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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Frozen Tundra

When I was looking at the weather forecast on Tuesday night, I was entertained by the fact that the following morning the temperature would drop like a stone. This was entertaining to me, because I knew that I did not have to run.

What I failed to take into account was the fact that the temperature would not recover by Thursday morning when my 8 miler was scheduled.

Today would have been a great day to stay in bed. My alarm went off, and I snoozed my way through 45 minutes or so, but managed to get up and out the door in plenty of time. Fortunately, I'd planned out my course the night before, so I didn't have to waste time on the computer. Most importantly, I didn't have time to think, which is good, because if I had thought, I'd have thought better.

It didn't really seem as cold as it was supposed to be when I went out the door. I mean, don't get me wrong. It was really cold, but the wind was nothing compared to Tuesday morning, and when the temperature gets down like that, it's the wind that really kills you.

I started down the hill, staying at a pretty even pace, and at about the 1 mile mark I decided to actually change the direction of my course. I'd planned a clockwise square, but decided to go counter-clockwise.

As ridiculous as it is, that really changed the tenor of the run. With the way our roads are set up, there is really only one direction in which I can run, which means a lot of the same roads, over and over again. It can get pretty boring. I always tend to go into downtown on one road and return on another, so today I switched it up and, surprisingly, it made a big difference in how long the run felt.

I was feeling great when I made it back to the Town Lake Trail, and met up with... no one. The whole trail appeared to be abandoned, which is something I'd never seen. Over the course of the 8 miles, I saw a total of 11 other runners, 10 of which were in the last mile of my time on the trail. Also in this mile, the wind picked up.

It was an odd combination of effects. The trees on the north side of the lake cover a good deal of the path, so it's a little bit darker, but they don't block the wind. In fact, they create a bit of a wind tunnel, directing all the wind right down the path. I was feeling pretty good, so it didn't really even bother me that much, until I saw another runner coming toward me.

When you're in really crappy situations as a runner, I find that many of us like to give a wave or a smile to commiserate. It's a little moment that says, "Hey. You're a runner, too. Why in God's name do we do this? Well, have a nice day." I saw someone coming, and lifted my head to give a smile, only to find that my face didn't work.

That's right, it was so cold outside that my face had gone numb. I mean, I've had dental work done, and my mouth was not as numb as it was this morning. I couldn't feel anything. My face had shut down. If it hadn't, I would have laughed out loud.

The south side of the lake was brighter as morning came on, and as I neared the end of my run, I felt stronger again. The music I had on pushed me up the last hill, and I was done before I knew it. I even stopped off in our complex's gym to do my abs and arms and wait for feeling to return to my extremities.

Tomorrow is supposed to be warmer, but then again, it's supposed to snow tonight.

This could get messy.

Today's run:
19 Degrees / Cloudy
8.19 Miles
1 Hour 1 Minute 30 Seconds

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