Reclaiming my Dedication: My 14 mile Blizzard Run

I’m a weather dork. Running has amplified my level of dorkdom. I’m known for checking the hourly weather beginning 12-24 hours before a long run or race. I do this to prepare myself physically (right clothes, etc) and mentally (psyching myself up & determining my mantra), but also to adjust what time I’m going to run, if I can avoid any bad weather.

Today’s long run was no different. I started looking at the hourly weather yesterday, and knew the snow was going to start mid-day, but everything indicated it would be light snow showers. So a lot later than I had planned, I bundled up, and headed out. If I’d known what I was about to encounter to its full extent, it would not have happened.

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I warmed up, turned on a new RockMyRun mix, and took off. I felt good, and knew I was out a little fast, but evened out my pace, so that I was right at marathon pace as I hit about 4.5 miles. I stopped to take a quick pic, because this was when the snow was falling noticeably, but I didn’t think it was coming down too fast.

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I thought nothing of continuing on, and kept after it, slowing down in a few areas where the snow was slippery over piles of leaves, but knowing I couldn’t hit my minimum of 14 miles for today until I hit 7 miles. So I powered on, even though the snow started to come down harder.

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I enjoyed the peace when I hit the Wissahickon Trail, and even found a nice new (to me) part that was a gravel trail, that I can’t wait to explore further. Once my Garmin buzzed for 7 miles, I turned around. At this point, I saw no one for miles. It was quiet, snowy, and perfect to just think.

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I thought a lot about where I was a year ago, both physically and mentally. I would never have gone out for a run with the threat of snow. On a day like this, I would probably have decided to take an earlier train back to CT from NYC, and whined about driving from New Haven. Today, I whined, but more importantly, I paved my own path. I took the road less traveled.

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I could not have gotten this far through marathon training without an awesome training partner like Karen, but runs like this make me realize that I’m often stronger on my own, because I have no one but myself to push me through, to keep me going, and remind myself why I’m doing what I’m doing. I don’t have the luxury of seeing if Karen wants to stop short or walk a few intervals. I find that on my own, I run harder and I rarely walk more than my allotted intervals.

For me, it’s because long runs by myself are therapy. I think through a lot of things I have floating around in my head, and can get really emotional, which makes me push harder.

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This was about 7.5 miles in, and I realized I had snow stuck all over me.

And today was no different. I pushed myself over the river, and through the woods, literally, and through what ended up being a minimum of 5 inches of snow on the ground. I’m watching the news now, and where I ran got the bulk of the snow in the area today. If you watched the Eagles game, that’s what I was running in. Literally, I finished up around 2:30.

It got really tough around mile 10. The snowfall had intensified, and I was back on Kelly Drive, so I was watching cars slip and slide all over the road, knowing I still had 4 miles before I was home. I trudged on, laughing every once in a while with the thoughts in my head.

“So yesterday people ran the Rocky 50K, following the steps Rocky ran in the second movie. I now understand why that Russian guy was so ridiculous. He always ran in the snow. This is badass. And it sucks. I hate this. Oh look, a cop car. I wonder if he’d drive me home. Is that a cab? Oh, just a ski rack. Oh look another person. Where did the geese go? How much snow is down there? How am I not cold? My feet aren’t even wet, this is awesome. I hate this. Oh look, people with shovels at Boathouse row. Oh, they’re only shoveling the steps. I wonder if they’d drive me home.”

And this is when I started to cry. I was still more than a mile away from home. My legs were tired, the snow was getting almost impossible to run through, and I didn’t want to finish. But I had no other option, unless I planned to live amongst the trees around the Art Museum.

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At this point, I sucked it up, and pushed hard for the last part home. I needed to get home, have the front desk guy call me a cab, and get to my massage across town. So off I went, and I made it (although I had to do a quick run down the front of the building to hit exactly 14 miles).

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While I did stop my watch several times as I took pics, or had a breakdown, I remained within about 15 seconds of an ideal marathon pace for Disney. This thought, and the warmth of my lobby brought a big smile to my face.

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Today was monumental. I learned I can run a long training run really strong on my own. And I can do it in very unpleasant weather conditions. Why? Because I’m a runner, and a marathon doesn’t get any shorter, and Mother Nature doesn’t care if its race day. Also, I’d feel bad if I didn’t hit my training mileage knowing I have to run strong with Karen in 35 (34 when this gets posted) days.

Oh, and no cabs were running, I could not walk the 2 miles to my massage, and my car couldn’t even get up the ramp out of the the garage. I reluctantly called and paid my no show fee (which they discounted because I have never done this before). But it meant I got to take a hot Epsom bath and finish making my delicious recovery meal of crock pot ratatouille over quinoa & shrimp. Recipe coming soon!

What crazy running decisions have you made?
Ever done a snow run?
Would you have done 14 miles on the treadmill or braved the weather?

32 thoughts on “Reclaiming my Dedication: My 14 mile Blizzard Run

  1. Pingback: Perspective | Run Stretch Go

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  3. Wow! I completely admire you! I HATE the cold! On Thanksgiving I ran a 6k that was 34 degrees (26 degree wind chill). Hopefully never again. I was miserable the whole time! If I lived up North, I would give up running!

