running on packed snow

"Snow on Second Street" by User:AnnaKucsma - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons

Run, run, run, slip.  Run, skid.  Run, run, run to the side to avoid the runner who just fell in front of me ..

It was Thanksgiving morning.  I was running in the middle of a pack of 5K runners, on several inches of snow that had been trampled & packed down by the 10K runners a few hours before.  The air was crisp and cold, the landscapes around us were beautiful, but every step was a discouragement.  I could feel the power in my stride dissipate every time my foot struck the hard, slick surface.

In the last race I’d run, I was ecstatic to set a new personal record and achieve a long-cherished goal pace.  Although I knew this race would be colder, hillier, and probably snowy, I had still hoped for a good time.  But as I slipped my way down the road, struggling to keep my balance, I knew I was falling back to a pace from years earlier, when I was still making the painful transition from couch potato to runner.  It shouldn’t have mattered so much to me, but it stung to know that even giving it all the effort I had, I would have nothing to show for it.

Fast forward a few days: it was the week after Thanksgiving, and I was standing in the middle of my messy basement.  Clean five minutes, change the baby’s diaper.  Five more minutes, take toddler to the potty.  Three minutes, toddler wants a snack.  Two minutes, baby is crying again … I was getting nowhere.  I abandoned the messy basement and took the girls upstairs for lunch.

Life with two small children, I thought somewhat bitterly, was like running on packed snow.  Give it all you’ve got, but don’t expect much.  You’re just lucky if you don’t fall down.

Wait a minute, the Lord said to me.  What did you see when you looked at the race results?

I thought back to looking over my husband’s shoulder at the online race results.  I wouldn’t have bothered looking at them, but after he looked up his own time (he’d done admirably in the 10K), he’d pulled up my results too.  I was surprised to see that I hadn’t run nearly so slowly as I thought.  It still wasn’t close to my recent personal record, but it was much, much faster than I had thought – much faster than it had felt when I was running it.

You might think this life is like that race, but you didn’t actually do so bad in that race.  And you’re actually doing fine here.

You’re doing fine.


3 thoughts on “running on packed snow

  1. Yes! You are doing fine. Also, your description of that 10 minute interval in the basement is very typical of our experience. It’s almost funny, when you put it that way. Well said!


  2. Very well said – I remember those days well, and, actually MISS them! Keep “running on the packed snow” – well, maybe slow down a little more and enjoy it along the way…


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