Character builder

Cleveland Metro Parks

Thankful for YakTrax

Blogging? What is that? After a week off, I am rusty! But it’s been a good break–no blogging, no commenting on blogs, and very little interaction on my other platforms. I think in three years of writing this site, that’s the longest I’ve ever gone. But I’m back, batteries recharged and ready to dig into 2013.

We spent part of our holiday break in the Cleveland area, visiting family. I grew up there, so I know a thing or two about snow. But I’ve lived my entire adult life, which includes my entire running life, on the East Coast, where snow isn’t quite as plentiful. I guess you could say I’ve become a weather wimp–and Saturday’s long run was no day for a wimp!

We arrived in Ohio on Thursday, the day after they received a good, heavy dose of snow. Friday I took a spin class at the local rec center, but Saturday, I knew I wanted to get in 12 to 14 miles. I thankfully brought along yak trax, ’cause they were necessary! When I stepped outside into the cold, dark morning, it was clear there was new snow on the ground and more was coming. My parents live about two miles away from the local metro parks pathways, so I barely made forward progress ran that direction. Once I got to the paths, the going wasn’t terrible, because the parks system had cleared them a few days back. But still…

Cleveland Metro Parks

Never been happier to finish a run!

Running in heavy snow is tiring, people! And being pelted with it the entire run is no fun either. It seemed like the longest, lonelinest run ever. I didn’t see any other runners (do Cleveland runners stay on treadmills all winter?) and only a couple of dog walkers here or there. To top it off, I had no water with me (dummy didn’t think ahead) and to sum it all up–it was an exhausting run! The final two miles, where I was forced onto the quite often un-shoveled sidewalks into shin-deep snow, were like trudging through quicksand. I was very happy to be done.

Every time I thought of quitting or turning around, though, I kept reminding myself that it wouldn’t kill me, and it might even make me stronger. Ok, maybe not. Maybe I was cursing under my breath the entire time and wishing I could magically transport back to Maryland and dry roads with friends. Maybe, because this is a PG-rated blog, I’m going to call this one a character builder, instead of what I’d like to call it.

Anyhow, hats off to all you who train in those conditions on a regular basis! I’m glad it’s behind me. Twelve miles was enough in that weather. Next week, I’ll jump to 14. Because I might just have a spring marathon to train for…more on that later!

Ever have a run where the elements beat you down? 

Related Posts:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge


  1. says

    I’m well versed in the blog hiatus, I can give you tips how to stay sane by not blogging for weeks on end!! :)

    You ran 14 miles without water? I’d be dead somewhere along that route. The two times I’ve been hospitalized for dehydration have been on cold winter runs. I just have bad body staying hydrated I guess. Anyway, kudos to you and braving those elements. Not easy, nor fun, but definitely makes you tougher :). I am about to embark on a long run tomorrow .. and it’s suppose to snow. Bleh. But I’ll bring my water bottle!!

    Happy New Year!!
    Jill recently posted..Training, Racing, and KneesMy Profile

  2. says

    HAHAHA. I was actually hoping for a little bit of snow on my 12 miler on Saturday – just a light dusting – and was disappointed that the snow held off until well after I finished. I’ve run only a handful of times in legit heavy snow and it was definitely tough – you spend the entire run concentrating on where you are stepping!!
    And I did the same thing the last 10 days or so – very little commenting, no blogging of my own – felt nice to be able to focus all of my time on family =)
    Happy New Year!
    Michele @ Nycrunningmama recently posted..PowerBar Product GiveawayMy Profile

  3. says

    Nice job!

    I am a snow wimp – I pretty much stick to the treadmill when there’s snow on the ground – I’m starting to rethink that tho because running more than 5-6 miles on a tread just gets soooo boring!!
    Jen recently posted..Being worth itMy Profile

  4. says

    I had a similar run on Saturday – snow, slush and ice with little spots of bare pavement. And that was 2 days after a snowstorm! It wasn’t absolutely horrible but it wasn’t the most fun I ever had on a run either. The past few years have been really mild here but the way it’s looking, I’m not sure this year will be. I’ll be practicing my ‘R’ rated language on most runs then! 😉
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..New Year, New GoalsMy Profile

  5. says

    Glad you enjoyed your week off!
    Trudging through snow is tough! I had a run like that a week ago…slogging through shin deep snow is never easy, no matter how many times you do it! I wore my garmin but never looked at it until yesterday. Turns out my pace was over a minute slower per km!
    Looking forward to hearing about your 2013 plans.
    Abby @ Change of Pace recently posted..Catch up and cross trainingMy Profile

  6. says

    Yes…we love our treadmills in the winter…but we still love to complain about the weather in MN. It’s always too cold, too windy, too hot, too humid, too cloudy, too damp, too wet or some thing…what would we do if we couldn’t talk about the weather?!

