One of the best memories I have of snowboarding with my sister is the time the lift got stuck & we managed to get a second-hand high from the pot-heads a chair ahead of us. We were super tired, didn't know what was going on & in the process of waiting for the lift to be functional again we started speaking to each other by using our mittens as puppets to speak for us. It was quite hilarious then. No, I don't & have never smoked pot. The high I enjoy is a runner's high.
Moving on. Now imagine my delight when I walked into F.O.D this summer to see such wonderfully obnoxious mittens in adult-size, on sale.
Little did I know then that these crazy Pink Zebra Puppet mittens would quickly become one of my most valued pieces of sub-zero running gear and the much needed humor during frigid long runs.
I spent the first five hours of yesterday contemplating whether or not I could actually run due to the conditions outside. A howling 20-25mph wind, -8F temp & -34F to -40F windchill. Ouch. Postponing the run until today wasn't an option as I will be in much need of fresh legs tomorrow when Maggie & I set out on our first long-run with a few other area ultra runners.
To be honest I really wasn't keen on the idea of running in that weather. I wanted to run, but I didn't want to be miserable & peering out the window it looked pretty miserable/cold out there. It took a lot to talk myself into it. I just kept telling myself I only had to go three miles & if I could stand it I would try to make it six. And if I froze to death at least they would be able to identify me by my mittens, because seriously who else would have mittens like that?
Stepping outside the door I was relieved to feel that in areas somewhat protected by the wind it was actually very comfortable running weather. After my second mile I was confident that 6 would be doable, the question then became what route to take.
Sidewalks & paths covered in drifting snow were impassable which left running on the side of the road as my only option 98% of the time. Again, I found it entirely too entertaining to watch the expressions on the face of motorists as they passed me. Some people look concerned, some scoff, some wave. Of course I'm never entirely sure if it's because it's so cold out or because of the mitts. Perhaps it's a combination of the two.
Anyway, I was able to stay partially blocked from the wind and enjoying the run a good portion of the route. Until mile 7.5.
Let me explain: At mile 5ish I wasn't quite sure my chosen route would finish out with the 6miles I wanted, so I made the turn into a neighborhood I often run past, but not through. As it turns out cul-de-sacs & streets that end on the same road they branched off of are the theme of this neighborhood.
The idea was only to add in a block or two, did that happen? Obviously not. I could see exactly what road I wanted to be on, there was just a row of houses between us and too much snow to make a shortcut through someone's yard. Ugh!
At mile 7.5 I became very focused on getting home. I was running into the wind, feeling the need for some fuel, my eyelids were starting to get really cold, eyelashes freezing together, face-mask frozen stiff paired with a new sensation I've never had during a run before: an ice-cream headache. Not exactly my idea of fun.
Finally I made my way back onto the road I needed to be on. Yes, there were other roads I could have taken which would have limited the amount of miles added to my route, but they were narrow & very traffic ladened, not safe.
8.8 miles after leaving home I was back again. Running in the -18F temps last Saturday was cold, but when you factor in the windchill yesterday was most certainly the coldest weather I have ever run in. Would I do it again? Yes. Just not in that neighborhood, lol. Little things like putting chapstick on any exposed area of my face help a lot. I'm also letting my hair grow out again so it insulates my ears & neck.
You learn a lot about what you & the human body are capable of in conditions like that. It's humbling to think that in 8months I will be running in temps almost 100 degrees warmer than what I am currently training in. How my God created our bodies to handle that I just can't wrap my mind around. It's pretty astounding.