dangers of a winter run

The best part of winter running is that I don’t normally wear my headphones. Be it the cold air flowing in and out of my lungs or the snow crunching under my Brooks, I don’t require a distraction in the same way I do during summer running.

When the first snowfall hit Michigan on a weekend, it was the perfect opportunity to get out for a long run. The snow was soft and delicate, enough to create a coating but not enough to completely cover the earth underneath. It was slick enough for me to take my time, and to be mindful of every step.

During mile 3 of my run, I passed a house with a curb full of oddments – a chalkboard, a coffee table with glass top, an infant car seat, and a headboard / footboard with the paint chipping along its rails. I looked upon the items with sadness, the way I always did when it was time to give something up. I wondered if someone with a van would be by to collect them and they would find a new purpose, or if they would just become bits and pieces, scattered and forgotten in a recycling center somewhere. My gaze was fixed upon the massive nail sticking out of the top of the headboard. It was positioned in my direction – one wrong step, one slip, one toe out of place at the wrong time – that’s all it would have taken to end up in my eye, or through my head. I’ve been a mother for over a decade now, so my mind operates on high alert. This acute awareness makes me look at things differently. Forget hypothermia and frostbite. I started paying attention to the things outside that could take me down.

A magazine, wet and hidden under a fresh blanket of snow.

2. A traffic barricade – flat on the sidewalk – random pieces sticking up next to it.

And finally, the most dangerous of them all – the tactile paving as the sidewalk ends and the street begins. Little bumps that are so slick in the snow and rain, I would rather just jump over them than to endure the fate that awaits.

Different seasons, different hazards. No matter the season, there are risks every time I step outside my front door, but I wouldn’t be who I am without taking that step, and taking all of the steps I do when I’m running. I am excited about the cold, snowy running months ahead in Michigan and I’ll be sure to add photos of additional running hazards as I see them.