    (get to know people more? ha!)
    Kathy recently posted..Random photo dump…My Profile

  7. Prairie Runner says

    I try really hard to not treadmill run – so that means a lot of says in the snow and cold. I guess I kinda learned to love it. I once ran a 10K in a blizzard!!! It was crazy! ANd I was crazy to drive there and back in those conditions!

  8. says

    I’m in upstate NY (grew up in northwest Ohio) and have been running in snow since I started running so I think I’m used to it! I guess I like snow because it gives me a real change of pace. There’s no “safe” fast running in snow and it’s like a forced break/easy miles. When spring rolls around and the snow melts, I feel refreshed and ready to run fast again. I also rarely train for a big spring event so my mileage and speed don’t matter as much. :)
    I definitely understand why many people don’t like running in the snow. Slipping, ankle turning, the freezing cold temps… it’s not ideal and I wouldn’t enjoy it so much if I had an early spring marathon in mind!
    Jen B. recently posted..See ya later, 2012! (My Year in Running)My Profile

  9. says

    Yes, character building for sure! I started training for my first marathon in upstate NY in February and had some interesting (awful) long runs in the snow. So thankful I don’t have to deal with it these days!
    Blogging breaks are so necessary. I took several days off too, and savored all that extra time. But I’m happy you’re back!
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted..Kicking off the Virtual Race series with a $100 giftcard giveawayMy Profile

  10. Diana says

    I live in New England where it’s either HOT or COLD w SNOW notice two of these words are four lettered ones and they go together. Yes I enjoy running in the snow and the rain cuz I’m lucky to be a Runner ;)) I loved the blog Thx! Enjoy MD weather when you can. Peace

  11. says

    I’m not much of an outdoor exerciser in snow (though that is at least in part because we tend to get ice with it). I just try to “man up” when I’m only facing “cold”. Unfortunately, we woke up to snow this morning so my plan to go on an easy run today is quickly losing motivation.
    TriMOEngr (Christina) recently posted..Sunday Run (Jog/Walk)My Profile

  12. says

    Lol I hear ya! Did my first run in the snow this winter yesterday. It was fun but as you said, def a character bulder. I’ve lived in Michigan all my life, so why am I not used to snow?! I haven’t tried YakTrax, maybe I should1
    Betsy recently posted..pv.Body ReviewMy Profile

  13. says

    Shoot I’m going on almost 2 weeks no posting. Thought it would be nice to just do life for awhile and not worry about training and writing. Welcome back!

    Wish I could say I hate snow running, but I haven’t ran in snow in almost 2 years now and forget how hard it is. For some reason the Chicagoland area isn’t getting much of anything!
    Britt @ Chicago Rinner Girl recently posted..Lost in my mindMy Profile

  14. Melinda says

    I’m a Baltimore girl who moved to Cleveland. I love it here. I did 10 on Saturday in the snow and it’s not easy but there are plenty of us who hit it regardless. There was even a trail race that morning out at N. Chagrin with plenty of runners.

  15. says

    I’m a little different than you – it doesn’t snow much in KC either, so on days like today when it’s coming down in fluffy buckets, I can’t wait to get outside and run in it. You’re right, it’s a completely different kind of running, and much more tiring – but it’s different than what I do all other 364 days a year, so I enjoy it.

  16. says

    Running in th snow is tough business!!!! I had to run 19 last winter and I just remember it being awful and I wanted to quit so bad, but I knew that I couldn’t. Right now we have snow, but the roads are super icy so I have been sticking to the TM. I really don’t want to fall and hurt myself. I have a spring marathon to train for too!
    Tasha @ Healthy Diva recently posted..Week 1: SmilingMy Profile

  17. says

    that is insane snow! pretty sure i would’ve hit the treadmill-mainly because i have no idea how to run in snow. glad you took some time away and to focus on you and the family. i’ve been in and out all week-which has been nice as well.
    elizabeth recently posted..What Happened In 2012My Profile

  18. says

    I live in Southeast Michigan and it snowed a lot on Wednesday. Thursday afternoon I wanted to get 4-5 miles in so I planned out a route involving sidewalks… little did I know they would not be cleared and the snow would be up to my shins! I live in Ann Arbor, which is a pedestrian town, so the sidewalks are always clear, but I’ve been staying with my mom for the holidays, and I guess things are quite different here. I made it about half a mile in the deep snow before deciding it wasn’t worth it and crossing the street into a sub division with clear roads. I ended up just running around in circles in there for about 20 minutes before braving the snow back home. I passed the same guy shoveling his driveway three or four times and I’m sure he thought I was crazy.

