Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Even we don't have a word for that kind of snow.

At least not one that doesn't have swear words in it. Let me describe. Picture packed down snow, really hard, but not yet ice, at least several inches deep. Now imagine as it warms up very slightly, and cars keep driving on it. All the pretty corners get rubbed off the snowflakes. They turn into a little tiny brown sphere of ice that don't stick to any of the uncountable number of other spheres of ice on the road. There will be at least several inches, maybe more. Maybe much more where it mounds up between the ruts. A car will pack it down a bit but squooge more out the side. And spinning, or slippage just mounds more of it up.

Running in this stuff is like running in very soft sand. That is, not terribly productive if your goal is to go forward with a minimum use of energy. Calgary does not plow most residential streets. Ever. A city that averages 1.3 m of snow per year, NEVER plows most residential streets. Only the bus routes, and the major connector roads. Their written snow removal policy is four words long, "Wait for a chinook".

I don't know how much snow we've had since early December, but it's at least a foot. We've had a couple days where some of it melted, and the salt that's in the gravel started to work. The streets were a sloppy enchilada the last couple days. Now it's cold again, so all that water freezes in a nice thin film. Plus, it's snowing again. People are getting stuck on residential streets. The City's response is to put out radio ads to tell people not to call the City asking them to plow the streets. The phone responders are tired of telling people to go F themselves. Well, they don't say that exactly, but it's what they mean.

Some of the bike paths get plowed, (yes, really, go figure!) and they're a joy to run on. Some don't, but they're still hard packed, so with yak traks, they're pretty well a joy to run on. Well, in between the mounds from the various places that do get plowed. But when you cross streets, or run on the streets, and some of the sidewalks, well, it's like running in that very soft sand.

Tonights run was in a bunch of that, but I put a firm limit on the heart rate. 130 and I'd start to slow down. Ran 10 walked 1 for 6 reps. Mostly it was good. Did an out and back, and didn't quite get back to my starting place, but the last part is up hill, in that snowy sand. churn churn churn. Calves felt a little tired, so I'm glad I didn't push it.

Nice night for a run. Light snow, maybe -5 C, no wind to speak of. Could be much worse. Walked to warm up, and to cool down. Stretched after my run. Calling this 1.25 hrs.


  1. One for the vault, eh? :) :) :)

    Unreal that they plow the bike paths -- only in Calgary, eh?

  2. Linda here - FYI, we had 51 cms of snow in December which is over 20 inches when you convert. This is better than 3 times the average December snowfall.


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