Sunday, March 16, 2014

Some runners got innovative this winter

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, March 16, 2014
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2014


Running may be a lonely activity but many runners are eager to share their horror stories of this winter that we can hope is now past.  On the other hand sometimes it is all in your perspective.  For Carol Chen of Wharton who said that she hails from the coldest region in China, frigid temperatures were not a big deal.

She donned an extra layer of clothing on her torso and double layers of gloves along with a hat and she was ready to go. She said her main issue was icy road conditions, especially when she ran after work in the dark. 

“At least I could spot icy spots on roads during daytime,” said Chen who will be running in her first marathon this weekend.  The alternative was runs on the treadmill, which she classifies as “Dreadful!”

All the runners said that the icy roads were their biggest concerns, especially if they had tried to run after sundown.  Runners like Wendy Locke of Boonton who normally have access to off road trails that do not get cleared of snow had to find an alternative. 

Locke said that she prefers to run outdoors despite the cold, since she works in an office all day.  She avoids using a treadmill.

“For safety I’m sticking to quiet residential back roads where traffic is at a minimum,” said Locke, “And keeping a wary eye out for potholes and icy patches.”

“It has been very tough training for Boston this winter,” said Cande Olson of Chatham.  “I have kept up with my training plans by moving my long runs to days I could run outside and running the rest inside.”

Olson can handle temperatures down to 10 degrees, but she too is very wary of ice.  Her alternative is to run on the treadmill.  She said that the longest treadmill run was seven miles but she also ran indoors sans the treadmill.

“I also moved the furniture around in my finished basement so I could do short runs (2-3 miles) inside without a treadmill,” said Olson. “Ten second laps around the furniture.  I estimated 66 laps to the mile!”

On Thursday of last week she wrote, “Today I ran 20 miles outside! It was luxurious!”

Olson is not the only runner to get innovative this past winter.  Pete Lee of Randolph who is the team captain of the Geezer squad within the Garmin racing team said that his team has been trying to prepare for the Miles for Music 20K that is next weekend.

Like Locke he and his team have been shut out of the trails they normally run.  “We miss running Madeline’s trails in Roxbury (the West Morris Greenway in Randolph and Roxbury) and the Columbia trail,” said Lee.  “Our normal weekend routine when we are not racing is to run one day on the asphalt and one day on the trails or a track to save our aging joints.”

When he can’t run on trails or roads Lee runs in his covered, well lit and mostly ice free parking garage.  He says he is not a treadmill guy.  Like Olson he isn’t above turning his house into an indoor track. 

“When no one else is home I have even resorted to running back and forth [in the house] when the temperature dips below twenty.”

What has impressed me was the dedication of the runners who responded.  Many of them were training for early spring marathons and managed to get the mileage they needed.  Perhaps the people who I know are the true hard core runners.  Two who I contacted admitted that the winter had been too much for them or were limited by their lack of access to safe running locations.  Both of these were eager to get restarted when spring arrives.  Perhaps it has.


Championship racing begins next Sunday in Johnson Park in Piscataway with the Miles for Music 20K.  All divisions will be on the line hoping for a good start to the team racing and New Balance Grand Prix season.  The race will start at 9:00 a.m. and later a mile and 5K will start at 12:30 p.m.  More information can be found through a link on the USATF New Jersey LDR race calendar or at

Race Results can often be found at or at 
A calendar of USATF sanctioned events can be found at or at for running and tri and biathlon events.
Contact Madeline Bost at

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