People have lots to say about running in the winter in Seattle. “Ugh! It’s always raining!” “I love running in the rain!” “It’s dark so early!” There are many online discussions about what’s the best jacket for running in the rain (hint: there isn’t one, you’re gonna get wet), best gloves for the cold and wet, best shoes, best headlamp, and so on.
While I have plenty of gear to keep me warm during a winter run, I find the other challenge with winter running is where to go. All my favorite runs are in the mountains and as the snow falls so do the chances that those trails are accessible. I can run at Cougar and Tiger just so many times before I start losing any sense of adventure.
Last year at this time I was training for Black Canyon 100K, and I did plenty of runs that didn’t have “adventure” written on them just to get my training time in. But it’s been a long and for me successful year, and with no races yet on the docket (damn that WSER lottery!) I don’t feel driven to train.
So I’ve decided to mix it up.
A lifetime ago, I practiced Iyengar yoga fairly religiously. But Mike and I moved, and. I never found a studio I felt really good about, and after the kids were born a home practice always felt impossible.
A few weeks ago, another soccer mom and I were talking and she told me about BUTI Glow yoga. As soon as I hear about it, I was in! And, of course, I talked a few other friends into joining me. BUTI yoga is a fusion of hot yoga, loud music, tribal dance, and plyometrics … and BUTI Glow yoga adds in the fun of a black light and glow-in-the-dark paint.
It was challenging, sweaty, and fun. I didn’t realize slamming my hands down on my yoga mat to the beat of music while glow-in-the-dark sweat droplets fell from my face would be so … well, satisfying!
And now I have a membership for a couple of months, and I’ve been back for 90-minute sessions of hot yoga. I tried hot yoga a few years ago, and I remember walking into the studio and thinking “Oh my gawd it’s hot!” However, after a couple of months of sauna training this fall as I prepared for Javelina, the hot yoga studio doesn’t really feel that hot anymore. But it does feel awfully nice when it’s cold and raining outside, and I’m finding a new focus as I practice the structured form of hatha yoga.
Old Places, New Trails
I’ve also been trying to hit new trails at old places. Last weekend my friend Christy needed a 20-mile run, so Sarah and I joined her to keep her company. She mapped out a route that included a new trail on one of our old standard routes, and all of a sudden that old standard felt brand new. And then it started snowing big, fat flakes. And then it felt like a grand adventure!
Another local runner recently ran in the same area, and he posted some pictures of an old mine that’s in the same area. I had no idea it was there, and for my next run in that area I’m planning to go exploring and check it out. I’ll have no time goals, no distance goals … just the goal of exploring.
Hiking … in New Ways
This week has been very cold but clear and sunny. On Monday Sarah and I went to yoga (see, it’s a thing all of a sudden). Afterward, as we headed to our cars, she asked me if I’d be up for a sunrise hike at Mt. Dickerman off the Mountain Loop Highway. I hiked there more than a decade ago, and I remembered that it was beautiful … but it was summertime, and I started in the daylight.
This time we hit the trail at 5 a.m. and we witnessed the forest at night, with snow and ice crystals looking like glitter in the light of our headlamps. We saw the thinnest of a sliver of the moon partnering with Venus over the dark silhouettes of the mountains.
And then the world turned salmon, and orange, and pink; the snow around us adopted the same hues as we sipped on hot chocolate and jumped up and down trying to stay warm. And we counted to thirty as the sun finally worked its way over the adjacent ridge line.
So What’s Next?
I don’t know! But I have a feeling that yes-itis will guide my season … I’m open to new places, or new trails in old places, and to new experiences that may or may not involve glow paint.
What do you do in the winter to mix it up?