falling. I had fun doing a lap and got absolutely soaked in the process. Luckily, it was quite warm out so it didn't really matter. I almost headed out for another loop but was rather hungry.

Now, at Spirit the parking lot was packed to the brim and overflowing and yet, we only saw three people while we were out there (and two were skiing together). At Piedmont the parking lot was full but not overflowing and I didn't see a single other person out there. Goes to remind me to not be turned away if it looks as though the trails are going to be busy. There's a lot of room out there.

I came in for lunch and watched the rain get heavier and wetter and more gross and tried to rouse the motivation to go ski more in it. I figured if I were skipping my long run, then I definitely had to get out and do one more ski. Happily, as I was finally changing back into ski clothes, the rain changed back to snow.

This time I headed to Snowflake - they had free skiing on Saturday and I wanted to take advantage of it since I haven't skied out there since 7th or 8th grade and hardly remembered it. I brought along both pairs of skis and boots, just in case. When I got there, I strapped on my classic skis, skied up the main hill and didn't see any obvious classic tracks. I decided that meant I was fated to skate ski and so I turned around, skied back down the hill, and switched my boots and skis. Of course, once I got going on the trail proper, there were classic tracks but that's just fine. It was great to skate again.

Now, I haven't been skate skiing in . . . well, not at all last year and I don't think the year before either. So it's been a while. The problem with skate skiing is that there's not really a 'rest' mode of it. In classic, you can just go slow if you get tired. In skate skiing, I think slower might actually be harder. The 5K loop was exhausting! I was skiing a block and then stopping to break and marvel over the different muscles being used admire how beautiful the trails were and what a nice day out it was and then continuing on. I did get better as the ski went on and my muscles remembered how to ignore their own complaining. I skied past someone I know and when she asked how I was, I responded "Exhausted!" and explained I hadn't skated in ages. I then promptly skied back to the car after finishing the loop and switched back to my classic skis again since apparently I wasn't all that exhausted in the end.

By this point, it was REALLY SNOWING. As in, boulders falling down from the sky. It was absolutely gorgeous and I wish I had a camera. Without a hat, I was quickly becoming the Abominable Snow Sam. Of course, when each snowflake is literally a couple inches across, it doesn't take long for that to build up and I was quickly feeling as though I was back country skiing, even though I was in the tracks. When I started slipping out of the tracks because there was so much snow in them, I decided it was time to turn around and head back.

The point of all this being - I seemed to have skipped my long run for a day of skiing. And it was quite an enjoyable trade!

***Coming soon (tomorrow? Thursday?) to a blog near you: Sam gets her Boston race number and gets excited. ****

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