No hawk hangs over in this air:
The urgent snow is everywhere.
The wing adroiter than a sail
Must lean away from such a gale,
Abandoning its straight intent,
Or else expose tough ligament
And tender flesh to what before
Meant dampened feathers, nothing more.
Forceless upon our backs there fall
Infrequent flakes hexagonal,
Devised in many a curious style
To charm our safety for a while,
Where close to earth like mice we go
Under the horizontal snow.

The Snow Storm by Edna St. Vincent Millay

The first snow of Winter in 2010 has been a hard one. Aberdeen and most of the country has been under a huge amount of snow in the last few days, which began pelting down in earnest last Tuesday and hasn’t really stopped since. Heavy snow up here is not usual, but it usually holds off until late December and the New Year before making a nuisance of itself.

I enjoyed a couple of runs at the gym after work last week and the closest I got to running outside was the clumsy battle from the gym to my car through the horizontal snow.  I noticed that the die-hard members of the Aberdeen Metro Running club were still meeting at 6pm for their run as I was leaving – I looked on in admiration as the smiling gazelle-legged women and men headed out into the blizzarding darkness at great speed, promising myself that I would give it a go come the weekend.

On Friday night it was my pleasure to host a successful second meeting of the Granite Literary Society, a slightly tongue-in-cheek book group set up by a few of my friends. This month we’d been reading “This Is Paradise: My Childhood in North Korea” by Hyok Kang which prompted lively discussion interspersed with Nepalese food and cats.

When I woke up on Saturday and looked out of the window and saw this:

I knew that it was a good day to give running in the snow a try. After some initial trepidation I weighed up the pros and cons and then made the decision to go for it as it was too nice a day to be stuck inside on the “dreadmill”!

After wrapping up in plenty of layers, I dug out the car and headed down to the beach. I wore a pair of thick opaque tights under my Nike capri pants, a long sleeve top with a tshirt over the top and my windproof gilet on top of that as well. My forearms were feeling a little exposed so I fashioned some arm-warmers out of a pair of knee high 40-denier socks and slipped them up under my sleeves. With my gloves on over the top there was no exposed skin and I had just the right amount of warmth in my arms. Who needs expensive Under Armour armlets when you can butcher an old pair of socks!?

As you can see from the pictures, my glorious morning was rapidly slipping away from me as that huge snow storm was rolling in from the North East. I got going quickly and ran a speedy 3 miles along the beach front in 23 minutes and finished just as the snow started pelting down again. Grim!

It passed soon enough though, and the sun came out again.

As I expected I truly enjoyed myself; the hardest bit was getting myself out of the house in the first place. The temperature never got above 0C but thankfully there was only a light wind. The beach front was still very snowy which made the terrain surprisingly easy to traverse as it had not yet been compacted into ice. I didn’t feel like I was going to slip, but it definitely required more concentration than usual to make sure I wasn’t going to trip over something and damage myself!

So snow running? Verdict: Win. I just wish there were more daylight hours during my working week in which to enjoy it safely, however like most people in the North I leave for work in the the dark and it’s dark when I leave.