Sitting cross legged on my carpeted floor with a bowl of steaming pasta with chili beans warming my hands. Normally I would feel uncomfortable holding a piping hot ceramic bowl but I’m absorbing it up as I think back to my morning run.
Probably a new favorite run of mine since I do it about every other day now. If the weather is right it can offer the most amazing views from the town I’m in.
But the weather wasn’t right and I knew that I should have turned around calling the run off or hit the indoor treadmill at my YMCA.
The run is a 90 minute total, out and back. The first half, before I turn around, is probably close to 85% up hill. Maybe more. Gradual though. If you get in sync with your body it can feel effortless at times.
The wind was absolutely mental. Temperature wise I think it was about 7 or 8 degrees but the wind brought the feeling down to -18. And the direction destroyed me.
The first half I had it on my back. It was so fierce that it felt like I was being picked up and pushed. I was going uphill but it felt like I was flying down. I typically hit the turn around at 47 or 48 minutes then negative split on the way back. This time I got there at 42 minutes.
Every minute that went by I dreaded turning back. My gut was saying to turn around but my stubborn ego demanded to finish this run.
Snow blew from one side of the road to the other. Swirling the powder from time to time. A horse came over a hill frantically at one point rushing to get to its stable. I found it funny at the time but looking back his instincts and judgment were more keen than mine.
When I came to the speed limit sign that marks the half way point of this route I said to myself “I really don’t want to turn around!” Like a child who’s being told to go to bed.
Promptly my speed greatly decreases even though effort is the same or even harder. And I’m leaning 30 degrees to my left in order not to be blow over. The left side of my face goes numb from the wind even though I’m wearing a full face mask and a thick headband.
Tiny moments the wind dies just enough for me to haul ass for a few steps before picking back up.
To give my myself a break from the headwind, I ran backwards a few times for a couple of minutes. This actually did help a ton.
It even was so brutal I thought about putting my head in mailboxes I passed to get out of the wind.
I prayed a car would offer me a ride back. But I was in an area that each house is spread out every mile or so. Only one car passed on my return trip.
Two layers of gloves weren’t enough. Feeling began to fade. I made it a priority to constantly squeeze and wiggly my fingers. But as time went on they became more numb.
I would be lying if I didn’t say that I wanted to raise my hands in defeat. I was close to breaking down mentally and giving up on the run. All I wanted was to be home. If there was anyway to DNF, I would have taken it.
A part of me wondered if I would even make it. It seemed never ending. Seeing the town in the distance was glorious but still a few miles away. Progress was slow but still progress. Hands were just about completely numb. And the left side of my face, from the direction of the wind, hurt from how cold it was.
Getting back to civilization was the best part because the wind eased up. Knowing I was a few turns away from getting through the hellish nightmare was like finally seeing the finish line of a marathon.
I didn’t waste any time ripping my cold and wet clothes off and wrapping myself in a blanket until feeling came back to my hands and face. And thankfully an egg and cheese biscuit from Hardee’s was waiting for me. Only took three bites to make is disappear.
I was mentally exhausted and drained from that punishment. It put me in a funk all day that I couldn’t shake until I gave in to an afternoon nap.
I am already dreaming of the spring and summer…