It has been a chilly weekend here in Austin. Laugh all you want, my northern friends, but we Texans just aren’t built for this. Give us below freezing temps and a little precipitation, and the whole city practically shuts down. School started 2 hours later than usual on Friday, and Zoe’s school was cancelled altogether.
Thanks to that, my planned run on Friday was moved back to Saturday. But then it barely got above freezing and I barely got out from under my blankie, so I pushed it to Sunday.
Sunday gave me the choice between running in the late morning with temps in the 30s or in the afternoon, which was expected to be sunny and 10 degrees warmer. I chose the morning – more on that in a bit.
I haven’t written about running in forever. Mainly because I haven’t been running consistently. I haven’t signed up for any races, so I’ve slacked off. And strange coincidence, I’ve also put on a few pounds.
I’ve been trying to get back in the saddle, but without an upcoming race, it’s hard. I had to pass on being a ZOOMA ambassador again this year because of a date conflict, and so instead of getting to run a free race, I opted to pay an outlandish amount of money for a writers’ conference. So I may be creating one hell of an indentation on this couch, but hey – I’m going to have some mighty fine words to show for it.
But race or no race, I’m desperately trying to turn over a new lettuce leaf and get my ass back out on the road.
I headed out on Sunday in compression capris, a long sleeved tech tee with a short sleeved tech tee over it, a fleece headband, and cheap gloves.
Yeah that’s right. I opted for no jacket. Because I am a bad ass. Also because I’m still looking for the perfect technical running jacket that doesn’t cost like a million dollars. And I’ve run in the cold enough to know that I would get way too hot in my fleece jacket.
And then I was off. I was shooting for at least 3 miles, but if I’d go further if I could.
1 mile in and my body was warm, but still sluggish.
1.5 miles in and I was completely warmed up.
2 miles in I stripped off my gloves and my sweaty hands practically cried hallelujah at the fresh air. Since I didn’t have pockets, I…stuffed them in my bra. For about a block, I was looking extra busty, but alas, there was too much jostling, so I opted to just hold onto them. Hell, I ran a half marathon while carrying two packages of Gu. NDB.
2.5 miles in I developed back AND stomach cramps. A back cramp is usually indicative of poor form or breathing, both easy to do in the cold air. But a stomach cramp is no joke. It could be dehydration, lack of fuel, too much Gu. Sometimes it can mean MUST FIND BATHROOM OR NEAREST BUSH ASAP. Since I didn’t feel like I was going to vomit or you know, I chalked it up to poor breathing and swallowing lots of air. Still mighty unpleasant though.
3 miles in I was yanking up the sleeves of my undershirt. My fleece headband was soaked in sweat.
3.5 miles in I passed a couple walking their dogs. They were bundled up like Eskimos, while I was dying to shed more of my clothing. They gave me that look that people often give runners that says either “I feel sheepish walking by you,” or “WTF are you insane, woman? It’s freezing out here!” Whatever, lazy asses. (I’m kidding; she was like 9.5 months pregnant at least.)
3.78 miles in I passed my house. That is some mental torture right there, but I figured I’d come this far, what was another 0.22 miles?
At 3.9 miles I seriously questioned the validity of my Garmin.
And finally at 4 miles I hit stop and started the cool down walk back to my house. It was a slow 4 miles, much slower than my normal pace. But like I said, I haven’t been consistent, and this is the price I pay.
Why didn’t I wait until the afternoon, when it would be slightly warmer and sunny? Two reasons: One, running in the sunshine is overrated. Give me overcast any day. Two (and the main reason), I know myself way too well to think I would actually go in the afternoon. If I waited until later in the day, I would have blown it off entirely. And I needed to run.
Cold weather running isn’t terrible; it’s actually enjoyable once you get going. The hardest step is the one you take out the door. Or the one stepping out of your warm, cozy flannel PJs in exchange for your cold, thin compression capris. Or the one where you stick your foot out from under your cushy down comforter and feel an icy blast run up your leg. But the good thing is you get over it. You have to keep your ass moving to stay warm.
(Then I got caught up in “mom stuff,” and an hour later I was freezing again so I took the hottest shower known to man. It’s not too hot until your skin is peeling off, amirite?)