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Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Winter Run

 With the recent onslaught of winter weather mileage has been hard to come by. However, there is always a silver lining, or in this case a white one.

With the abundance of snow, already about 18 inches this season, the trails have been transformed into a world of fluffy, then crunchy, now slippery beauty by the day.

The changing conditions provide enjoyment and contemplation beyond running while allowing me to run each step for itself... or else I might find myself plummeting from the edge of the trail toward a sudden halt against an old tree trunk!

Recently I went out for an hour of running along the Dragon Trail here at home and brought along my camera to document the beauty in the winter forest.

I came along many deer  and turkeys and even some large paws in the snow... couldn't be a mountain lion because we all know they don't exist in these here parts... so it must have been the prints of a very large house cat.

 Upon leaving the cover of the hardwood forest and climbing about 500 feet over a mile, I came upon this beautiful view. I like to pause here and look off toward Beech Mountain and think of times past and present and of how this place will be here for our children to enjoy as well.

How fortunate we are, as runners and trail runners, to take the time for ourselves to get into the experience of exploring the land on foot. While the cold may taunt us, and the ice may take us down, it is our spirit which brings us above the temporary discomfort, in fact utilizes it, to do things we could not imagine only a moment ago. 

After dropping back off from the high spots I circled around the water shed and through more hardwood, disturbing a gaggle of turkeys as they marched aimlessly through the woods in the snow looking for food. The roar of their wings was startling and I found myself running along that snowy deer trail in amazement at how things had instantaneously been transformed. One second I was crunching in the snow, the next drowned out by the awkward flight of these wild birds!

I then emerged into this meadow, which at its peak is the spot where I had taken the expansive photo about 10 minutes before. It is all so beautiful.
 Further down I dropped toward the river and into pasture lands for neighborhood cattle. Deserted for the year now, I utilized more deer trail and followed the path taken just an hour or so previous, by solitary adult deer.

On and on I went following footsteps this way and that, where ever they led I followed. In this way I found a few new areas which as so unspoiled and natural it seems almost a disservice to be there. With this in mind I did my best to leave only a depression in the snow and remember to savor the moments in this amazing back yard!

I kept climbing on the return trip, and now the air was warming a bit, the ice turning to water and the trees dropping their heavy burdens. In some cases crystals of ice tinked along the crusty snow, rolling and tumbling downhill.                           In other places weak limbs gave way, crashed down and rested on the earth and this larger sound filled the hollars before again giving way to the tinkling of crystals.
And, while the footing was tough in spots I moved with the land in my wonderful winter running shoes. if you have not done so, take your old shoes, buy some 1/4" sheet metal screws and get to work. Ice will leave your vocabulary as an excuse to not run... Not only are they functional, but you will not feel them at all. My only advice is this: DO NOT LET YOUR WIFE CATCH YOU WEARING THEM IN THE HOUSE!!!!!!
Well no matter where you are doing your running this winter. I hope to take the time to pause and enjoy this season. It can be tough, but no more so than those hot days in August. Just grab another layer or two and take it slow and easy! Happy Running!!


  1. great post sean! I've been thinking about you and your family and your soon arrival!! :o) YAY!!!

    this is just what I was telling brock on the way home from my icy, snowy 20 miler yeseterday. I really have an appreciation for all 4 seasons. I love that I live in an area that has four distinct seasons. I don't exactly LOVE running in extreme cold... but then I don't really love running in extreme heat either. I think you just have to get a little tough and get out there in both the summer and the winter and just use common sense in taking care of yourself on your long runs:o)

    great pictures and blog post! keep up the good work! you do such a great job on your blog!

    hope to see you soon!!


  2. WOW! I sure wish I had been there with you! Maybe your best post ever! Thank you for sharing this!!!

  3. Yaktrax no good?

    Run fast, antelope.


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