Snow warms you twice

My neighbor across the street owns a snowblower. A neighbor around the corner has a snowplow.

Their driveways are always nice and clean, even after the heaviest snowstorms.

I don’t have a snowblower or a snowplow. I have two shovels. My driveway is not always nice and clean. This time of year, it is usually filled with snow, ice, tire tracks, boot prints, chunks of frozen slush, and sometimes a stray sled or snowboard.

None of that bothers me. I can drive through or over just about anything in my Jeep Wrangler. Therefore, I don’t feel much pressure to shovel my driveway, which is more than 100 feet long.

Mrs. Trail Boy is not so fortunate. She drives a Toyota Matrix, a compact car with low clearance. Last night, returning from an errand, she got stuck halfway up the driveway, which was filled with a foot of snow. It took her a minute or two to get the car unstuck and into the garage.

So this morning, as I was finishing my coffee and was just about to pull on my running clothes, she said: “Can you shovel the driveway, please, before I go to work?”

Of course, I said yes. Snow shoveling or snow running — both are fine ways to start the day. Both give a good workout.

But it meant I would have to reschedule my run.

I pulled on my boots and spent 45 minutes shoveling the driveway, and in the process, filled my lungs with fresh air and did something constructive. I also worked up quite a sweat.

Afterward, I packed my gym bag and hoped I would have a chance to squeeze in a lunchtime run at work.

Thankfully, today was pretty quiet in my corner of the newsroom. At lunchtime, with a clean conscience, I drove to the canal towpath a few miles away and got in a five-mile run.

The scenery was spectacular — white hillsides, snow-covered trees, a blue sky. And most of the towpath was plowed, thanks to the Indianapolis Water Co., which owns the property, and usually does a good job keeping the path clear.

So today, I had two workouts for the price of one.

See what you might miss if you own a snowblower?


My recent post about mall walkers hit a nerve or two.

But even more surprising, the post was read by hundreds of trail runners from Massachusetts to California, and from England to Australia.

That was a first. Here’s how it happened.

Somehow, a trail runner named Liz Minton, who lives in Ulverston, England, stumbled across my post. Liz has a web site called “Go Trail Running,” which has an active following on Facebook. Liz linked to my post on her Facebook page yesterday and blasted it to several thousand followers, with this tease:  “Mall walking versus trail running. Hmmm, which one sounds better?”

In the past 24 hours, my post received more than 200 clicks, instantly making it one of my best-read entries since I launched this blog 11 months ago.

Readers weren’t shy about chiming in, both on the Facebook thread and my blog.

To my surprise, a few of them defended mall walkers, and gently criticized me for giving the walkers a hard time.

“It is GOOD that these mainly elderly people are exercising,” wrote Sean Dunlap of Sugar Grove, North Carolina. “They most likely have developed a healthy lifestyle and good friendships. They are not harming anybody.”
“Of course, running outside is better – but give these folks a break,” said Stephanie Collins of Boston. “We don’t know what reasons may keep them indoors and if they’re finding a way to move than it’s a good thing. Maybe in a year or two you might find that some of these folks have moved up and out to the great outdoors!”
“Mall walking happens here in Australia too! Maybe it has a place in the lives of some – those who have to walk in safe places because of balance and stability issues,” wrote Sonya Conrad of Adelaide, Australia.
But others were squarely in my corner.
“I hate malls and would never go there to exercise,” wrote Kim Allen of Worcester, Mass. “The woods is where I go to seek refuge and exercise.  I go to the mall for Starbucks and occasional dreaded shopping.”
“Trails absolutely, ” wrote Wayne Kurtz of Pittsburgh. “Even with all the snow we have, I am seeing more and more elderly people snowshoeing on trails and the golf course!”
“PUH-LEEEEZZ people! Trails win – no contest!” wrote Veronica Ligon-Cravin of Stanford, California.
Trail runners. We’re such a passionate crowd.

2 Responses to “Snow warms you twice”

  1. Congratulations – you picked up a ton of readers with that post. I’m convinced that no matter what the topic, there are people who will trash you for writing it. I had someone ream me out for letting a mouse die in a sticky trap, a long, lingering painful death, which I wrote about in a blog post. I think I made it very clear in my blog that I was SCARED OF THE MOUSE and wouldn’t touch it. Geesh, some people.

  2. Hi John, thanks for the link. it’s good that you raised a debate, how boring if everyone had the same point of view. The posts that raise the most comments are usually the ones where not everyone is in agreement – it makes people talk and draws more attention to your material. Keep it up!


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