Saturday, January 23, 2010

Deja Vu All Over Again

I wasn't supposed to be able to make this morning's 8am run. Middle son had an early indoor soccer game at 9:30 but got a better offer. He's assisting one of his dojo's sensei's at the downtown YMCA at 10am. Plus he gets paid for it. Mom offered to extend her ballet chaufeuring gig to include dropping him off. Win/Win. I get to run. Next Saturday his game is at 8:30, I think I'll be back driving the team bus.

Small group out to run this morning, Marc, Bob, and Julianna. Bob had the route figured out but forgot to reset the thermostat to turn the heat up. A brisk wind out of the east cooled an already cold morning even further. By the time we found the University Hill the sun was out, we were warmed up but every once in awhile the wind would slap your face.

Footing was uneven the entire route. Melt water was frozen in disparate patches wherever it had an opportunity to pool. After Marc's spill earlier this month everyone was watching their footing and pointing out patches of ice, rocks, and other obstacles in our path.

The sun was causing problems for me today. I wear transition lenses, with UV protection but no polarization. Moving in and out of light and shadow I was having occasional glare problems. Running through the pedestrian tunnel on Platt's Lane, I experienced something similar to the sensation of vertigo between the light and dark and the uneven footing. It was a very unnerving sensation.

I almost had a spill was we turned on to Wharncliffe at Oxford. Marc very clearly yelled, "Look Out" as the sidewalk became an ice rink, but the transition out of the glare of the sun caused me to miss the meaning of his warning.

Bob called an audible and adjusted the planned route to get off of Wharncliffe and use Wilson to Riverside. We'd have the option to run on the road on Wilson instead of being trapped on the sidewalk along Wharncliffe.

Making the turn at Blackfriars to get to Wilson it happened. Melt water pools whenever the sidewalk merges with the street. However small the pudddle, it freezes smooth, and almost invisible. Its a runner's worst nightmare. If your plant foot hits a patch of this black ice you're down. This is what happened to Marc. Today it happened to Julianna.

The good news is she's OK. A bit banged up. She's tough.

We cut the run short - wingman rules.

In post run discussions, the consensus seems to be that the problem is not being able to look down to check footing and check traffic at the same time. Marc had just finished crossing the street when he went down. Julianna was just about to step on to the road. The footing went from good to none in an instant.

There is no multitasking when running on icy surfaces.

Slow down.

Be safe.

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