Today was one of those days where I had a small window of time to fit a run in, and no sooner did I leave the house it started snowing. The temperature was slightly above freezing, and it had been raining for the last couple of days, which meant the pavement was warm enough that the snow melted as soon as it touched it and wouldn't make any difference in traction on the run. The snow was a light fluffy variety that slowly floated down and swirled around before hitting the pavement. There wasn't enough to limit visibility in any way, but enough that it's not possible to miss or ignore.
Less than a mile in I started to wish I had my sunglasses with me - but with the yellow lenses just to keep the snow out of my eyes. The way it was floating down slowly seemed to make it more likely to go in my eyes, and it was small fine flakes that felt a little like sand until they melted. But, I didn't have time to double back so I'd live without them. After a couple more miles of running in my own personal snow globe I realized I haven't run often, maybe not at all, in the snow without glasses or goggles on since I had LASIK surgery last fall. Last winter I was healing still and that meant my eyes easily dried out. Running in the cold winter air without glasses on, especially with any wind often meant my vision would be blurry for days, and that was no fun. Even with glasses on windy days wasn't enough, I ended up purchasing the goggle conversion kit (a rubber gasket and head strap) for $20 for my Oakley Racing Jackets and that made all the difference.
But while that got me through last winter, glasses often get sweat on them or fog or otherwise taint my vision. My goal and hope for LASIK was to correct my 20/400 natural vision to the same 20/15 corrected vision I had with my contacts without the fuss or the danger of rubbing one out of my eye in the middle of a race, but I didn't realize what else I was missing out on. With contacts I had 20/15 vision reading the eye chart. That's looking straight ahead at one small point after having blinked a few times to center the contacts. What I got with LASIK was 20/15 vision and a much, much wider field of that clear vision which I had kind of forgotten about over the years of needing contacts. There's also the ability to quickly glance and see things clearly whereas with contacts it often would take a glance, and a blink to center the contact before something was really clear. Both of these things are certainly nice day-to-day, but really come into play running, biking and even sighting while open water swimming! It's entirely something I hadn't expected or considered, and I basically spent the first months after LASIK completely in awe of the silliest things - steam coming off hot drinks, and mists of water bouncing off things in the shower, to name a couple.
So jump ahead to today running in the snow with that in mind, not wearing any glasses to obscure my vision, and it was amazing. Focusing further ahead and taking in the entire scene so clearly with such depth as I ran along on a quiet wooded back road was incredibly calming and one of those feelings that I enjoy most from being active outdoors. I felt like I could have run all day, or at least until the snow stopped... but I had other commitments and had to finish up my run before too long, but was very glad to have fit it in.
If you've been considering LASIK like I had been for years, I certainly had a good experience with it. I went with an all-laser option with ZYOPTIX would certainly do it again. I had a high prescription and large pupils so I get some star bursting around lights at night, but it's been well worth it. I can't wait to do Reach the Beach NH next year and run all night long without having to worry about taking out my contacts when I randomly fall asleep. Every race I do has seemed new, eye opening, and beautiful. Even the rainy ones.