Running ON the lake

Just this past Saturday, I went for a run on the lake … yes, I said, “on.” The other day my friend invited me to go with her and her brother for a run on Utah lake.

Now, before you think that we’re all nuts, temperatures around here for the past few weeks have been in the well below freezing range, with highs in the 20’s and lows in the negative range.  With consistently low temperatures, the lake has frozen solid.

But before you think that I jumped at the chance, I did actually do my research. When I went to the Utah Lake website, they were actually encouraging people to get out on the lake for winter recreation, and running was one of the activities listed. Here is the article:  Winter Wonderland: Top 10 things to do at Utah Lake when it’s frozen.

I also went to a blog, where one of our ultra marathoning legends,Davy Crockett, had posted about having run over 200 miles on the lake, and had a video depicting his experience. In the video, he described different things that you would see and sounds that you would hear. I also had a friend who was going that afternoon, and reported later to me how awesome it was! I was getting more and more excited by the minute.

I took an old pair of shoes to my friend’s house, where she had her husband put some screws in the bottom of them to prevent slipping. Here is a tutorial on how to do this.

As it got closer, I wanted even more for my husband to come with me. I was even able to secure a babysitter for 6 am, but he isn’t a morning person, and decided not to come. Man, did he miss out!

Our plan was to drop my car off at a dock in Saratoga Springs, drive over to Provo, and then run the 7 miles across the lake back to Saratoga. Oh, first a little background on Saratoga Springs: It is named for the warm springs it has in the side of the lake that are in that city. So, there are some warm springs that could prove dangerous. We did our research, and started at a dock that was far from the warm springs, so that we wouldn’t encounter any danger.

When we got out of the car in Provo, the temperature read 5 degrees. Soooo cold! We got moving quickly, so that our bodies would warm up. The first mile or so, was kind of weird because it was all new, and we had the fact that we were running on ice, forefront in our minds.

After a couple of miles, though, it wore off. But by that point, we were out in the middle of the lake, and there was white everywhere. Absolutely no sign of the shoreline. We had our GPS and compass apps on our phones, so we were able to keep good tabs on where we were headed.

We stopped a few times to take pictures of cool things we saw along the way, but soon found that e very time we stopped, we would sweat, causing us to be cold again, and it would take the next few minutes of running again, to warm up. So, we did our best to just keep moving.

Once we reached Saratoga, we were on such a runner’s high, that we decided that we wanted to run the 7 miles back to Provo, totaling 14 miles on the ice. Never has 14 miles aver felt so good. When we reached Provo, I jokingly said, “do you want to do another round?” But, really, I wasn’t joking. Reality set in, and I knew I needed to get home. :)–Funny story: When I told my 8-year-old son what I was planning to do, he said, “Mom, why can’t you just keep to the roads?!”

As we exited the ice, we looked to our right and saw a bunch of people who were finishing a 5k race, and then all lining up to do a polar plunge into the icy waters. The thought in my mind was, “Those people are nuts!” Then I figured that they were probably thinking the same thing about us! 🙂

Such a wonderful experience that I will not soon forget.

**If this seems like an adventure that you want to experience, here are a few tips I have come up with, for running on the ice:

1. Do your research. The lake should post updates on ice thickness, but if it doesn’t, go and cut a section of the ice yourself. The ice should be at least 3″ thick. This usually happens after days and weeks of temperatures in the below freezing range.

2. Don’t go alone. As is the case with all risky activities, there is safety in numbers.
3. Dress appropriately: Ice is cold, so make sure you are covered head to toe in warm clothing. Make sure you layer on in your upper body and chest area, as well as on your extremities. A hat is a must.
4. Get your shoes ice ready:  Ice is also slippery, so you may want to get your shoes ready for the ice, by making a few adjustments. Here is a link with instructions on how to do that. It is best that you do this to an older pair of shoes; once they’re ice shoes, there’s no going back.
5. Use a GPS or compass: As opposed to running on the road or trails, there are no marked paths on a frozen lake. A GPS or compass will ensure that you make it to your intended destination.


This entry was posted in born to run, exercise, family exercise, health, running, winter running and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Running ON the lake

  1. Dominick S. says:

    That is crazy…glad its “safe” but no thanks! I would be afraid I would disappear only to be rediscovered 1,000 years later in a block of ice…

    • runariran says:

      Haha! I totally get it. We have had over 3 weeks of temperatures well below freezing–like highs of 10′ and lows of -15. It is rock solid. Super fun!

  2. you are a serious badass. i love running but i never ever want to exercise outside in the winter, and where i live it doesn’t get as cold as that. i’m so totally impressed.

  3. JR says:

    Ari, I love it! Some local bikers did that same ride across the lake on moonlander-fat mountain bike tires in the past few weeks, and it was the most awesome-looking mapped ride I’ve seen ’round these parts! That’s funny, I had found that exact same “screw shoe” article a while back and have been meaning to try it, but I have some good ice cleats, too. You and Becky and the others looked like you were having a blast making great memories.

  4. Jelena says:

    Your runs are so encouraging! It must have been an amazing experience. The snow and the sky look SO beautiful. I wish I coul hav been there…but I did a run in the snow today, and it was awesome. Please keep blogging about your running experiences! 🙂

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