Saturday, March 20, 2010

Cool Damp Cloth

Yesterday was the last day of winter and it was nearly 70 degrees. I was running at 6:30 p.m. with the sun still up and my shirt off. This morning, the first day of spring, it was 34 and raining steadily. I was scheduled to do my longest run of the week, a 12 miler, and a near freezing rain wasn't going to deter me.

I usually have the most fun on days when the weather is the worst. I think it's some sort of primal, prevailing over the elements, caveman thing. There is a greater sense of accomplishment. Some days, and today was one of them, I have to talk myself out the door. I know that once I get into it I will love it but with it being cold and wet, the excuses were coming to mind easily.

I have sung and will continue to sing praises to my Five Finger shoes. My legs and joints feel stronger and faster than they ever have. They have but one Achilles Heal. They do not offer any substantial insulation from the cold. They also don't keep water out which I normally like in a shoe because feet get wet on trails and if water can get in, then it can get out and let the shoe dry. However with today's temperature, I wondered if it would be an issue. I wasn't sure if I would be able to take two and half hours with my feet drenched in 35 degree water.

Within the first 10 minutes of the run the bottom of my feet were soaked. 20 minutes in they were tingly cold and I thought about turning back to get a regular pair of shoes. Shortly after that though, as my body warmed up and the pace quickened, they warmed a bit and stayed in a cold but not frozen range for the rest of the run. On feet sore from training already it began to feel kinda nice. Like the feeling of a cold damp cloth on your forehead when you have a headache.

I had intended to run Busiek again but didn't feel like getting on the highway and making the drive. I decided to run what I call the Nature Center Loop. I normally stay away from the Nature Center on the weekend but knew on a day like this there wouldn't be the normal crowds. I was right, 2 other runners was all there was.

I'll be happy when the construction on the highway that I must pass under to get there is finally completed. The trail is officially closed but on the weekends, especially a raining one, I didn't expect them to be working. Much to my surprise, as I was cutting through the last restricted area on the way home, I rounded the corner to see a police car sitting on the road next to the trail closed sign! I thought they must have seen me go in and were just waiting for me to come out.

I didn't really want to turn around and run in the other direction. Not only would it have added 5 more miles but I didn't know if he really was waiting for me and didn't want him to think I was trying to escape! He was in his car and didn't appear to be getting out. I decided to just run past and hope he didn't say anything. It worked. I didn't make eye contact to see what his expression was but for whatever reason, I guess I wasn't worth the trouble.

80 miles on the bike and 30 on foot for a solid 11 hours of cardio this week. I still have tomorrow though and may throw another run in for good measure.

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