I don’t think I’ll ever forget my first race of 2022.

If I haven’t mentioned it before, winter racing isn’t exactly my favorite. In fact, if it weren’t for my running friends Darby and Sarah, I probably would NEVER race in the winter. I hate cold. I hate wind. And I ESPECIALLY loathe ice (unless I’m in hockey skates, and even then it’s sketchy).

Since the pandemic, the Selinsgrove winter race series has been cancelled, so this year, my attention turned to a race I had never done in Lewisburg. Knowing full well that a February race could offer snow, ice, wind, and maybe an abominable snowman, I still signed up. And, surprise, surprise, we wound up with a plethora of painful precipitation.

No problem, I thought. I have my trusty (and rusty) YakTrax from 2015’s miserably failed attempt at the Humdinger race.

Turns out, with Lewisburg being the home of Bucknell, that their streets are REALLY well cared for after a storm. So there I was overdressed with my GT-2000s retro-fitted with YakTrax to avoid any potential ice hazards.

Needless to say, with the extra weight on my shoes, and changes in gait due to these spikes, my poor calves were on fire for a good chunk of the race. I wasn’t able to run much, and every time I did, my tibias yelled at me to stop.

I decided to make the best of the situation and just keep moving. The air was freezing…I think it was in the teens, but the sun felt marvelous once I got going.

As I went along, I noticed how the sunlight made the snow piles on the edges of the roads sparkle like diamonds. Granted, they were dirty with bits of mud, leaves, twigs, stones, and other road debris. But when the light hit the crystal clear and snow white parts, they were exquisite.

I did eventually finish the race, still thinking about those snow piles and how I would turn my experience into a blog post.

Sometimes I feel like a dirty snow pile. Reborn through grace to reflect God’s light to a broken world. But like after a fresh snowfall, when everything is pure and white, the awful stuff, negative thoughts, and worldly desires throw their sticks and stones at me. Yet, despite all the dirt, God still chooses to use me, as hopefully a positive reflection of His love.

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