Holy $&!%!… It was COLD!

I was in Florida for a business meeting on Friday and Saturday which was nice. I brought my running shoes and gear but my entire schedule was filled with meetings. That sucked. I enjoyed walking outside while on break for 15 minutes. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to run or enjoy the sunny 72 degree weather.

Why did they choose to have a meeting in Florida if they knew there wouldn't be any time for us to enjoy ourselves? I might as well have been at a hotel near the airport in Chicago. At least, it would have been closer to home.

On Saturday night and now back in Wisconsin, I didn't get home until 2AM  after a delay at the airport in Florida due to mechanical problems. At times my drive home from the airport was a bit harrowing with whiteout conditions and drifting snow on the road.

Even though I took off an extra day from running this week because of my meeting, I was still ahead of my training schedule for my long runs. Last weekend I ran farther than my training schedule because I knew that I might not be able to fit in long runs this week.  

Because of the weather, I decided to take it easy today and do a moderate-easy run only.  I planned on going only 8 miles. No big deal. That would be just enough to get my blood pumping and my legs warmed up. However, the temp was 8 below. It is not the lowest temperature which I have ever run in so I thought it should be no problem as long as I made sure that there was no exposed flesh.

Heck, I am an ultramarathoner, I should be able to handle any kind of running conditions, right? Don't complain, just run, I thought.

To make sure I would be warm, I put on layers and layers of clothing. I wore three layers over my lower body: long underwear, running tights and an insulated outer shell. I had two pairs of wool socks and two pairs of gloves plus a pair of woolen outer mittens on my hands. On my upper body, I had four layers of shirts plus my outer shell. Then on my head and neck I had goggles, a beanie, my balaclava and my polypro hat along with a neck warmer. I started sweating while in the house so I finished putting on my final layers in the garage.

The first couple of miles, I had a tailwind and it didn't seem too bad.. I was still pretty warm from the half hour it took me to get my clothing layers on inside. There were patches of black ice and snow but a few parts of the road were bare. This won't be as tough as  expected, I thought to myself.

The wind was 20- 25 mph which made for a windchill of -30 to -35. I used to live in windy Wyoming so I didn't think much of it. Out west, we consider a 25 mph wind to be only a minor breeze…

But then the cold started to hit me and the wind began biting through my clothes. 

As I came over an open hill, suddenly I ran into whiteout conditions. What the heck?! Where in the hell is the road?  It was in the middle of the afternoon but for a few moments, I couldn't see where I was! Then the wind gusts waned for just a few seconds and I saw that I was still on the road but stumbling into the middle of a 3 foot deep snow drift.

I noticed tire tracks where a vehicle had earlier hit that snow drift then run off the road, down a twenty foot embankment and into a nearby field. Luckily they had four wheel drive, otherwise they would have still been there.

I thought: If I can't even see the road when I am right in the middle of it, how in the heck is someone in a vehicle supposed to see me?

So I admit it…. I totally chickened out.

I turned around and came home. I might be an ultramarathoner, but I am not stupid. I don't want to die. If a car hit me they probably wouldn't even know what the bump was which they had run into. They would have only wondered why that snow drift was so lumpy.

I only went a meager 5 miles today but those last couple coming home and running directly back into that 25mph bitterly cold head wind felt as if they were twice as far. Between the wind and trying to get air through my frozen balaclava, I could barely breathe.

When I got home my wife told me that she was starting to worry and was thinking of getting into the car to come find me. If it had been a normal 8 mile run on a normal day,  I should have been home long before I was. And I only went a little over half as far as I had intended.

As I came into the house, I pulled off my hat and balaclava. Ouch! Some of my beard hairs had frozen to my hat. That hurt!

The only part of my body that I was worried about for possible frostbite was, off all places, my nipples. They still are burning even now. Maybe I should get an insulated man-bra for running in bitterly cold weather? 

Or maybe I should just be smarter and just stay inside on days like today? 

Holy $&!%!… that was a COLD run today!

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4 responses

  1. ok, now I think your totally mad! well… maybe not totally as you did see sense and turn back 🙂

    February 10, 2008 at 9:39 pm

  2. I love it when people come to the right conclusion on their own…"Or maybe I should just be smarter and just stay inside on days like today?" I know you are crazy but not stupid. Thanks for reconfirming that today. Too bad we didn't have the weather lil bro did in Tampa this morning. Heck even my 8 miler was in 'brisk' 45 degrees. Run on!

    February 10, 2008 at 9:59 pm

  3. Good work!!! Whew, I could never live in Wisconsin in the WInter. I have decided to stay in the south after my N.New Mexican experience. Cold coldcold!

    February 19, 2008 at 12:50 pm

  4. I am getting tired of the cold too, despite how my entire life I have always told folks how much I love winter and snow.
    Right now, I am on a trip looking for housing and moving some of our belongings to Rapid City, SD where I'll start a new job in two weeks. I stayed last night at my wife's sister and husband's cabin in southwestern Minnesota.
    This morning I simply could not get my car started. I looked at the thermometer and it read -21 degrees! That's straight temp and not wind chill! I finally got it started after multiple attempts. An announcer on the radio said that Dawson was +36 degrees this morning. So today we're even colder than the the Yukon!
    Needless to say, I did not get in my daily run today, though I am itching to after two days of being sedentary sitting in a vehicle. They tell me that Rapid City is the "Banana Belt" of the upper Midwest. We shall see. At least it is more arid and sunny here; there won't be the slippery black ice or weeks and weeks of gray cloudy days as there is in Wisconsin.
    I hope to get in a couple of runs here before I head back home to get more of our stuff. Maybe I will even be able to take a few photos that I could post. I thought about taking a few pictures of the vast expanses of the Great Plains I was driving across but I didn't. It was too darn cold to get out to the car for even a minute!
    Enjoy New Mexico! Even in winter, it sounds like a mighty warm place to me right now!

    February 20, 2008 at 2:44 pm

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