Sunday, December 8, 2013

Worst in a While

Last week was one of my worst runs in recent memory. Everyone loves a good train wreck, so I thought I’d share it. First of all, I had gotten a 90 min bike ride in the night before, in addition to doing a few squats. That’s my usual routine, and it wasn’t a particularly hard session, but my legs felt fatigued. In my neck of the woods it’s also been extremely cold lately. I wanted to get a long run of 8 miles in, and being a particularly light day at my day job, I thought I could pull it off over lunch. That would maximize the temperature (the high was still only around 15 degrees / -9 C) and allow me to run in daylight. The last alternative would be the treadmill that evening, which I usually try to avoid... I just don’t enjoy it much.

In addition to the cold temperatures, we’ve got a lot of snow on the ground out here in the Rockies right now. I put some thought into planning my route, attempting to be crafty. Trails and most residential streets would be covered with ice and snow, I thought, so I decided to stick to busier roads with wide shoulders. The snow plows would have hit those hard by now, and the roads should be clear. I settled on my route, which started very close to the office in order to maximize time. My first obstacle was finding a place to park. Big mounds of snow were everywhere on the side of the road, and two commercial parking areas had threatening “VIOLATORS WILL BE TOWED” signs, which I swear are new. I wasn’t really in the mood to risk it. I drove a little further, found an isolated spot, and threw on my mariposa pants, two base layer type long-sleeve shirts with a third shirt on top for good measure, hat (no double decker), gloves, and asics, and was on my way. 

I was still cold, but told myself it would get better as I warmed up. A couple minutes into my run, it was clear my planned route was not going to work. The roads were clear, which was great for the never-ending stream of cars whizzing by. Unfortunately the shoulder of the road was covered with snow and ice. While attempting to tip toe my way around icy landmines, passing cars repeatedly sprayed me with dirty slush. Just as I was about to scurry back to the car, a road that looked promising appeared to the right… I decided to press on for at least a few more minutes. The roads from then on out were better, but far from great. I found a long straight road and would run in middle of the lane until a car appeared on the horizon, then hop over into the wintry mix, and repeat. It was a game of chicken I would never win. I was careful, but I don’t recommend it. Get your thrills in other ways. All along the way my legs felt like two anchors being dragged, and never could get going. I could've used a nod of approval from a fellow runner, but alas, all I got was dirty looks and slush from angry motorists.
I ultimately cut the run short. It wasn’t very fun, but sometimes I guess you gotta take the good with the bad!

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