Saturday, December 6, 2008

It's Frickin' Cold Out There!

Yesterday's Net Calories:  1,985

After yesterday's predicament, I decided to do a longer long run - in the 12 to 14 mile range.  I decided that I hadn't done a really long run like this in a while and I should do it on a morning that wasn't rainy/snowy/icy.

Last night I checked the weather forecast.  Overnight low of 18 degrees.  BRRRRRRR.  I thought that it would probably be in the mid-20s when I first went out to run, so I laid out my Mizuno BreathThermo long sleeve top, running jacket, running tights, and since it would dark out when I started my run - my reflector vest and my day-glow yellow running gloves.  I also laid out my Amphipod water belt with a few packs of GU, some cash and my cell phone.

For some reason I didn't sleep too well last night.  I ended up waking up a few times and looking at the clock to see if it was time to go on my run yet.  Finally 5:30am rolled around and I got out of bed and ready for my run.

During the first few minutes of my run, I felt COLD.  Toes and fingers were freezing up a bit.  I thought that perhaps I should have worn one of my other pairs of running gloves that are a bit thicker and warmer.  However, after about 15 minutes my toes and fingers had warmed up - as usual.

On the route that I took, there were three different turns that I could turn which would make the run either 12.3, 13.5 or 13.8 miles.  As I was chugging up Great Seneca Highway - about 4 miles into my run - I decided to take the first turn and make this a 12.3 miler.  It was definitely cold outside and I remembered that the last time I had run 13 miles was during the Parks Half Marathon in September...and due to the humidity I did not run all 13 miles.  I wondered when the last time I actually had run this distance was (I just checked my running log - the last time I ran 13 miles was at the Riley's Rumble Half Marathon in July...I walked the big hills on that run, and before that was at the Frederick Marathon in May!)

It ended up being a good idea to only have done the 12.3 miler, as I was to find out...

I had started to drink water from one of the three water bottles on my water belt, and as the water level in that bottle went down, the water that was at the top started to freeze.  The ice at the top of the bottle made it tough to drink from.  I wonder what runners up North do to keep this from happening?  Put salt in the water?  Perhaps Gatorade has a lower freezing point than water?

However, the thing I was not prepared for was that about 7 miles into my run my fingers started getting cold again.  YIKES!  Normally, when I go for a run on a cold day my fingers will be cold initially but then they'll warm up and I'll be fine for the rest of the run.  I don't ever remember my fingers chilling up again.  I really thought I was going to get frostbite and again I wished I had worn my thicker, warmer gloves.  I kept alternating between wrapping my fingers around my thumbs to warm my thumbs and making a fist and closing my thumb over my fingers to warm up my fingers.  I had even considered calling Sherry to come and pick me up and drive me home...  Then I remembered a passage that I had read recently about the mental side of running - that we are capable of doing more than we think we can.  So, I was convinced that I could make it home - frostbitten hands or not.

At one point I looked at my hands - and saw the thumbholes at the end of the sleeves on my running jacket.  I never got the whole thumbhole thing.  I mean - it's my fingers that always get cold...what good will thumbholes do?  My fingers will still be exposed to the cold, right.  While I was looking at the thumbholes, though, the idea hit me - pull the sleeves of my jacket OVER your clenched fists.  I did this and within minutes my fingers started to warm up again.  HOORAY!!

By this time it was an hour and 45 minutes into my run already, and I realized that I had not consumed any of the GU I brought along.  I usually take one about an hour into my run, but I had forgotten at that point - and then I had to deal with freezing water and near frostbitten fingers.  I took a GU packet and put it in my hand (which was still in my sleeve) to try and warm the thing up.  After a few minutes I finally ate the GU - even with warming it up a bit, it still had a near-solid consistency.  It was very weird.

I went to wash the GU down with water.  The water in the water bottle I had already started drinking from had turned to ice.  I swapped it with one of the other water bottles and popped the top up.  No water came out.  UGH!!!  I stopped and unscrewed the top from the bottle - water had frozen at the top and blocked the pop top!

When I finally got home, I really wanted to know just how cold it was during my run.  The temperatures ranged from 17 to 19 degrees while I was out for my run.  Once again, BRRRRRRR.  No wonder I had so many issues!

Final stats:  12.27 miles, 2:15:45 - 11:04/mile pace.  155 bpm avg HR.

This now puts me only 5 miles behind the 1,000 mile pace bunny.  Watch out you rascally rabbit!


Marcy said...

I don't know what to tell you with the freezing water. I don't ever run more than 8-10 miles in the winter months LMAO! And when I have had to use drinks I'll call the house ahead of time and tell my husband to put something out on the front steps instead of lugging the belt around hehe.

jeanne said...

i ran saturday morning too, on the C & O canal with the trail snails. It. Was. Cold!!! we only went 10 miles though, and no water froze. I think you're running too far north! :)