  4. Reading your journey through your snow filled 14 miler is very inspiring! I guess I should be thankful that I never have to worry about running in the snow, just dealing with very cold winds (like today).

  5. First, I’ll say it again. You’re badass for doing 14 miles in the snow!

    Secondly, I’ll say that 14 miles on the treadmill would be pure torture and I’d take to the snow over that ANY day!

    My highest winter mileage only happens when I’m running at an indoor dome (which is why I’ll be sad to see the Metrodome go). Otherwise I’m sticking to low mileage either on the treadmill or outside.

  6. Nice job pushing through in that weather! And yes it was totally ridiculous that they still charged the no-show fee given the circumstances. The longest I’ve ever run on a treadmill is a little over 6 miles, so I probably would have attempted to run the 14 outside. Most likely I would have planned to run 4 3.5 – 4 mile loops that I usually run around my place so that if things got completely ridiculous I wouldn’t be too far from home.

    • Thank you! Your loop idea would have made a lot of sense. Loops scare me because it gives me the option to stop too soon. Of course, in bad weather, it probably makes sense. As a number of people have said, I might be crazy!

  7. Great post! Like I said yesterday you are one amazing runner with tons of mental toughness running in all of that snow. Like the Eagles who got better (in the 4th qtr) as the snow piled high on the ground, you dug deeper found your inner strength & was able to finish your run like a champion. I am sure you are the same way in your professional life.

    • Thanks Mark! Although I do feel bad whining about running in the snow when that one guy made a new field record or something (I’m not really a football person LOL).

      You definitely have the same toughness with the cold! We do what we have/ want to do!

  8. Oh my gosh! You are Amazing! Thank you for that beautiful post. You rock! I’m a complete chicken when it comes to running outside. I started running when I lived in LA and since the move to St. Louis- I just can’t bring myself to do it. But you have definitely made me think twice about trying. Maybe not right now but in the spring when it’s still colder than I’m used to but without the snow…
    And I’m looking forward to that recipe!

    • Thank you so much! It’s definitely tough to get out when you’re not used to it, and if you’re not confident in your gear (also a post coming on that). Colder weather running is so nice when you figure it all out. You warm up so quickly, it’s like it’s warm out!

  9. As I saw your Tweets yesterday during your run, I remember thinking “this girl is CRAZY!” I am such a wimp when it comes to the cold, and add snow on top of that – forget it, I’ll take the treadmill please. Kudos to you on all that you accomplished yesterday, and I hope you thawed out quickly!

  10. Absolutely AMAZING!! We saw the Eagles game and I yelled out, ‘This is what Cyanne is running in RIGHT NOW!!’ I’m pretty sure I’d have treadmilled it but I do love a good challenge and ‘I did it’ story sooooo maybe one day! But not before getting a head to toe inventory on what you wear from you.
    I loved your thought process. You are one awesome lady!!

  11. I would much much rather run outside than on the treadmill – my motivation just evaporates inside. I am totally impressed that you stuck with it! PS. That jacket looks nice – details?

    • Thanks, Beth! It’s the Brooks Nightlife LSD Lite III. I’m in love with it (and a full post on my entire outfit coming later this week). I got it at my local running store, Philadelphia Runner, but you can get it online too!

  12. Wow I can’t believe you ran in that weather! I’m so impressed! I was planning on 7 miles on the Schyulkill River Trail and was hanging out in my apartment all morning, just planning to go at 1:00. And then at 12:00 I looked out the window and realized how much snow was already on the ground! So it was a tread mill day for me. I’m sure you’ll never forget that run even though it sounded so difficult!

  13. Great job pushing through your run!! It definitely snowed a lot more (and much sooner!) than the weather guys predicted… glad you made it home safely. (And I agree with jenereesa… a no show fee in yesterday’s weather is just not fair!) πŸ™‚

  14. I love your mental toughness. I would have definitely hit the treadmill (I wasn’t feeling up to anything near 14 miles yesterday). I love that feeling of overcoming obstacles (be it weather or physical/mental). It definitely gives you a renewed sense of strength, dedication and perserverence. You are amazing!
    I love running on my own as well and it’s shown me my own strengths (conquering the weather is not one of them) but what I love about running with you is that you push me and I’m someone who needs that. Without the push from someone else I only go so far on my own (literally and figuratively). There lies my weakness and a personal goal I have for next year.
    I’m looking forward to getting back out there with you next week…hopefully with some sunshine πŸ™‚ xo

    • Yes, a sunshine filled 18 miler is just what we need. It definitely is good that we both recognize our weaknesses and strengths and together we will make each other stronger πŸ™‚

  15. First things first… I can’t believe they had a no show fee during this crazy weather!

    I was thinking about you yesterday and while your run wasn’t exactly what you thought it would be going into it, I’m sure it’s one that you’ll likely never forget. It shows your strength, determination, and ability to get it done, even in less than “easy” situations. I’m pretty sure there will be no blizzards during the WDW marathon but rest assured that if there was… YOU could do it.

    • I know, I was also surprised. In reality, I could have walked, but it was just not happening.

      I did spend some of my run trying to figure out what chance exists that this could happen at WDW. I’m pretty sure its in the1 in a million range.

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