Tuesday, March 08, 2011

It was just one of those runs

I woke up early on Saturday morning battling my motivational demons. The night before I laid out my running gear so I could hit the roads early and get a 12 mile run in and still have a decent portion of the day left to do other things. The sky was grey and the roads were moist with the remains of an overnight rain.
Knowing Sunday was going to be a real soaker I proceeded to push myself to get out the door, but to do so required some preparations. I suited up in my tights, base layer, thermal top jacket and cap. My Garmin and MP3 player were charged so there was no issue there. I put a couple of gels in my pocket and transferred some Propel I had in the a bike bottle in the fridge to my Amphipod bottles.

As I'm clipping one of the bottles into the belt it slips out of my hands and hits the kitchen floor, shattering the cap and spewing my drink all over the floor... I mop it with paper towels, wondering if the impact woke up my wife. I never realized how much 8.5 fluid ounces really was till you have to clean it up. It never seems like that much when you need it.

Now I only have one good bottle and another that's worthless... thinking one bottle wouldn't be enough for the 12 miles I had planned, I'd shift gears and get another hydration belt that holds a small bike bottle, but now I don't have enough to fill it so I just top it off with some water - no biggie, sometimes the 100% mixture is a little sweet anyway.

Finally, I'm ready to go.. I head out the drive way watching my Garmin as it locates the satellites through the cloud cover... STOP, I'm wearing my glasses, I have to go back up to the house and put them inside... now my I've definitely woken my wife (oh well). Ok now I think I'm ready to finally get out on the road - seems like I've been up for hours and have nothing to show for it.

Finally I'm on the moist pavement, nothing special, a gloomy morning, but it seems a bit warmer than it looks and it doesn't take long before I'm unzipping my jacket. Another mile in I realize the gloves need to come off and I need to unzip my thermal top too. This doesn't bother me much as often I have to manage my temperature through a variety of climate changes on my routes.

Then the sun comes out and I'm approaching a particularly hilly section, I think this could get ugly... I shuffle up the hill and remove my winter cap... which is just a pain in the butt because I chose the headphones that have no headband, they just wrap around your ears with a little piece of plastic (like eyeglasses) - I wear these only when I have a hat that covers my ears because they wobble out and sound like a transistor radio if they aren't held snuggly in my ears by the cap.

So now I'm alternating pushing the buds in one ear then the other (repeat)... this is just frustrating.
So I finish the series of hills and have completely raised my body temperature to an uncomfortable level... I suffer through yet another overheated mile and decide it's too much, I have to stop and do something about this. I have about 7 more miles to go so I don't want to tie anything around my waist. I take off my jacket and force-roll up the sleeves of my thermal. At this point my jacket has a thin layer of moisture throughout the inside making me a wince a little as I put my arms through the damp sleeves. I shrug it off, take a drink and start up again.

Wait, where's my hat? I slow down and pat myself down, hmmm no hat.. I turnaround and start back thinking I dropped it, nope no hat.. ok this sucks, where's my hat, I unzip and start to take off my jacket and it falls from some unknown hiding place. Well that's a relief, I really like this hat and don't want to lose it, but I'm still too warm to put it on so I carry it, still punching the headphone back into my ears... yup it's still frustrating but it's better than suffering without some sort of distraction.

I'm actually moving forward for about a 1/2 mile when it strikes me; is my foot numb? What the hell?... What else could go wrong? I have to bend down to adjust my laces, feeling the blood pressure surge into head and flush my cheeks and ears with a blast of warmth, I wiggle my toes trying to bring them back to life. Another delay, but I'm going to finish this 12 miler, this is obviously not going to be a PR (or even close).

Another big hill and at the top I'm greeted by a cooling wind... finally, some relief... wow, this is a lot cooler than the last 5 miles, I think I can put my hat back on, yes, the music in my ears sounds like it's from this century again, ahh ..that's nice. Now the moisture in my jacket is beginning to cool which ironically is feeling pretty good now.

I get to an intersection where I can turn one way and go home or go the other to extend my route, I choose to continue and head up a slight incline to a nice downhill into a series of meadows, as I get to the top it's as if I reached the weather station at Mount Washington. Visibility is poor at best and the rain was like a mist that instantly covered my body and made it hard to open my eyes. About a quarter mile later it the mini weather pattern was gone, but the wind picked up again cooling all that fresh moisture... the gloves go back on now. But I'm dealing with this latest change the best I can... I realize my attitude is failing and in order to continue with the 12 mile route instead of heading home I think I'll eat a gel to get some calories in me.

I take off a glove and tear open the gel and squeeze it into my mouth. Being careful not to litter, I roll-up the empty foil packet and try to put it into the small pocket of my hydration belt, argghh... the remains of the gel packet are now all over my hand. I wipe my fingers off on my tights, put my glove back on and continue, determined to finish this damn run.

At last, a downhill, everything is fine, I approach another option to cut the run short and I battle the temptation and continue with the 12 mile route, either option has a big hill so I figure what the hell, this can't get any worse (can it?).

At the top of the hill I'm about 9.5 miles in, I think "I'm getting there"... it's a struggle, but I need to get home, so I better eat another gel and take down some fluids. Again I get more gel on my hands, I stop and pick up some dirty snow pack and rinse my hands in the melt, I rub some of the cold melt on my face and neck for some temporary relief for the overdressed.

Finally, this end is near, I'm shuffling home, legs are heavy, face is red, hair is wet, a down hill and a manageable incline and I'm home.

In my drive way I turn off the music, rip off the hat and peel away layers of sweaty clothing desperately trying too cool my core. I look at my watch and I'm grateful that it successfully tracked both my time and distance.

It was just one of those days where virtually everything went wrong but I stayed with it and finished what I set out to do - 12 miles.