Let’s go from worst to best, shall we?
In all sincerity, I was really, really looking forward to Saturday’s seven-miler. I had a bunch of my favorite podcasts stored up and two hours cleared, which meant that I could foam roll afterwards and take a leisurely shower. The forecast was calling for upper teens and clear skies. Not ideal, but one takes what one can get in January.
My plan was to run up to the local high school, around the track for 6ish miles, then home, which would add up to a little over 7 miles. Ah, plans.
Running up to the high school was cold but manageable. Most folks shoveled their sidewalks so the footing was fine. No one, however, had shoveled the track.
I have zero idea why it didn’t dawn on me that there would be actual snow on an outdoor surface in January, especially since it hasn’t been above freezing here in weeks. Because I hate diverging from any plan, I decided to run around the track anyway. How deep could it be?
The short answer is “just above my ankle.” I made three laps before decided that a) my feet were freezing and b) this was stupid. I didn’t give up, though, and decided to just run around the high school itself. The sidewalks had been shoveled and there was zero traffic.
All went went, well, not well—but OK—until I tried to change podcasts. My iPod, which has a cracked screen courtesy one of my children, must have had sweat or a snowflake fall into one of its many cracks, where it promptly froze when I pulled it out of my pocket.
So. Fine. I can adapt. Everyone talks about the zen of naked runs, I thought. Let’s give this a whirl.
I made it one more lap around the high school before the antsies set in.
And, then, the snow squalls started.
I was three and a half miles in at that point and made the executive decision to bail on laps. A change of scenery would be just what I needed to push through the second half of the run. I sucked down an almost frozen Salted Caramel Gu and picked up my favorite three mile loop, which I documented last week.
At 4.5 miles, in the middle of the 300-foot climb, I had my dark midmorning of the soul. Icy snowflakes pelted me in the face. I was running in a thin, slippery film of slush on the side of the road. I had just been passed by three young college-age women runners who looked fresh as spring daisies. And there was so. much. more up before the blessed down.
Plus, I needed to pee but it was too blessed cold to even think about exposing any more of my flesh to the wind.
I wish I could give you some kind of mantra that got me through. I got nothing.
What I did, really, is not stop. I moved my left foot, then my right foot. Lather, rinse, repeat.
After several years, I got over the hill and down the other side. The remaining miles didn’t exactly fly by but moved quickly enough. I reached the block my house is on and dreamed of hot chocolate. That’s just as good as chocolate milk, right? I looked at Herr Garmin: 6.5 miles.
Reader, I’ll admit that I said some words that would make Martin Scorsese blush. Then I ran around my block a few times, because 6.5 is not the same as 7, and, dang it, the plan said 7.
I still got my foam roll and leisurely shower, even though the run took a good 15 minutes longer than planned. So I’m going to chalk it up as a win.
Also in the win column is a solution I finally came up with for indoor track runs.
I’ve tried nearly everything to keep track of laps inside because Herr Garmin can’t get a signal through the cinder block walls. After a few apps (awkward), coupled with moving my water bottle from window to window (complicated), and/or transferring buttons from pocket to pocket (cumbersome), I finally remembered that I have hands.
After the first lap, I touch my right thumb to my right pointer finger and leave it there (loosely) for the rest of the lap. Next lap is thumb to middle finger. Next lap is ring, then pinky. After that lap, I do the same on the left. Each hand is half a mile.
The trick, of course, is to not move your fingers around. Fiddling with music or your phone is tricky. Waving at people you know is a lot like throwing gang signs. Still, it seems to be working.
Anyone else have problems keeping track of laps? Any work arounds you’ve come up with?