Steve Schallenkamp: Don’t make this the winter of your discontent – The Daily Freeman

Steve Schallenkamp: Don’t make this the winter of your discontent  The Daily Freeman

With the recent time change and last week’s blustery weather, the onset of winter is imminent.
Running in the dark and cold can be pretty daunting. There are evolutionary and biological
reasons why the human animal wants to “hibernate” or retreat indoors.

Kingston Turkey Trot winner Jack Ruske, left, and second-place finisher Andrew Lee. (Photo Provided)

However, there are many reasons for runners not to succumb to this instinct. Rather than avoiding running outside in the winter, we should embrace this time of the year.

Running is an all-year activity. Different times of the year should be used for different training
purposes. Winter is the perfect time of the year for building your mileage and establishing an
endurance (aerobic) base for the rest of the year. In my more than 50 years of winter running,
there have only been a few days each winter when I could not run outdoors. Think blizzards or
nor’easter storms. Generally speaking, after 10 or 15 minutes of being cold, you warm up nicely
and can run as much as you want.

One winter, I did a lot of running with two friends who were preparing to run the Boston
Marathon in the spring. The runs were longer and slower than I was used to running. When
spring came, I added some hill work and, later on, speed work. I wound up having a spectacular
year of racing. I had finally learned how to use the winter to build a base with what Arthur
Lydiard called “LSD,” or long slow distance training. Beyond base building, there are other
powerful reasons to run outdoors in the winter.

Many people suffer from seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. The lack of sunlight and Vitamin
D, combined with being stuck indoors, can make us feel depressed and low-energy. In addition,
the warm, dry air in our workplaces and homes can dry out our respiratory system and make us
more susceptible to illness. On the other hand, getting outside in the winter can be invigorating
and combat the negativity of cabin fever.

Stephanie Diacovo, left, who finished first among the women at the Kingston Turkey Trot, with men’s third-place finisher Tim Leiching. (Photo Provided)

Breathing fresh air strengthens our immune systems. The fresh air and oxygen kill bacteria and
fuel the cells that help fight off viruses and other invaders. Biologically, it is natural for us to put on winter weight. Running in the cold makes your body burn more calories than in warm weather running. It boosts your metabolism for hours after running. If you use the winter to get in long slow distance runs, you won’t have any winter weight to lose. You will be ready to ramp up your training when spring comes.

With the advent of yaktraxs and microspikes, you can safely run on snow and ice. This kind of
footing is more challenging and can help you work on balance and strength, as it works different
muscle groups and your core. When you step outside into the dreaded cold and wind and then
struggle with the ice and snow but still get in your run, it makes you feel like a warrior. It teaches
you to overcome adversity, making you a better runner. Perhaps the most important reason to run outside is that while staying indoors provides warmth, comfort, and security, being outside on a clear, crisp winter day provides beauty.

Carla Bautista, who finished second among the women at the Kingston Turkey Trot. (Photo Provided)

Here are a few tips to make winter running more comfortable: Invest in good gear. I like mittens with a Gore-Tex lining. Get a warm hat that you can pull down below your ears. You can purchase running shoes with a Gore-Tex lining that helps keep your feet dry in slushy, wet conditions. Finally, remember to dress in layers. Layering is the key to staying comfortable and warm. There are three layers for runners: a base layer of moisture-wicking material and a looser second layer to create an air pocket that keeps your body warm. Then an outer layer that is wind- and rain-resistant.

Another tip is on extremely windy or cold days make your running routes smaller loops so that
if you ever think you are getting into trouble, you are always close to home or your car. Run into
the wind on your way out and have the wind at your back for the return.

If you have difficulty motivating yourself to run in the cold weather, consider joining one of the
many areas running clubs. Running with others is a great way to make yourself accountable and
make running a fun social activity. In Ulster County, there are the Onteora Runners Club, the
Shawangunk Runners, and the Keegan Army. There are the Mid-Hudson Road Runners and the
Eastern Dutchess Road Runners in Dutchess County, and, in Orange County, check out the
Orange Runners Club.

After The Leaves Half Marathon

The weather in November was unpredictable. On Nov. 7, runners woke up to run the New
York City Marathon and faced record-high temperatures in the 70s. This, combined with high
humidity, turned their race into a survival trek.

