How to cultivate reinjury in Winter Sports

Roadway Flooding

That’s what the wether service predicted. That’s pretty much inline with what I walked through to get here.

I’m in Fremont. I wearing my Caribou boots. They are warm, but they are not waterproof below 8 inches. This week has left me feeling unwound.

It started with that second windstorm that canceled the Orcas 100M. We got back from Eastsound before it hit. Seattle got upwards of 15 inches of snow. Today that snow began to melt, en masse. Together with the traditional light rain, every movement has been slow and heavy. Some brave folks ventured to the office. Some espresso joints closed. People are still snowboarding on the streets in my neighborhood. So naturally, I went running.

Heavy Duty

Last night, it was hovering just around freezing. Giant snowflakes were falling. You would inhale them if you looked up. That said, the running was manageable, even with a pack full of groceries. The dense cloud layer reflected the city’s new LED streetlights.

Wet snow weighs about 20 pounds per cubic foot. The same volume of rain weighs over 60 pounds. After an extended bout in the snow last night, we returned to Nina’s house an stared at the roof. The gutters were clogged with ice. Given the rain in the forecast and the age of the house, we clambered up the little tree near the heater to access the flat, 1000 square foot roof.

There was a uniform, 14 inch layer of heavy wet snow. The house was built sometime in the fifities, and so weathered the brutal 1969 and 1996 winters. But it’s no spring chicken, and worse. With clogged drains the carport roof becomes a pool where ducks do congregate. With more tree branches cracking in the background, it behooved us to clear the snow.

Within minutes of being on the roof, the sky flashed blue and red simultaneously. Moments later a siren. Yikes. Nina used a shovel. I knelt in the snow, threw my arms out as a wide child’s pose, compressed the snow under my chest, pulled the block upright and compressed it again. This method converted about ten square feet of snow into an oblong beach ball. I repeated it about twelves times before standing. Each of these giant snowballs weighted upwards of 30 pounds. I picked each up, walked gingerly to the edge and hurled it off the roof in one of four locations. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. For two and a half hours. The last two repetitions of this circuit felt a bit like being thirty-three miles into a fifty mile race.

Proof positive. Kettlebell throwing is an endurance sport. I miss that part of the old routine.

Aggregrevation

I slunk into a chair with a beer and immediately bemoaned my own stupidity. Breathing deep began to hurt. The pain radiated from my top left ribs which caught the brunt of a particularly nasty fall back at Moran. I still hurts as I write this. Stupid.

Despite all this, the running has been good. I’ve gotten up to the summit of Queen Anne without issue practically every day, including today, sometimes twice. In lieu of mountain running, deep snow running in Seattle is as fun as it gets.

I am itching to get outside. I’ve got a Ski Pass burning a hole in my glovebox, but I-90 has the usual stormy closure from North Bend to Ellensburg. Given the sad state of my skeleton and ski skills, this is probably fortunate.

In short

City life feels like a constant struggle towards creating healthful habits that promote good work. Buses are curtailed. WiFi is down. Sidewalks are ankle deep. February has felt like a rabid plow horse moving straight through our infrastructure and forcing a defensive posture at all times.

In short, it’s a perfect time to crack a beer and rethink your lifestyle.

How to plan around a waitlist

Hardrock

Hardrock is a hard race to get into, and I blew it on my first chance. But fortune smiled coyly, i’m fourteenth on the waitlist this year. The sense of community that race projected blew me away, as did the course.

But you see, I don’t have a qualifier for 2020.

Ideally that qualifier would be Hardrock itself - good for three years - but failing that I can see three other options.

Bighorn

This was my first 100M, and I still dream about that mountain range. It was as spectacular as it was grueling, with unusually cold and wet conditions. The problem is twofold. First, I’ve got myself somehow placed in the San Diego waitlist, which would conflict. Second, the Hardrock waitlist moves a lot quicker in June than it does in February, so I probably wouldn’t know my fate until after Bighorn was done.

Mogollon Monster

This is a race I’ve been psyched on since I’ve seen some of Jamil’s videos from the trial. It looks outrageous, and over the last two years I’ve really come to love Arizona. This race is in the middle of September, which means that I will have to punt another 100 I am very excited about, Gary’s new course at Whistler Alpine Meadows race. I’ve been dreaming of that race since I heard rumors he was planning it.

Grindstone

East Coast! I’ve yet to run a trial race out here, and this one is in October. It looks properly difficult and will be a completely new venue. What’s not to love. I’m not sure it makes sense to try WAM and Grindstone together, so this approach would be mentally challenging.

Decisions

Every year starts with the same vow to minimize the number of races. Every winter seems to end with a horrendous string of registrations. I don’t know how I’m going to negotiate all these miles, but I do know that a solid training program starts now. In the dead of winter. Amidst the most epic snow Seattle has seen in decades.

Damn! I love this stuff.