    On Friday I took to the treadmill, but I forgot how much I haaate that thing, so my run yesterday was back outside in that lovely clear neighborhood. I sincerely hope all Cleveland runners don’t stick to the treadmills all winter because I’m sure they would go insane!
    Rachel recently posted..My Year in RunningMy Profile

  19. says

    I did a 12 miler a couple of weekends ago. It was the xmas eve and we had a blizzard the thursday before. Road still werent great very slippery. It was the longest 12 I had done in a long time, by 10 my hands were frozen. I called it quits. We were suppose to do 16 but I just was tired of the cold and exhausted like you said. I will be rethinking about doing an marathon this early in 1014. Not really liking the training this time of year. I dont mind 10 miles but when it 16 and 20 this time of year pardon my french but it SUCKS. I cant even imagine if we were having a normal winter here in Iowa. My hat goes off to you for getting throught that run. Have a HAPPY NEW YEAR. See in 2013

  20. says

    Ohio weather is strange and yes winters are hard to get used to. I am south of Cleveland in Akron…so we pretty much have a lot of same snow. I like that I don’t sweat as much in the winter.

  21. says

    I agree – hats off to outdoor Winter runners. I did it for several years before I broke down and bought the dreaded treadmill. Was really glad to move to a warmer climate and be able to run outdoors all year long again.

    Running in deep snow is tiring, but on ice and in slush, impossible!
    Elle recently posted..So Long 2012…My Profile

  22. says

    Welcome back! I took some time off too but am getting back in the saddle, so to speak :) I can say, you definitely took one for the runner team there with shin deep snow! I have delicately stuck to the treadmill so my toes stay warm, ha ha :) For some reason I am not digging hard core weather right now *sigh* The darn blizzard!
    Christina recently posted..Carmel Marathon training starts todayMy Profile

  23. says

    Yes, character building is a good way to put it :-)

    I definitely am not that hard core. You would find me indoors in conditions like that. I can’t imagine. I like running in the winter but am a fair weather winter runner? Love freshly fallen snow but not shin-deep. Great job sticking with your run! It’s nice to see you back here. Blogging breaks are great, aren’t they? I too feel refreshed after some time away. Happy New Year!
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..Intentions for the New YearMy Profile

  24. says

    Wow, great job getting out there for a run in the snow! I didn’t start running till I moved to NYC and we just don’t get a lot of snow here so I agree, I just don’t know how people train through the winter in some states! I am definitely in awe.

    Happy New Year! Hope 2013 is a great year for you and your family!
    lisa @ early morning run recently posted..2012 in ReviewMy Profile

  25. says

    Happy New Year! Next time you’re in town, let me know and let’s make a date. I’ll get you through that snow, no problemo :) I only run on the treadmill if I need to stay close for kid or safety purposes (to avoid dangerous ice or darkness). I trained for Boston one winter and did every long run outside. It helps to be flexible with pace goals and to go with the flow. Instead of a continuous fast finish for one long run, I did surges throughout the run any time the road was clear. I tend to stick with roads in the winter – I live near some very scenic roads with light weekend traffic, which helps a lot. I love winter running and agree it’s something you need to adapt to. After a while it becomes routine and no big deal and I find myself looking forward to those brisk sunny mornings when the snow sparkles or those super quiet thick snowfalls. Glad you got to experience some of the best a CLE winter has to offer and hope 2013 is a year of many PRs and lots and lots of wonderful miles in the snow, sun and everything in between!
    Salty recently posted..Salty’s Post-Partum Running Update – 4 WeeksMy Profile

  26. says

    I was in the Cleveland area over break visiting my parents, and yeah, it was real tough getting out to run each day we were there. I ran 15 over that weekend, and fortunately for me, the town my parents live in have wide shoulders and a bike lane, so I stuck to those!
    Efo recently posted..A forest in the living roomMy Profile

  27. says

    Welcome back! I blogged a bit over the past week, but spent more time just relaxing and hanging out with family.

    Nice job of running out in the elements. I don’t mind running in snow – though I tend to keep the mileage short as changing my stride makes me worry about ITB troubles after more than a few miles. However, I hate running on ice and so have been on the treadmill for most of the past couple of months.
    Raquelita recently posted..2013 GoalsMy Profile

  28. says

    That definitely counts as a character-building run! I took my yaktrax with me to West Virginia where we were skiing. I only run a few miles as it’s all either uphill or downhill but that’s enough for me! And on the day it snowed I only made it half a mile before I decided that running uphill, with snow hitting me in the face, wasn’t any fun at all! So kudos to you for making it a lot further. Excited to hear your spring marathon news!
    Alison @ racingtales recently posted..Forging my Own PathMy Profile

  29. says

    Running in Ohio is never easy for whatever reason. In addition to that hot Cleveland Half last year, I’ve done 2 turkey trots at my in-laws — one year was pouring down snow with 20 mph winds and on snow-packed roads. Another year was like 35 degrees and raining.
    David H. recently posted..13 goals for 2013My Profile

  30. says

    We drove to Columbus the day after Christmas, than on to Illinois after that, than to the Cleveland area after that…all in a 6 day span of time. It was snow and ice in Columbus, freezing and windy in Illinois, and snowy again in North Olmsted. I didn’t have a decent run all week!