Here in New Jersey, we do get snowstorms. Last year we got a ton of snow. This year, we’re getting a ton of snowstorms. They have made running more difficult, but not yet impossible.
On Tuesday, though, we got an ice storm.
This definitely wasn’t an Oklahoma ice storm. In fact, it warmed up by mid-morning, so scraping the windshield was no big deal. But at 6 a.m. Tuesday, sliding down the sidewalk in the freezing rain and pre-dawn darkness to meet my running partner, it was definitely icy enough.
We both knew it wasn’t exactly smart to be out there. Icy roads gave way to frozen puddles at the ends of the sidewalks. The sidewalks were covered in varying levels of crusty snow. The thicker spots of snow were more difficult to stomp through, but provided more traction. The thinner spots of snow were most dangerous, gently masking the slippery peril that lay beneath.
The only good thing about the weather was that it lessened traffic on the roads that morning.
Perhaps we should have taken the vacant roads as a sign that we, too, should avoid the icy conditions. Instead, we took it as a sign that we were warriors, braver than brave and unstoppably committed to our running.
There were slips and stammers, stumbles and scares, but no falls. No injuries. No reason for regret.
For me, the hardest part of running is still getting out the door. Some days it’s easier than others, and having a scheduled run with a partner or group always helps. I’m not sure if I would have run alone on that day. Indeed, weather has kept me inside many a morning.
Still, there’s nothing quite like careening down a hillside in inclement weather, drenched and cold and quite possibly insane, grinning at the cars that pass by, their drivers with looks of incredulity.
About a mile before the end of our run, a car on the other side of the street honked a couple of quick times as it passed us by. Perhaps that was the driver’s way of telling us that they thought we were stupid. That we belonged inside. That we were lucky they hadn’t hit us.
But I like to think the driver was another runner. Another runner who just finished her own ice storm run, or perhaps stayed inside but wished she hadn’t. Another runner dreaming of the feeling of logging a half-dozen hard-earned miles in spite of Mother Nature’s best shot.