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A Runner's Journal: A Clean Start

By: Jim Burnett

Early morning, Monday, December 18, 2023: A Clean Start - Day #16

My right foot, snugly enveloped inside the warm, weatherproof protection of the Saucony Peregrine Ice+ 3s, landed gently on its heal and rolled smoothly onto its wide outsole. I didn’t slip. The tread on its outsole is a speckled, black and blue composite material referred to as PWRTRAC ICE that somehow creates traction on icy surfaces.

I could be see iced-over puddles sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar up the trail. I picked my way around them as best I could. Some stretched across the entire width of the trail and were unavoidable. I marveled at the much-needed stickiness of my new Ice+ 3s and carefully loped down the middle of the trail where the ice was flattest.

It was the 16th day of my Clean Start.

On December 3rd my nighttime HRV (heart rate variability), measured with precision by the wrist sensor of my Garmin Forerunner 955 as the time between my heart beats, had bottomed out at 49 milliseconds and begun to rebound. A couple of weeks later, I realized that the drop in HRV correlated closely with the effects of the flu shot I received on November 28th. The jabber told me that it could take up to 20 days for my body to build immunity to the vaccine. Convinced I was building immunity, I decided to make December 3rd the Day 1 of my Clean Start.

 The ice on the Northern Rail Trail slowed me down. I completed my 10-mile LSD run in about an hour and 50 minutes. I had hoped to run faster. Given the conditions, I was happy with my pace and effort. I picked up the pace for the last 3 miles. As I sped along the trail, my mind started to dream about new running goals. Maybe I could train to run another marathon after all. Would my body hold up?

Having finished my run, I walked back to my Jeep and reviewed my stats. A woman on a gravel bike swept around the bright-yellow gate that prevents unauthorized vehicles from using the trail. As she approached said cheerfully,

Great day to be outside


I replied and added,

A little slippery out though

I wondered if her nubby tires handled the ice as well as my Ice+ 3s.

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