Recently, I caught a post that read something to the effect of, “if you’re in a running funk, go outside and run in challenging/harsh weather….that will make you feel badass”. I wish I could remember who posted, so I could thank them properly. Today was that day for me.
I’ve been struggling with my Monday through Friday running schedule, which hasn't helped my fitness or my confidence. Long commutes, trainings/meetings, long commutes. Rinse and repeat. I can most certainly jump on my treadmill when I eventually return home, but by 7:00 pm, I’m toast. I did get two stints on the treadmill this week, in preparation for my long run today. Then I awoke to the frigid weather. No fear….layers are here!
I layered up tops, bottoms, and even put the fleece inserts in my mittens. Facemask, new winter hat, and some additional face protection (lube) rounded out the preparation. I had a course charted that would keep me fairly close to home at all times. I’m not usually a “cut my run short” girl, but I like to be cautious with that anyway. Before any over thinking could take place, I took off. First loop: six miles. Second loop: eight miles.
It took me two miles to warm up. Not too bad. Somewhere in mile three, I saw another runner. Yay, I thought, I’m not the only crazy runner out today! Runner wave, quick hello, and probably each thought the other was completely badass. Yes, I’ve trained my inner voice very well. As I finished up the first six miles, I continued on past my house – definitely had no intention of stopping for any reason. Just too cold! Now I had the eight mile loop to contend with.
Most of my run was honestly OK. I was cold at times, but I had layered well and my facemask did its job. It froze up, creating a nice “face cave’ for me. My fingers and toes had completely warmed up and were in it for the long haul. The wind was sporadic, but usually I had some protection. Usually.
During miles nine to ten-ish, I stumbled upon all of the wind tunnel areas (no protection, sheer wind, brrr). I got very cold again and just worked hard to keep my pace and keep warm-ish. I wasn’t going fast, but figured the faster I ran, the faster I got home, and the faster I could warm up. During these miles, I also got a little tired and hungry. I had packed a second GU (took one at mile five), but seriously, I was just too cold to deal with opening the bloody thing! By now, my Gatorade had developed into a “frozen margarita” consistency. Alcohol…hmm, that surely would’ve warmed me up. Note to self.
All in all, I describe this fourteen miler as a “comfortably uncomfortable” run. The cold and wind were harsh and uncomfortable. The frozen Gatorade a slight annoyance. But not the worst run I’ve ever had. A combination of preparing physically (i.e. layering up) and preparing mentally (i.e. getting my brain around the cold) was the key to today’s successful run. And the key to strengthening my “badass runner” image. I’m comfortable with that.