On Wednesday, it was 80 degrees, but an Arctic cold front came in Thursday morning and temps started dropping. By Friday morning, the freezing temperature combined with overnight drizzle and sleet caused schools to start two hours late. No one turned on the heat in my part of the building, and my little thermometer informed me it was 58 in my classroom. The heater came on sometime after lunch and my hands finally thawed a bit.
Initially the weather reports indicated more icy rain would hit overnight, and combined with temperatures in the 20s, even Rogue talked about canceling Saturday long runs because getting there could be dangerous. I had 12 miles on the schedule, and like a kid wishing for a snow day, I kind of hoped for a weather reprieve. The thought of running 12 miles in 20-degree temps did NOT appeal to me, especially after last week’s miserable attempt at 12 miles. But when the alarm went off, I checked my phone and saw a message from Rogue that it was a go.
I wore a Nike Pro Combat fleece-lined shirt, my Brooks cold-weather jacket, my Brooks fleece-lined tights, compression socks, regular socks, ear-warmers, a hat, gloves, and a scarf over my face to help my breathing. My car’s thermometer informed me it was cold–although I looked at my Garmin data later and learned with the wind chill it felt like 16. Yes, yes it did.
The route was Heely Sonova, the torturous hilly course that goes up and down the same hill, just along adjacent streets. Up one, down the next, up again, back down. Then turn around and run it in reverse. Most of these are residential streets, so the houses blocked the worst of the wind. But the last leg ran alongside a major highway, and the wind rushed down that path, seeping through my gloves and making my eyes water.
The Rogue water jug near my halfway point had developed an icicle on the spout, a little stalactite taunting me. And a few residents had forgotten to turn off their automatic sprinkler systems, coating the sidewalks with ice. As if running in 25-degree temperatures doesn’t have high enough degree of difficulty.
I won’t lie–this run hurt.
Even with reasonable cold-weather gear, even with the exertion required by the hills, I never warmed up. My quads became completely numb, and if my hip flexors hurt, I couldn’t feel them. My nose ran like a faucet. Taking my gloves off to change podcasts hurt my fingers. Despite being in my inside jacket pocket, my Gu Chomp gummy gels were stuck together and I couldn’t separate one without taking my gloves off, so I went without.
Finally, three hours later (and one degree warmer), I finished 12 miles. Hallelujah.