"First Tracks": Term from winter sports - ski, snow shoe, running, mountain biking, etc. Considered a "prize", bragging rights, or gift. The first to lay down tracks in the first snow of the season, is said to have "first tracks". May also refer to being the first to make tracks in any freshly fallen snow after the first snow of the season...
Tuesday, I had the honor of making first tracks at a local park. While this isn't nearly as exciting at being the first to ski down a beautiful mountain slope, or being the first to break trail while snowshoeing in the back country, it was still a heck of a lot of fun.When I left home for my run, it had been snowing for some time, the weather report said it was 22, but felt like 11 and I believe they were right on that estimation. The snow continued throughout the duration of my run (around 90 minutes) and the wind gusts continually reminded me of how cold it really was. After 10 minutes of running, I really didn't mind the conditions as I settled into my rhythm, my breath, and my run. Plus, after going at it for 7 hours at the Tecumseh Trail Marathon, I blew any excuses I had for running in the cold and the snow. I figured I could hack it for a shorter run like this. No Excuses!
I headed to a park which is only a 10 minute run from my home. For the outside observer, one would think this to be like any other city park, yet upon closer examination, it is adjacent to a wooded area that is filled with trails and plenty of space for exploration.
As I arrived at the park, I noticed there were no cars in the parking lots and no one had been in the park since the snow feel. Sweet! To top it off, I also noticed that the only footprints in the freshly fallen snow were that of squirrel and what must have been a stray dog as there were no human tracks. Even more sweet, first tracks for me!
I've explored a few of the trails over the past couple months but felt like expanding on my familiar routes and was grateful for the inspiration. I "discovered" a couple sections, one ran parall to a stream, others undulated with a couple small and rolling hills. I found enough single track to keep me from repeating the same path for around 20-30 minutes. Hey, it's not the "Great White North", but it'll do.
My point in sharing this post and these pictures is to encourage you to get out and explore the "wilderness" that surrounds you. Even for city dwellers, with a little exploring and asking around, often you can find places to hit the trail and enjoy a little play time/working out while getting away from traffic, noise, and in this case, other people. Additionally, I want to encourage you to continue your outside workouts. Along with the spiritual and physical benefits of training outside, you also help prevent mental/emotional challenges that may arise in the winter; things such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), or just plain 'ol cabin fever! Fresh air and sunshine are known remedies for these conditions.
Was it cold and snowing? Yup, just look at these pictures I took when I returned home. Dressing properly makes ALL the difference. Growing a beard is very functional as well...
Here's to your winter training!