It's cold and dreary outside but a run is on your schedule. It's icy and windy outside, but an important long run is on your schedule. 11 miles beckons from the paper schedule, waiting to be attended to, needing to be conquered. This run must be done, the only question is how and where.
The question of how is more about dressing right and whether or not to bring fuel and if so what form the fuel should be. The question of where is just as critical because as you will see a tactical error was made in the selection of the route.
I wore my black 'Superman' turtle neck for my upper base layer and a single pair of socks and compression sleeves for my lower body. A non windbreaker jacket on top and regular running pants below. Shoes, lime green cotton gloves and a wicking hat rounded off the ensemble. I was ready! I decided on the West Bloomfield trail because it is straight out and back, and really close to the 11 miles that I needed to run. Big mistake! It was ice covered and I don't own YakTracks or a similar form of ice gripping slip prevention.
Here's where it gets stupid. I ran the trail till the first cross street and turned into the sub. That took me to a dead-end. Back tracked and on to Pontiac Trail and made a left to head West. Wow! what a busy street for a Sunday afternoon. I ran mostly on the shoulder which was definitely unsafe and extremely nerve wracking. For the next 4 miles I had to deal with wind, cars, snow, gravel and noise. To top it off, my shins were acting up and had to suffer with a minor case of shin splints for about 3 miles.
It does get a lot better after I turn left onto Hagerty and then left again onto Walnut Lake Rd. I finally settled into a nice rhythm on Walnut Lake Rd and ran the streets of that sub until I found my way back to Orchard Lake and the protection of my car.
Like after every long run I felt great satisfaction of having completed something challenging but that day's run had the extra element and thrill of having survived the environment as well. I ran a respectable 9:04 although I was shooting for an 8:30.