How social media made my solo 18-miler in the snow better

While it was tough to run in at times, the snow in Salisbury was pretty. Here’s a view from South Park Drive. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

Eighteen miles. Three pairs of socks. Two phone charging breaks.

Here’s a selfie I took not too long into my snow run. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

After what ended up being pretty much an all-day affair, I had finished running 18 miles in the snow. I generally plan my long runs for Sundays, but I knew the weekend was going to be colder than normal, and I saw the high was supposed to be 39 degrees on Monday, when I happened to be off.

Well, as anyone who lives here in Salisbury knows, we got a bunch of snow. It was still snowing when I started running. But it was my last chance to get what was originally supposed to be a 22-miler in.

I like snow runs, but because of the amount of snow we got and the fact that it was still snowing, so little was paved or shoveled, it at times felt like I was doing high knees, or maybe even lifting weights with my feet. Plus, a snow run for me would normally not be 18 miles.

It was slow going. When I reached Mile 2, it had been nearly 30 minutes. I then decided to change the run to a 20-miler, and by the time I was around Mile 16 or so, with soaking wet feet and blurred glasses from the precipitation, I decided I’d be happy with 18.

Even for someone who loves to run, a solo long run of this length is daunting for me. I enjoy running with company to have someone to talk to — it’s fun, and it’s a distraction from the fact that you’re running more than any so-called “normal” person would want to.

Here’s a snowy view from the Salisbury City Park. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

So, I had to keep myself entertained. I started out by posting on Periscope, a live-streaming app, about my snow running. The first video did well, and I decided I’d live-tweet the run, using the hashtag #vjsnowrun. The second video I posted did even better.

Check out my Periscope links and live tweets in the Storify below. Unfortunately, I can’t embed it, but I hope you look at it!

STORIFY: Live tweets from an 18-mile snow run 

Periscope did use a ton of my phone battery, and I found myself turning around to make it back to my house at five miles, where I took a break to charge my phone. It ended up being a longer break than I would have liked. I watched my Periscope videos to see what they looked like to viewers and read from a magazine.

I found this snowman during my run. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

After my phone was about halfway charged, I decided I didn’t want to wait any longer and went back out. My hands quickly felt very cold, and I was considering turning back to try warming up my gloves, but that feeling subsided after a little more running, and I continued on.

I took my first fall at 6.5 miles, but I was fine. It’s not a snow run without a fall, right? (Kind of like trail running in that way.)

I reached the halfway point at about two-and-a-half hours. I took another break at Mile 13.25. My phone had died at Mile 11, but I wasn’t super close to my house, so I kept running until I reached it.

Not only was I using my phone for social media, but I was also listening to music to keep myself occupied.

After another break to charge the phone — and meanwhile, I charged my watch, which was looking low — I headed back out for what I thought would be 6.75 miles. It was great to run on some clear road and some shoveled sidewalks, but on some other roads, I was sinking into puddles and deep slush.

Unfortunately, this is what things looked like during the last portion of my run, and unfortunately, that is my footprint in the foreground. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

I could feel water in my shoes, and my feet were soaked for most of this last portion — and this is with a pair of socks I’d just put on during the break. I was also wearing my glasses and I could hardly see out of them; I had to keep trying to wipe them off.

I also had to keep moving out of the way for cars, but then when I moved to the sidewalk area, I just sunk into slush or puddles.

I decided I had been out long enough, and decided to make my way back to my house, ending at 18 miles.

One consideration in ending a little early was that I really felt I deserved a post-run hot chocolate after spending much of the day outside running, and I didn’t want to drive after it got dark. I ended up getting a hot chocolate and a muffin from Rise Up Coffee.

As you can see in the Storify, my first Periscope was posted at 11:18 a.m., while my “Miles 17 & 18” tweet was posted at 5:13 p.m. I wasn’t lying when I said it was pretty much an all-day affair.

Hot chocolate is a good motivator. I enjoyed this hot chocolate and muffin from Rise Up Coffee after my run. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

Since I’m working Sunday, my next long run — 14 miles are on the schedule — will have to be Saturday. For now, there’s a high of 63 degrees predicted — that should be much different!

Like my live tweets? I also live-tweeted the Rehoboth Seashore Half Marathon. Check that out here.

Follow She Runs by the Seashore on Facebook here

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