It snowed last night and everything outside looks like a glazed donut. The schools are closed. The temperature is 12 degrees, the wind chill is single digit, it feels like 2 degrees. The run today is 6 miles at a 7:29 pace. I know this run and the speed should not be difficult. However, I have not been running this speed for the last several months. For the last 4 months I have been controlling my speed. Today will be different.
I know it is cold, but I am dressed for the cold. Jeff and Corey will be meeting up with Jay an I. This is our Cracker Barrel Run.
Meeting at LTF, no Jeff. Still nursing a cold. Corey, is upstairs, he will be doing his 15 mile run on the treadmill. Jay arrives and ask, outside or treadmill? Outside. No question. This one will count. Sure it is cold, bitter cold. Bitter freezing cold, but that is not the biggest issue. The snow from last night has glazed the roads in areas with ice, we will need to be careful where we step.
Some (Corey and Jeff) would say we were crazy for running outside, too slippery, actually it was not as bad as it looked. The slick areas were visible and we would adjust our stride and pace to accommodate the surface conditions. When we start the cold is felt deep in the core of the body. Breathing is abbreviated as my lungs involuntary prohibit me from pulling in enough air.
Typically after the first miles I am good, but not this morning. It is bone chilling cold. The pace is okay, but I know I am running. Just as I think, okay, I am starting to find the groove, Jay and I turn onto Windward and are faced with a strong freezing wind that rips through the body and makes you feel as if you are running naked. Worse the wind is strong and the effort to maintain pace is increased significantly.
Legs are pushing hard as we climb up the gradual hill on Windward. I am still breathing too fast trying without success to fill my lungs. Jay and I dance across the intersections and “fly” as we hit the snow covered sidewalks. This is a bigger effort than I thought it would be… damn.
I am hoping that when we turn onto Hwy 9 that the wind will stop… minutes later I would find that to NOT be the case. It is discouraging, I think to myself. That word causes me to pause. Courage is a big part of discourage. Toughen up. This is when you build character, this is when you build grit, a toughness. I become single minded. I do not care how cold it is, I do not care how windy it is, I do not care if the road is slippery, I adjust my mind and attitude. This helps. It does not make it easier, but my thoughts are about finishing and doing well.
Soon the wind is at our back, there is a slight down hill and Jay an I open up our stride. We are gaining time. Good.
Turning on Academy, we have made up time. I do not take my foot of the gas, holding pace. My breathing is better, though that maybe due to the fact we are running downhill.
Jay and I finish with a 44:55 for 6 miles. The reality is that is slow. I have run a 40:21, 10K (6.2 miles) and Jay faster than that, but considering the elements, and the fact this is the first time that I have purposely tried to add some speed to a run, I am okay with the effort.
Back at LTF, i head up stairs to check on Corey. He is on mile 11 of 15 on the treadmill. He looks good, his pace is 7:47. Despite being drenched in sweat he looks effortless in his run. Asking how he feels he replies with one word, "chaffed". Ouch... how bad I ask. "Nipples to crotch" Need anything... I he pauses and says no. I know the feeling. It is too late. I encourage him and hang there until he has less than 3 miles. No Cracker Barrel for Corey.
Weight. Too much. I let the “F” word slip out when I stepped on the scale.
Work was intense all day and did not end until nearly 7:00 PM. The kids though had a great day, they spent the entire day sledding and playing games with their buddies, a great no-school day. Too bad I could not have joined them.
The night comes swiftly and Wil crawls into bed with Kim and I, I do not blame him, it is warm and cozy. Unfortunately between Wil and I, the wigglers, Kim will not sleep. I challenge Wil to “Rock, Paper, Scissors” for the right to sleep in the bed. I win, but give up my spot anyway. I head to Jack’s room and take up residence on the bottom bunk.