Tuesday, 31 January 2012

What to do when it snows. Hmmmm, a run perhaps

As soon as Negrita woke up from her deep slumber this morning, the first thing she wanted to do was to go on the balcony as there was a fine covering of snow.  I am not sure whether all dogs love snow, but the vast majority I know do, and Negrita is no exception.  Just watching her little tail wagging was enough to tell me just what she wanted.  Yes you guessed it, a run in the snow.

Once we were all kitted up we headed out of the door.  I forgot my gloves but decided it wouldn't kill me to have cold hands and that they would soon warm up once I started running.  I find running in the snow very good training, but there are of course additional dangers.  Firstly you need to make sure you don't slip and fall.  Luckily it is not that icy at the moment so I decided the reward was greater than the risk.  The other thing to be careful of when running off road on the snow, is that you never know what is underfoot, and you can easily twist or sprain your ankle.  On the other hand it is a great ankle strengthener, which is exactly what I need right now.  So I decided to go for it.

I headed up towards the woods on the Zurichberg, and once in the woods I took Negrita's lead off so that she could run freely.  She was so content and whizzing up and down the path.  I had no chance to keep up, but she was extremely obedient and kept looking back to see if she was allowed to continue or whether she was meant to stop or run back towards me.  As soon as I gave her permission to continue she would be off again.  Now and again I played a trick on her by hiding behind a tree, but she would soon come back and find me.  At one point she was also struggling to climb over a fallen tree and was looking at me for help.  I knew she could do it if she wanted though so I jumped over the tree and kept running, and soon enough she was alongside me again as predicted.

As I looked at my GPS I was surprised by the slow pace, but I had been going uphill, off road and not really trying to go fast.  Nevertheless I decided I couldn't possibly allow myself to run my intended 10km in over an hour, so I upped the pace a bit.  On the downhill I really gave it some, and ended up scaring a group of 3 other runners as I shot past them.  There were a couple of people walking their dogs, and Negrita always goes crazy when she sees another dog.  There was a big German shepherd off lead too, and I was worried about how it would react to Negrita running towards it at full speed.  Luckily she had the good sense to stop when she got close to it, and to act very submissive.  She stood there as if she was frozen to the spot and looked down at the floor.  It did the trick and the other dog having proved he or she was the master walked quietly on with its owner not far behind.  Actually I have noticed that Negrita is much less likely to provoke other dogs when she is off lead than when she is on lead.  Maybe because she knows she doesn't have me right next to her to protect her, and could get bitten before I would be able to reach her.

When we exited the woods I wasn't quite sure where I was, but I soon got back my sense of direction.  We were over near the animal hospital, so I decided to run towards Irchel park and then do a lap of the Finnenbahn (track made of dirt and wood chippings).  The lap of the Finnenbahn was fairly fast and by the end of it I had made up the time I needed to make sure I would finish the run in under one hour.  After leaving Irchel park I headed back down the hill towards home, making a quick detour so that we would finish the run near the local park, giving Negrita a chance to play for a few minutes and to cool down before heading home.

We are now back home and she is curled up nice and warm on the sofa.  Whilst she will be resting for some hours, I am wondering what to do next.  The most likely plan is that I will go down to Holmes Place for a spot of free weights.  Firstly I would need to eat though, then I will see how I feel after that.  If I don't go to the gym then I should at least go for another run later today. 10km by itself is not that much at all in terms of MDS training.

Actually in the end I went for another short run later in the evening, 5km around the streets of Zurich.  It was a bit slippery on some of the lesser used streets so I tried to stick to the main ones.  I went down to Bellevue then up the hill to the Kunsthaus.  As I headed home it began to snow quite heavily.  I found I really enjoy running whilst it is snowing, as long as it isn't too cold, which luckily it wasn't.

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