Seventeen going on eighteen

I don’t remember the last time it got this cold in Central Texas.

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Maybe it was 2011, when rolling blackouts hit Austin because the electricity demand was so high. They said they’d be 30-minute blackouts, but my school went without power for at least two hours. Parents waited in an hour-long line (the overflow from the office spilled into an outdoor courtyard) to take their kids home… where they also had no power. It was a crazy day. But even then, I’m not sure it got down into the teens. The only other time I remember such cold temperatures was 1989 when it dropped to FOUR DEGREES. At the time I worked in a mall with an ice skating rink, and (rumor had it–which sounds ridiculous in retrospect) the stores did not have heat because of the ice, and it was really damn cold in there.

So 17* is … unusual. But I promised the others if I really could run, I would not complain about the weather. If I could run relatively normally, I would be thrilled to run in 17*.

The first mile went pretty well. I mean, it was cold. I wore a fleece-lined base layer, then a quarter-zip pullover and a windbreaker on top of that. I had fleece-lined tights, plus gloves, ear warmers, and a scarf around my face to help me breathe warmer air. My torso was comfortable, but my face hurt and my quads went numb pretty early on. But still, I was running pain-free and did not complain. In fact I was super-happy, daring to think maybe my leg was getting better.

We knocked some ice off the cooler at the first water stop, and when I unzipped my jacket to get my chapstick, the condensation from breathing into my scarf (or possibly my sweat) … froze. It looked like I’d been running in the snow.

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As I restarted, though, so did the twinge in my knee. I ran-walked pretty much the next five miles. It felt a little better the last mile, so I was able to pick up my pace and salvage something from the attempt. But I feel like my stride is still … off.

For six miles I concentrated on my form, I tried to figure out why and where it didn’t feel right, I tried to stop thinking about it and let muscle memory take over. But nothing worked, and I really don’t know what to do about it.

I’ve done everything I’m supposed to–foam rolling, strength exercises, stretches, resting, not resting, cross-training, ART (and whatever other medieval torture my sports doc puts me through), massage therapy, ice, heat, anti-inflammatory meds. The only other option is patience, and, well, that’s not one of my virtues.

Especially with only six weeks until the Austin Half-Marathon.

 

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