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Weathering the Storm with David Mendelsohn

This past winter was a tough one for New Yorkers. It introduced us to terms like “Polar Vortex,” and had countless days of face-stinging cold. For many runners, the weather was enough to restrict them to the treadmill. But not for Finish Line PT patient David Mendelsohn, who ran New Jersey’s Watchung Trail Marathon on January 4 with eight inches of fresh snowfall.

“It had snowed the night before,” Mendelsohn said. “And it hadn’t melted because it was 1 degree.

“I considered the night before not doing it at all because of how cold it was going to be. And then I emailed a friend to see if he was going to do it. He said, ‘Yeah it’s going to be great! We’ll be out in the wilderness with snow.’”

Mendelsohn laced up his sneakers and decided he was going to do it. He was already familiar with the course, having run the same race two years earlier — albeit in better conditions.

“The course is a 10K loop,” he said. “So the first time around it was through all the [fresh] snow, and then the second time it was kind of loose and slightly packed, and then it was a little more packed the third time. And then it was kind of, like, an icy packed the last time, but it was more packed, at least.

He was able to lean on his wealth of experience, having previously run a whopping 40 marathons. Naturally the conditions slowed him down, but Mendelsohn was still able to finish the race in just over five hours.

“I was really bundled up, so I was warm,” he said. “But it was tough to go through the snow. It was just a gruelingly slow pace. But I am humungously happy and pleased, in retrospect, that I made it through.”

Mendelsohn, who coaches for Empire Tri Club and Brooklyn Tri Club, has a word of advice for runners facing similar adversity (whether snow or otherwise):

“Don’t quit,” he says.

“If the day turns out to be really crappy and you’re having a crummy day — as long as you’re not doing damage to yourself, it feels a lot better two days later to look back at finishing than to look back and think, ‘Well, maybe I could have finished.’”

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