Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Slowest Mile

I looked out the window at 1:00, and the sun was out. I peeked at the thermometer. It was over 20 degrees outside. OK, no excuses, I had to run. I figured that the sidewalks would be icy, but maybe the park board had cleared the lake trails, and so I drove myself to Nokomis, where I began my run on the north side of the lake. North side, as in sunless side. The trails were coated with ice. I barely moved my feet as I "ran", struggling to making my upper body look like that of a runner, while my feet moved barely faster than a walker's.

Whenever I found a patch of dry pavement, I flew because I was finally able to let go of a little bit of my steam. Then the dry part would end, and I would throttle back so that I wouldn't find myself sprawling on the ground.

To avert the almost certain disaster of a spill, I almost turned around, but there was another runner up ahead. If he could do it, so could I. We met up at the stoplight. "At least we're still standing," he said. "Well, it's the slowest run of my life," said I (exaggerating, since surely the slowest run of my life was the Mother's Day run I lost to my mother).

His daughter goes to Carleton, and so we ran together around the slightly less icy south side of the lake, chatting about education and money and Jonathan Kozol, and allowing each other to use the dry patches on the sidewalk for traction.

And then, Christmas miracle, neither of us wiped out. We finished our runs and we didn't add to our injuries, and now I get to have that clear-headed just-exercised feeling for the rest of the day. I'm going to use it to buy some paint for the basement floor.

5 comments:

swabmenot said...

I don't know how you can run around Lake Nokomis without wiping out, even on ice. That place is a death trap. You must be magic.

Alex said...

Well, maybe I am magic, but I'm not sure I'll tempt fate again until some of that ice melts or gets salted or something.

Kirsten said...

Hey Alex! Guess what I got for Christmas?! YakTraks! Well, the knockoff YakTracks that my aunt bought on QVC ('nother story). Anyway they are like these metal coils that strap to your shoes to give you more traction. They look ... interesting, but they work! Maybe Santa will bring you a pair next year...

Alex said...

Good suggestion Kirsten. I was wondering what it's like to run in those things. Today it couldn't have been worse than running without them. I'll have to start watching QVC 24/7 until they're on again.

Chris H. said...

Nokomis is rough these days - with the ice patches around there, I feel like it's more of an obstacle course than a run lately. My brother (who is a much more disciplined winter-conditions runner than I ever will be!) has sworn by his YakTrax for years now - he won't run in the winter without them. Something to consider, no doubt. Happy New Year!