As I am sure many of you already know, an adventurous guy like me doesn’t usually take it easy during the winter. I see the harsh winter weather as the perfect opportunity to toughen myself as a runner. By the time spring comes around, I feel all but unstoppable. Of course, running in the snow isn’t for everyone, and there are lots of other ways to improve your running. Be very careful out there if you’re new to winter running.
With the zest for winter adventure in me, I decided to run(not joggle) the Looper Bowl yet again. The Looper Bowl 10k is a free yearly event that takes place at 8 AM on Super Bowl Sunday up at the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation. It follows the “Leatherman’s Loop”, a trail that snakes its way through the forest while going up and down some mighty hills. In fair weather it is challenging enough, but about 30 of us did it in the snow while it was just over zero degrees. Besides being much colder compared to last year, this year there was often several inches of snow on the trail. Also unlike last year I wasn’t recovering from a knee injury.
I must admit that it was so cold and the deep snow so intimidating I almost didn’t do it. My hands and my feet were so cold they felt like they were going to fall off, even though I had on heavy gloves, thick socks and 2 winter hats and multiple layers. I felt like I was going to get frost-bitten, I seldom run when it is this cold. For the first 2 miles I hated being out there, but then I started warming up and felt elated over this.
After warming up, every step of the way was breathtaking winter beauty, especially when I was at the top of a big hill looking around. I usually had to walk up those hills, like most of the other runners. When going downhill, I often found it easier to just slide down them than to walk down or try running down. Although I was wearing my Kahtoola Nanospikes, they were of little help on this run. They are mainly for running on icy sidewalks or a thin layer of snow, not snowy trail running.
The last couple of miles were serene; by then it was almost 10 F, and it felt spectacular running with like-minded winter running lunatics, inspiring each other forward. It also helps that I didn’t get lost like I did last year. For a short run, I felt pretty sore near the end, due to all the snow and hills. It felt heavenly crossing the “finish line”; running in snow for many miles produces a special kind of runner’s high. It took me 1:18 minutes to complete this 6.2 mile loop, which I think is pretty good considering all the snow and big hills on this trail. Although I found it difficult in the beginning, all in all it was a terrific experience.