Winter is only a few weeks old, and it has been a cold, cold one already. That coupled with wind and snow has made it very uncomfortable. The thought of going outside is torturous. The thought of staying inside and never going outside again is a little less torturous.
So, what’s a runner girl to do? Go underground. Yes, you read that right, underground!
We have a local university that has a cave on campus that is not only home to some university facilities, but also local businesses. The cave can be a welcome retreat to runners and walkers alike during times of extreme weather–hot or cold.
So, what’s it like running in a cave?
Sixty-five degrees year-round! The temperature, of course, is the main reason for going and the advantage that I immediately noticed. After running in the cold weather, it was hard to keep from overdressing. Right now, I would call it a balmy sixty-five degrees. In the summer, it would be considered a cool retreat. My vehicle was covered in ice and snow, and even though it had warmed up some, I was still having trouble with the locks freezing up. By the time we were done with our work out, my vehicle was clear of snow and the locks were working as they should. It was also nice to return to a comfortable car after working out instead of getting in an ice-cold vehicle.
Clean, fresh air. With vehicles coming and going, the air in the cave is constantly being filtered. This makes for clean, fresh air in all places all of the time. I can’t always say this for outdoors with people driving by, mowing their yards, or sitting on their porches smoking.
Dry! The entrance to the cave had some wet spots, but other than that, it was dry, dry, dry! This was a great contrast to the conditions outside. We recently had snow and it was too cold for it to melt, so running outside was treacherous.
Flat. Overall the course is flat with some slight and gradual inclines and declines. This is not a place to work on hills, but it will keep you going when the weather is not conducive to running outside.
Well-lit. I know we think of caves as dark and gloomy, but they have done a great job making it feel just the opposite. The walls and ceilings are painted white and there are lights everywhere. There is no need to worry about wearing reflective clothing and lights so you can see where you’re going. It was nice not to have to put on all the extra gear for running in the dark. It was also nice to be able to see more than just a few feet in front of you.
Little traffic. This is not a high-volume area, so there was very little traffic. We also went at a time that the businesses probably would be closed and not receiving shipments, so there were no big trucks coming and going. The posted speed limit is 9.9 mph (really), so what traffic there was moved at a very slow pace.
No animals–yet. I started carrying my mace with me on every run simply because I have often ended up with a loose dog wanting to run with me or after me. After one big dog put his wet nose on the back of my leg, I decided that was a little too close for comfort. I’m a dog lover, and I love animals in general, but I also realize that they can suddenly become aggressive. I also understand the damage they can do in an instant. I didn’t see any animals in the cave, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a bat sometime.
“Can a man hide himself in hiding places So I do not see him?” declares the LORD. “Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the LORD. Jeremiah 23:24