Well, last night’s run was was about as much fun as getting a teeth cleaning while listening to country music and having a mouse run up my leg. And for my world wide audience that does not know me too well… I am afraid of the dentist/mice and I hate country music. So the scenario I just described would be torture for me. And torture is a really good description of the run that we did last night. It was the longest 3 miles I may have ever run and I think last night’s weather may have been the worst I’ve ever run in. And I’ve run in some BAD, BAD conditions!
Let me paint you a picture of the run last night….
Snowstorm Julia was in full force when we finally got out the door. I wasn’t too concerned because I had run in plenty of snowstorms before. And the temperatures weren’t bad either… so I thought this should be a somewhat easy 3 miler. WRONG!
I knew by the time I got to the end of our block, that this run was going to be different. When I went to round the corner, a corner I had rounded hundreds of times before, I had a hard time figuring out exactly where the sidewalk was compared to the lawn and curb. This turned out to be a foreshadow of what was still to come.
The first half mile was not all that bad. It was definitely running in a snowstorm… snow, wind, tough visibility… the normal. We were only a few blocks from the house when the thunder and lightening greeted us. That was a treat and something new for us. (Is it safe to run in snow when it’s lightening? I mean, we’re standing in 6 inches of precipitation. What happens if the lightening touches down?… that thought kept me preoccupied for a quarter of a mile) I think it was just past the half mile mark when we turned around and I realized that the snow was probably 5 inches deep already (with blowing and drifting) and that I was SO thankful that it was some what fluffy that I could just shuffle my feet through it compared to having it be hard snow that I have to high step through it.
The second half mile was getting pretty tough… and I was surprised at how quickly the storm was progressing and how it was getting really bad out. This means, running through even more snow. Tracks we just made about 2 minutes ago were already half covered with more snow, wind picking up, visibility turning to shit and snow pelting the face at a really rapid rate. But still, it was tough, but nothing we haven’t done before.
Well, at a little less than the one mile mark we had to turn north and run INTO the storm. And let’s just say, things went downhill quickly from this point. Running head on into the snowstorm now required me to run with my head down so the brim of my hat could keep the snow from poking my eyes out. Running without being able to see where you’re going is a tad tricky as you can imagine. But then again, even with my head up, I realized I couldn’t see much because the sun was down and the blowing wind made visibility poor, I could see about a block ahead of me at this point.
This stretch of the run was only about a half mile long and holy crap, was it hard. I at one point didn’t even know where I was. I thought the intersection was ahead of me but yet I didn’t think we ran that far. I was trying to look ahead (at this point I could really only see a few houses in front of me at a time) and figure out where we were. We were only about half way into this stretch of the run, which means I’ve only run about a quarter of a mile and yet I totally got “lost” and disorientated and just wanted to call it quits. This is how bad the storm was at this point and again… how quickly it turned shitty on me.
Finally, we got to round the corner. I can’t tell you how many times during this next section of the run that I almost fell because I ran into the existing and hard snow banks on someone’s lawn. I absolutely could not see where I was running. I couldn’t tell if I was running on the sidewalk or on someone’s lawn. And I usually found my answer when I tripped over the snowbanks that were hidden underneath the fresh snow we were currently getting. Can you imagine? I couldn’t until last night. I mean, you can usually tell where a sidewalk is and isn’t…. but I couldn’t. And the fact that I was running with my head so far down to keep the snow from hitting me, that I think I was almost looking backwards. This was not ideal for making sure my running form was in tip top shape.
So, here I am running and running and running and I felt like I wasn’t really getting anywhere. I was only about a mile and half into the run. WTF? How could this be? I’m so tired and exhausted I feel like I’ve just done the stupid Sears Tower stairs again. And I’m only half way done with the run. At this point, we are circling around and are pretty close to our house. We are actually only a block away. I was going to call it a night at this point. The weather was so, so bad. It was no longer running in a snowstorm… it was now running in a blizzard. I figured it’s a fricken blizzard, that can surely justify ending the run early. Right? Wrong. I didn’t tell Brian that I was going to quit at this point because I was trying to get up enough courage to do it. And I wasn’t trying to get up the courage to tell Brian that we were stopping, I was trying to get up enough courage to tell myself that I was stopping.
I ran a bit farther, and was still close to home and told myself okay, make it to two miles and then we’re done. And while all of this inner turmoil is going on, I’m getting pelted with snow, I’m falling and tripping, I’m huffing and buffing and in general, looking and acting like someone that needs to stop this run early.
But that damn stubbornness that I have (where the hell did I get that from… I’d say my mom) kicked in and I thought… if I quit now I’d be so mad and disappointed in myself later. I also thought that if I can run through pain, I can run through a blizzard. So, I guess I made the decision to keep going. Albeit a VERY, VERY reluctant decision was made.
So, now I’m at something ridiculous like 1.67 miles. And can’t seem to make any progress in my run. How can I be running, running and running and not actually getting any where?
I’ve mentioned a few times that I’ve been getting pelted with snow. I think I need to elaborate a bit. I’ve been pelted with snow before and it’s not pleasant but this time was different. This was like getting shards of glass thrown at your face from one of those tennis ball launchers. It hit’s your face so hard it feels like it’s ripping at your skin. I don’t understand, how can something so soft and fluffy can feel like shards of glass at times?
So, now I’m at 1.68 miles and I realize there is a bit of a hill coming up. Granted I can’t see the hill, because I can’t see ANYTHING and I’m still falling into yards and tripping over curbs. But I know the hill is ahead of me. It’s normally not a hill that even bothers me, but in a blizzard the slightest incline is like trying to get up Brennan’s hill with the Pontiac and a set of bald tires (that reference will only make sense to about 2 people… sorry).
Running up this incline I knew I need to really, really pull out all of the “stops” so I thought about my dad. I said before training started that the reason I was running this marathon was for my dad. So, I kept my little legs plowing through the snow by remembering everything he’s been through the last year. If he can do that, and not once complain, I can get up this fricken incline!
Whew… I’m up the hill. And I’m at about 2.0 miles. Crap… I have another goddamn mile to go. But I at least made it up the hill.
The last mile was horrible. A lot more of what I already described. Near white out conditions, the feeling of glass getting shot at my face, tripping, sliding… and cursing. A whole lot of cursing. In a past post, I mentioned how Brian and I “call out” things like “clear”, when it’s okay to run through the intersection or “car” when it’s not or “ice”… you get the point. Last night Brian took it upon himself to start a new call. He now calls out “cursing”. I do agree that “cursing” is a nice addition to our list of things to watch out for.
A block away from our house we finally achieved our 3 miles. And I stopped exactly at 3 miles. I was not about to run another step. I made Brian walk in front of me to help block the snow, I walked with my head down and I held on to his vest so he could help pull me along. This is really how bad it was outside at this time. When we finally got back to our house… it was time for the Hoo Rah!! But this run being what it was… just an ordinary Hoo Rah was not going to cut it. It was time to break out the big guns, it was time for… a big ol Hoo-MotherFuckin-Rah!!
After Brian and I talked more about the run… we both agree this was probably the WORST weather conditions we’ve ever run in. And we’ve run in some really bad shit before. But I guess the bright side is that it’s over with, we did it, I didn’t stop and now we have another story to tell and I get one more step closer to feeling like a real runner.
But I have to say… if anyone runs into Mother Nature. Can someone bitch slap her for me?
Until next time… gotta run (or shuffle)