- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 8, 2002

OK, so we got a little snow.
According to the weather forecasters, who run a virtual tie with the economists for poor accuracy, we are in store for much more of the white stuff this winter.
Many runners just don't like to deal with the snow, so they either go indoors to the gym or they don't run at all until the coast is clear. Granted, running in the snow is a challenge, but it still is possible and quite rewarding.
Here is what I learned from 22 years of running in Boston and Rochester, N.Y.
Given the choice between getting hit by a car and diving headfirst into a snowbank, pick the snowbank. Either way, you will end up in the snowbank. I've done it both ways. The first choice once landed me in the hospital for an overnight visit.
Everybody knows not to eat yellow snow do not fall in it either.
If you are not particularly swift on clear ground, then you might want to wear those elbow and wrist guards like the inline skaters do. But wear them under your warmup suit so you don't look like a dolt.
The worst part of snow is the slush when the melt begins. There is nothing more shocking to the body than stepping ankle deep into ice water. It's even worse than being splashed in the face with slush from a passing vehicle.
It is not advisable to wear one of those court jester hats with bells during an hour run. While it may be cute to the people you pass, that doesn't make up for the ringing in your ears for the next several days.
Myth No. 1 SUVs are the safest vehicles when passing you because they have better traction. Wrong: SUV drivers cannot handle their vehicles on dry land, let alone in icy, snowy road conditions.
Myth No. 2 Dehydration is a killer problem only when it is warm. Wrong: The sweat dripping from your four layers of clothing came from somewhere.
The most important part of running in the snow is to have fun. You certainly are not going to run record times, so use these workouts to just maintain your fitness.
The ones that got away
In a conference call with the 2002 Track & Field Hall of Fame inductees two weeks ago, prolific four-minute miler Steve Scott blamed youth soccer for the demise of middle distance running in the United States.
"A lot of our best middle distance runners never get involved in track," Scott said. "They start in soccer at age 6 and never leave it. The demise in middle distance running in this country pretty much parallels the rise of youth soccer."
But he also could blame football, baseball, basketball, tennis and golf.
How high and far would basketball star Michael Jordan have jumped as a field athlete? Would speedy Redskins cornerback Darrell Green have broken the world record in the 100 meters?
Remember what happened to Renaldo Nehemiah, arguably the world's greatest 110-meter hurdler? He tried to make a career as a San Francisco 49ers wide receiver. Could he have bettered his world marks had he stayed with track and field for a few more years? Would Tiger Woods have been a baseball star?
Then again, maybe the 46-year-old Steve Scott could have been a great golfer had he spent the time swinging the clubs rather than surviving hellish workouts on the track and roads for decades. Instead, he awakes every morning knowing that he still holds the American outdoor and indoor records in the mile.
General makes trials again
Darrell General qualified for his fifth Olympic trials marathon with a 2:19:34 clocking, nailing third place at the Philadelphia Marathon two weeks ago. Washington-based Ethiopian Retta Feyissa, hot off his third-place effort at the Montgomery County Marathon in the Parks just seven days before, ended up seventh in 2:24:05.
Gaithersburg-based Russian Tatyana Maslove was the women's champion in 2:39:47. Former Washington area favorite Kimberly Saddic was fourth in 2:43:20, an Olympic trials qualifier for 2004.

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