I’ve been battling against plantar fasciitis since setting a pb over marathon distance back in November, where it flared-up over the second half and cost me a chance of a sub 4 hour time… I went to see our local physio - the excellent Simon of SB Physiotherapy, who massaged and manipulated, stretched and taped me so I could at least make the start lines of the races I had booked, but to be blunt even in lovely scenery or surroundings they were no fun and an act of endurance rather than enjoyment, an exercise in finishing and nothing else.
Steadily the symptoms have lessened and when the snow arrived I knew I had to grin and bare it and get out into the white stuff.
My first run was an early 6am meet with fellow Hooker Russell where as day dawned we cracked-out a 4 mile out and back across the fields to the next village in near blizzard conditions - the wind tearing into us as it was below -10 degrees and wearing just shorts on my legs, running headlong in to it on the way back it began to freeze my hamstrings feeling like they were going to pull and reduced my stride length noticeably to cope.
|My partner in crime this morning.|
|Courtesy of Russell: Snowy panorama with me in the middle!|
The next morning with taking a snow day I volunteered to lead a run over a different route, this time around 10k which saw us celebrating the 50th birthday of one of our fellow club members, although he declined the offer of the bumps into a snow drift! Along the way we passed sheep in the fields which made me realise they really are cream in colour when they are against something as pure white as snow. The snowing itself had stopped whilst we were out but with the dry nature of it the wind was whipping across the fields creating ‘snow devils’ which was something to be seen!
I am ashamed to admit it but for the first time on this run I joined the dark side and ventured-out wearing running leggings having frozen my hammys the day before - it felt a bit dirty doing so, but seeing as I have to carry them as essential kit on runs even if they are never worm, it seemed sensible to give them a try.
Saturday saw a different direction for a 10 mile run that was an absolute giggle from start to finish. There were plenty of stops to mess around, including testing out the theory of if you can run fast enough over the top of a snow drift you won’t sink in… Needless to say it remains a theory! We even found on our travels an igloo that someone had built in a field between diving headfirst into snowdrifts and other general tomfoolery.
All this meant that come the Sunday and my scheduled Steyning Stinger Marathon I was knackered before I had even started, which led to a day of grumbling and moaning to myself as I trudged slowly around the muddy course for a very slow finish!
Part 2 of the snow arrived as I was running the CTS Sussex Marathon, so the day after I accompanied my fellow ‘Hookers’ (those of us who are members of Hook Runners) for our Sunday trail run… Venturing out into yet a different direction to where I had been in the snow before we were all acting like big kids, all 26 of us who were out at the same time.
As we reached the more exposed part of the route the wind was really howling and unpleasantly biting as it cut across us drifting the snow. On the sartorial front, nearly all the men out were wearing shorts, eschewing leggings as if you weren’t in the wind it really wasn’t that cold. One man out walking his dog even berated one of the few men-folk wearing leggings as the rest of us went past with glowing pink legs on display: “Now those are real men out in shorts today”.
A final lunchtime bimble on the same route as the first of my snow runs whilst the snow rapidly receded - We found a snowman and his dog on a bench along the way and by the time we returned after less than an hour out there was about half the amount of snow there had been when we set-off.
It was great to be out running in the snow - I was Spud-less throughout as whilst he enjoys playing in the snow, he was not keen to go out running in it. Having a pair of More Mile Cheviots with the large amount of grip on their soles was excellent as I was able to run with confidence through everything - that said I did realise the perils of running in the snow on one occasion when my foot went down a hidden rabbit hole covered with snow causing me to tumble - a lucky escape as I could so easily have damaged my ankle. We probably won’t have snow like this now for anything up to a decade so to be able to act like a large child in it was very welcome… Until the next time my white powdery friend!