Sunday, December 9, 2007

Ice Capades

Alaska is full of outdoorsy people. Usually this time of year, we are all out on our skis, happily schussing along the trails or runs in a state of wintry delirium. With a distinct lack of snowfall for December, running is replacing skiing as the most available mode of outdoor activity. (Photo at left is from Jan '07)
I mentioned previously that ice has made even walking down the sidewalk treacherous, so to some the mere idea of running (on purpose) during such a cold snap is unthinkable. But ice or not, getting outdoors, especially during our dark days is imperative.
Before I moved to Alaska, ice and snow was an excuse to stay in, as moving about could prove fatal, or so we were told. But Alaskans, like many others who live in snow and ice-prone areas, have a solution in the ice cleat. But until about a year ago, I didn't know we could actually run in them.
Almost every evening, after the kids are in bed, I dress for my half-hour of solitude (depending upon the temperature, this could take a half-hour itself). But the final touch is my shoes, permanently affixed with spikes similar to golf shoes. I scritch-scratch my way across the deck and down to the driveway and street, where the spikes confidently grab the icy surface. Nighttime, besides bringing the thermometer to zero, also brings quiet, and the only sound I hear is the crunching of my shoes.
Stars are out, and sometimes the Northern Lights, giving me all the visibility I really need. Occasionally I have to slow down a bit to navigate a slippery turn, and sometimes the wandering moose, but generally I run faster in the winter than other times of the year. My spikey shoes and their sound byte also give me cadence, and I jog along like a Marine recruit, enjoying the regular sound of my feet hitting the ground.
I am always almost sorry to round the corner to the house. My husband, who doesn't always like the fact that I run at night, suggests that perhaps I might run during the daytime after my tenure at work is finished. Perhaps. But there is too much hustle, too much bustle, and not enough quiet contemplating.
Night. All is calm. All is bright.

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