The After the Leaves/Josh Feldt Half Marathon was one week later, and by the start of the race, temperatures were in the mid-40s, nearly ideal for distance running. Heavy rain from a tropical storm led to flooding around Awosting Lake. While setting up the course, I ran through all the flooded areas to make sure everything was safe. I felt a childlike joy splashing through all the “puddles.” There was one spot where the lake and the trail appeared to become one. Many of the runners enjoyed the extra challenge of running through six to nine inches of water.

Taking the top two spots in the race were first-time half-marathoners Lukas Muzila (1:22:09) and Stephen Smith (1:22:44). Coming in third was Brian Larossa with a 1:25:02 clocking. The top
three women were Isabel Present (1:32:24), Rebecca Holton (1:33:39), and Catherine Herne
(1:42:23). Top masters runner (over 40) was 54-year-old Jeff Conston (1:28:31) taking sixth
place overall. In addition, two New Paltz High School teenagers had impressive half-marathon
debuts with top-ten finishes. Mason Eyler finished fifth overall (1:28:06), and Max Hawkins
finished eighth in 1:29:42.

The race had 201 finishers, and the Shawangunk Runners would like to thank Garvan’s
Gastropub in New Paltz for the many gift certificates donated to award winners. In addition,
P&G’s Restaurant once again donated hot soup for all finishers and the new Rabble Rise
Doughnuts in New Paltz provided delicious specialty cookies.

Kingston Turkey Trot History

In the 1980s, I remember Eileen Casey-Pine being the race director for a Turkey Trot 5k that
started at the Community Theater (now UPAC) and was held for two years. The race headed
down Cedar Street and down to Wilbur Avenue and back.

In the early 1990s, George Tomson, the Kingston High Cross Country coach, and Dan Bigelow,
the principal at J.W. Bailey Junior High, organized a co-ed Turkey Trot relay race out of Dietz
Stadium. It was later moved to the Miller Middle School campus. Over time, Tomson and
Bigelow retired, and the race ended in the late 1990s.

Kingston did not have another turkey trot until the Junior League of Kingston hosted its first one
in 2013. The race was organized as a fundraiser for building a new playground at Forsyth Park.
This year was the 10th annual, and the race had more than 500 registrants for the 5k and nearly
2-mile walk/run. The weather was ideal for running this year, and new course records were set in both the men’s and women’s divisions. Jack Ruske from Boston was the overall winner with a quick 15:56 time. Ruske, a medical school student at Boston University, was in the area visiting his girlfriend’s
family. Taking second and third, respectively, were Kingston High School runners Andrew Lee (16:15) and Tim Leiching (18:28).

Stephanie Diacovo from Kingston ran a fast 17:48 to finish third overall and first for the women. Following Diacovo to the finish line was Kingston High School’s Carla Bautista at 19:29. Taking third was Isabelle Monaghan from Newton, Mass., with a 20:03.

The other day I was driving south on Lucas Avenue and a person was running near the Spring
Lake Firehouse. It was dusk, and night was settling in. The person was wearing dark colors and
running with his back to traffic. When I saw him at the last second, my heart nearly failed. I still
don’t know how I didn’t hit him. Please run against traffic so you can see the headlights of
oncoming vehicles and react. Also, this time of year, be sure to wear bright colors, a headlamp,
reflective clothing, and a vest with flashing lights or reflective material.

I hope to see many of you at upcoming events. First, on Dec. 3, the Mid Hudson Road
Runners Club will host the 41st Pete Sanfilippo Holiday Run, a five-miler in Wappingers Falls.
Then, on Dec. 4, the YMCA of Kingston and Ulster County presents the 39th Reindeer Ramble
5K. Also on Dec. 4, the Orange Runners Club will host its annual Jingle Jog 4 Miler in
Middletown. Finally, to finish the year, the Onteora Runners Club’s legendary Viking Run six
miler in Rosendale is on Dec. 31.

Steve Schallenkamp has been active in area running circles since 1966 as a runner, race director, volunteer and coach. He is a member of the Onteora Runners Club and president of the Shawangunk Runners Club.