Becky Runs Boston

My adventures running in Boston, searching for that runner's chai.

Running Responsibly

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The last few days have been rough as people seem to consistently be questioning my decision to run outdoors during the winter. Therefore, this post is going to be somewhat of a rant…

Starting on Thursday, the Boston area was hit with a big snowstorm that dumped (more than?) a foot of snow in my neighborhood. For that reason, I did not run Thursday. I did not run Friday (instead I did a P90x KempoX video in my living room).

With a half-marathon coming up fast next weekend, I knew that I needed to keep my legs in running shape and decided to go on a run on Saturday. With temperatures below freezing, I made the decision to wait until the afternoon when I knew it was going to be warmest. With sidewalks still mostly covered in snow, I made the decision to run while it was still light out so that the risks of running on the sides of roads would be diminished. My boyfriend announced that if he was my parent, he would have forbidden me from running because that still seemed risky. Good things he’s not my father. I promised I would return home if running felt unsafe, and ran six miles around my relatively quiet neighborhood.

I joined The Ragnar 30 Day Challenge on Facebook where people training for Ragnar Relays have committed to being active 30 days in a row. After my six miles on Saturday, I posted a picture on the Challenge page of my shoes in the snow. Although many people were supportive and “liked” my picture (to be honest, I thought I was just posting to the Challenge page – I didn’t realize everyone and their mother would see my post!), two people expressed serious concern. One person said I should try swimming instead. One person told me to not run on ice and invest in different shoes. I’m not a swimmer – I’m a runner. Gyms can be expensive and there aren’t any that fit my budget or needs in my neighborhood. Gyms with pools are more expensive. Gyms with pools don’t exist in my neighborhood, even if I had an interest in swimming. Treadmills are expensive. Cheap, used treadmills on Craigslist are hard to come by, but I check almost daily for one that fits my budget and apartment space. I’m smart enough to not run on ice – I’m actually deathly afraid of running on ice so I avoid it at all costs. I’m trying to purchase a pair of YakTrax Run so that I can get some more traction while I run in the snow, but unfortunately, it seems like everyone is sold out of my size. So instead, I’m running very slowly and only in the slush, which is gross and wet and cold but at least it’s not slippery. Thank you both for your suggestions, but I’ve got this.

As I’ve recently had my 4th fainting episode (of the last 2 years), I also invested in a Road ID which lists boyfriend and sister phone numbers, my penicillin allergy, and that I faint for an unknown reason (not sure how helpful that last piece of information will be if I’m found on the side of the road, but whatever, my train of thought as I was typing up my ID was “Well, if someone finds me unconscious and they see my bracelet, they’ll know it’s not anything more serious than my love of fainting at inopportune times.”)

This morning I planned on running 5 miles. I woke up at 5:10 am and checked the weather and was surprised to see that it was 50+ degrees and raining, but more importantly, my weather app said it was foggy. I walked over to the living room windows to check it out for myself, and saw that the fog was very serious. So, considering it was still snowy on the sidewalks and I would need to mostly run in the road, I made the decision to not run this morning. I would say that running in the road, in the rain and fog, was too dangerous of a risk. If I get that run in tonight after work, awesome. Knowing my hatred of running after work, it probably won’t.

This is my first winter running outdoors. All I want is to continue my healthy passion for running outside in the fresh air. I don’t love running in the cold or snow, but I prefer it to using a gym. If a treadmill happened to appear in my living room, I would absolutely use it. But I’m annoyed at how difficult it is to run when I want and how I want this winter.

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