Don’t you love it when the weather decides to go a bit crazy on you when it comes to running?! On Friday I went for a run and the weather was beautiful. The temperatures were in the mid-50s and even the wind (well, it was not gone) blew in the right direction and instead of having to deal with lots of headwinds I actually had tailwinds for a good amount of time. The two days before Friday I have been dealing with a bad sinus headache (still am), but on Friday afternoon I felt fine and so this run turned into a nice seven miler run at a good pace. Life’s good.
Come Saturday the weather had changed completely and of course that on the day when I want to get my long run in. It was 18 degrees outside and snowing. I decided to not whimp out and went for my long run outside anyway. I could have gone to the indoor running track, but running around in circles for seventeen or eighteen miles just did not make me feel excited. I loaded up my hydration belt with warm Gatorade Sports drink and Gatorade chews and off I went. If you saw a mummy running on Saturday, it might have been me.
At first I was protected from the wind chill, but at around mile 3 there was no more denying – the wind felt cold and I had no way to hide. At mile 5 I had to take my gloves off to be able to refuel. Trust me, chewing cold Gatorade Chews is not fun and getting them out of their packaging at 18 degrees and wind should deserve a medal. Seriously! Who at Gatorade developed this packaging?! At mile 6 I stopped for a BIO break at a public restroom at a local park – I don’t know, but that cold weather always gets me somehow …
The wind chill was bad and I changed my route away from the usual and decided to run east towards the city of Lone Tree. This helped a little bit to get me out of the wind, but when I wanted to drink some Gatorade I had to realize that two of my four bottles of Gatorade in my hydration were frozen. The other two were mushy and I had to open the bottles to be able to drink as the mouth pieces were frozen shut. My gloves were wet from the sweat and the snow and my hands started getting cold. I spotted a McDonald’s restaurant and decided to stop by. Nothing better to get a Big Mac for lunch when you’re out on your long marathon training run, right?! Of course I did not eat there, but I used the hand dryer machine in their restroom to speed dry my gloves and to warm up my bottles of frozen Gatorade. I got a few strange looks when leaving the fast food joint, but I guess a sweaty, skinny runner simply does not fit the ambience of Big Mac eating people. Anyway, thank you McDonald’s – it was cold and I needed some help to warm up for a moment. I appreciate it.
With the weather not cooperating, I decided to head back the same way I had come. That would give me a guaranteed 16 miles for this run, but I also had the option to extend the run towards the end. My actual goal for this run was 18 miles. I came closer to home and made a small change to my route to add another mile. I was hoping to do the same at another spot a bit later, but when I got there I decided to play it safe and to run straight home. Being sweaty and out in the cold for 2.5 hours already I really started feeling cold. Yes, I could have run the 18th mile, but was it really worth it?! I doubt it and so I went home. I showed my frozen Gatorade bottles to my family and they were quite entertained by it. I prepared a post-run recovery shake and then took a 15 minute hot shower. Fortunately that hot water heater was able to hold up for me.
Considering the circumstances I was quite happy with the run. It was certainly not perfect, but you gotta make the best out of it no matter what. This run brought my mileage for 5 weeks of marathon training up to 167 miles. I feel I am on the right track with my training. I really want to ramp up my mileage a little bit going forward though – the last two weeks I did not fully reach the 40 mile marker and that bugs me a little bit. I do have a hidden agenda on my mind and for that I need to get more miles in. No, I am not going to tell anyone yet – just think of me being a bit crazy and depending on how things pan out I will let you know what the hidden agenda is.