Running in winter has its problems. The biggest is ice. Okay, the biggest is freezing to death. Freezing to death, dehydration because your water bladder freezes (to death?) then ice. This post is about ice.
I went to Wisconsin for a run today. The girl at the forest hq asked if I had “something” for my feet because it was “a little” icy out there. I said I would be fine. I ran an ultra in Crystal Lake last Saturday. She said her sister did too. Small world. I told her I was training for the Kettle 100. She gave me “the look” and said good luck with that.
I got through the Frozen Gnome with the Yaktrax made for walking. I found out last night that they themselves didn’t make it through the Frozen Gnome. I consider it money well spent, seeing as they weren’t made for running ultras. But the ground was icy, and I had nothing to keep my bottom end in the bottom zone instead of in the top zone, which is where it goes when you slip and the top end goes in the bottom zone… you get the idea. So, being ever resourceful (cheap) and pressed for time (impatient) I decided to try Screw Shoes. A handy guide follows:
tl;dr Take drywall screws. Screw them into the bottoms of your shoes. You now have screw shoes. Great idea in theory. Also, maybe don’t use old incredibly worn out trail shoes. Because then the screws poke through and stab you in the foot. Then you have to try putting padded insoles in, but those are too big, so you figure What the hell? and just get stabbed. Lightly stabbed, but still stabbed. After a few miles, this may become a mild annoyance. Also, Kettle Moraine in January (or, The Return of the Glacier) is a solid slab of ice that drywall screws do not manage to cling to. So while screw shoes worked wonderfully on the sidewalk (for 100 feet) they did almost nothing on the trail. I’m pretty sure people in Illinois could hear me yelling obscenities every time I fell. And I fell. A lot. But nothing is broken, and I haven’t frozen to death (yet) so we’ll call it a win, if it was an unsuccessful test.
I will be buying running Yaktrax now.