Sunday, November 11, 2007

Nasty nor'easter and Sunday run

It's been about 90 minutes since coming in from the cold and I'm finally starting to feel really warm again with feeling in all my fingers and toes. Well maybe a slight exaggeration but when the run was over it was all I could do to unlock the door into Steph's building and it was even more difficult to untie my shoes. But I digress, perhaps we should start at the beginning when the alarm went off at 7:15am and Cody and I looked out the window to see the damage from the night's storm.
It doesn't look so bad, now does it? What's a little bit of snow? Besides the temperature is on the plus side and this would be the 1st wintry run of the season which is usually a very pleasant experience. Memories of quiet runs along empty paths with each footstep cushioned by the layer of freshly fallen snow came to mind but these would soon be purged by howling winds, cold driving rain/sleet and slushy wet roads.
Did I turn around and go back to bed? Did I cut the run short after a few miles of abuse? I'm afraid not. The idea of a 16 mile run was firmly implanted in the psyche and it would take more than a little bit of weather to deter me today. Why are runners such a stubborn lot anyway? Perhaps it's a defective gene, maybe it's an unresolved childhood issue or more likely it's just a lack of common sense.

So after a nice cup of coffee and a bowl of cereal I geared up with my warm long sleeve top, shell jacket, loose pants, gloves, hat and a warm hunter orange toque. The 1st miles went by almost pleasantly with only the gusty wind of 20-40 mph to deal with. I avoided the worst of it by dropping my bottle at the trail head and running with the wind as my stiff joints and muscles slowly warmed up. The temperature was around 2-3C (35-38F) and the Confederation trail was covered in a 1-2 inch layer of wet snow/slush with puddles thrown in at random for good measure. Within minutes my shoes were thoroughly drenched and about 2 lbs heavier. Are we having fun yet?

After a couple of kilometers the trail ended in downtown Charlottetown and I made a u-turn returning the same way but now with the gale of wind in my teeth, though occasionally sheltered by the trees along the trail. A steady cold rain also started at this point and didn't let up for the remainder of the run. The journey was made slightly more pleasant by my handy Ipod and the Nov. 4th episode of Phedippidations, but was ominously titled "Things to do Before You Die". (Still not getting the hints are we?) The next several miles were on the tough side and the empty trail seemed to only get sloppier as I continued out of town. Incidentally I was retracing parts of the PEI marathon course which also runs along this trail. Some sections were bare and well sheltered while others were quite exposed with slush puddles and howling winds. Fun eh? I stubbornly continued until 8 miles had passed before making the 1/2 way turnaround.

The return leg was a little better with the wind now at my back but it also gave the rain a chance to more thoroughly soak my clothes from another angle. My pace increased marginally as I tried to keep warm but a gradual tightening in my hamstrings prevented any real speed from happening. Slowly the miles ticked off. At 13 miles I was faced with a decision to turn right and go 1/4 mile to a warm sheltered apartment or to stubbornly continue on for a 1.5 mile out and back to get my 16 miles. There was no contest, I continued on... After the final turnaround things started to shut down, starting with my watch malfunctioning, then my ipod and of course the rest of the carbon unit soon followed before my final crash landing at the door of the apartment. Total of 16.2 miles in approx. 2hr 20 min, avg HR 133.

Over the entire 2 1/4 hours I did not see one other soul, except late in the run, a man was walking his dog near the university and of course cars with unseen persons giving me curious wondering looks of pity, amazement or worse. It was quite the run and I'm glad it's over but I'm also glad that I did it too. How was your day? I wonder how Andrew and Marc made out this morning. Last I heard Andrew was about to wake Marc up and drag him out for 17 miles. I hope the conditions were a bit better in Down-East Maine.

Have a great week!


Andrew said...

The weather was much better here but we still managed to get into trouble. I'll post it on the blog.

Steph said...

Welcome to PEI! Hopefully next year during the marathon it wont be quite so nasty out :) Good job on running through that mess.

Thomas said...

It's that kind of run that leaves you with a deep sense of satisfaction! Besides, winter is just around the corner; there's more where that came from.

Bruce said...

I do admire you guys that still get out and run during the cold northern winters. Fortunately i don't have to endure winters that cold, though the soft landings in fresh snow does sound attractive.

BTW my two day golf trip was over the weekend, two work days away golfing would be nice though.

UMaine Cooperative Extension said...

Mike - Great run and a great post! You are definitely a driven man. When it comes to running, our oldest son Colin says that I lack common sense. So, yes, I think that is the coomon demoninator amongst runners.

Yes, Andrew dragged me out of bed after a night of fudge, wine, and conversation, bleary eyed and barely conscious, and then dragged me around Boyden lake for 9 miles or so before letting go.

UMaine Cooperative Extension said...

Ok, so my spelling is not so great...must still be suffering from yesterday!

Michael Jay Dotson said...

I got cold just reading that, which is saying something since it’s been in the mid 80’s around here. It’s always tough when your route passes right by where you started and you still have more miles to go. You’re tempted to stop but you persevere. You’ll remember this on about mile 20 at Boston I’ll bet.

Grellan said...

Great determined (stubborn) run. It is always after these runs that the sense of acomplishment and satisfaction hits you - not when you're soaked to the skin, numb with cold and 10 miles from home.

Phil said...

Great run on a cold weekend. If you really want to warm up, you're always welcome to come on down to Arizona. We still have plenty of heat to spare.

Take care and stay warm.

DawnB said...

Awesome just awesome!!