Fun in the Snow, and Respecting One’s Elders

Southeastern Michigan got royally dumped on last weekend, which actually led to more outdoor exercise for me, in the form of shoveling our long driveway. Three times. It’s good upper body work. If this keeps up, I’ll look like Charles Atlas in the spring. (When he was alive, I mean, not right now.)

The PR Fitness Saturday morning run went ahead as scheduled, although with snow falling and a wind chill near zero, the group was a bit smaller than usual. But I plowed along for 12 miles, fortified by hot Gatorade at the water stops. (Have I mentioned that coaches Rob and Marie are wonderful people?)

The Saturday morning group gets it done! Coach Rob is nearest to the camera.
The Saturday morning group gets it done! Coach Rob is nearest to the camera.

Then came my assignment for Monday. “Snow running is resistance training is disguise,” Marie wrote in my Training Peaks calendar. “So run with a high effort. Have fun in the snow.”

JJ was here.
JJ was here.

Oh, joy. I like resistance training about as much as I like cold showers, but I was dumb enough to say I wanted to get stronger. So off into the snow it was. And I knew just the place – a two-mile stretch of sidewalk along a business route. Some of the sidewalk had been shoveled, other parts less so, and some not at all, providing at least four inches of fresh powder to run through. Perfect interval training. And the snowplows had helpfully piled on even more on the bridge across I-94, so even with an evening temperature in the teens, I got warm very quickly.

To my surprise, the run went really well. My new Hoka One Ones provided great traction and the supersized cushioning kept their tops above the snow, so my feet stayed dry. Don’t tell my coach, but I actually did have fun. And it’s good training for next month, when I run my first-ever snowshoe race, the Bigfoot 5K in Traverse City. (More on next year’s running goals and events to come. Hint: it’s ambitious.)

Aaron birthday cakeLast weekend also marked the 60th birthday of Aaron, one of our regulars and a strong marathoner. He wasn’t too thrilled about joining his new age group, because the 60-64 year-old runners around here are at least as tough as those ten years younger (hmm…wonder whom that might include), not to mention Doug Kurtis, who at age 61 just completed his 200th marathon of 3 hours or less.

On Saturday’s run at least three of the front runners in our group were age 60 or above, Aaron among them. My 12 miles in the snow wiped me out – I mean, I was gassed – but I was pleased with my effort and that I’d stuck it out. So as I was preparing to leave, brushing the snow off my car, here comes Aaron cruising up the sidewalk. He’d done 14 miles.

On Sunday I went to a surprise birthday party his wife had organized. “I’d make some crack about you being an inspiration to me,” I told him, “but it’s actually true.”

A talented artist in our group did this drawing of Aaron. Really captures his spirit!
A talented artist in our group did this drawing of Aaron. Really captures his spirit!

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