Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Zero with Karen

3:30am....alarm blazing....my wife: "Is it really time?" Yes. She dug back in and I donned my morning sweats and comfy Brooks hoodie. Time to make the espresso...

Spring ahead to 4:40am...see right >>> yea.. zero degrees. BUT, the silver lining here is the wind speed: "Calm." Zero degrees is one thing but zero degrees with wind is quite another. Out the back window was a crispy, illuminated backyard meaning to me that it's clear, Mr. Moon is waiting, and the stars fills the sky. Sold.

The key here is to dress correctly. Luckily, I have a pair of running pants designed for this. They are a pair of Sporthill pants that are 4 to 6 years old. Perfect. The top has to be next to skin with a top layer to break any breeze at all and to capture heat being wicked off by the base layer. For the hands...no different...my trusty gloves. Up top? My not-a-running hat that I picked up over Christmas time from my favorite local coffee shop in Kent...Bent Tree Coffee Roasters. It's a non-cotton hat that fits my big head just fine and does a most excellent job wicking away the heat from my cranium. After all, the two top spots our bodies get rid of heat are our palms and head. As a matter of fact, if you're ever on a winter run and getting a bit toasty, peel back your gloves to expose your palms. You'll lower your overall body temp and cool down a bit. Call it your body temperature throttle. Works like a charm. Along with the hat, a balaclava to cover as much skin as possible. The only skin left is around my eyes and my exhaust (aka: breath) will keep that warm as it escapes upward. The last key to success sub-sub-freezing it to keep moving. Any picture-taking had better be swift as your furnace (inner body) remaining hot and churning out the calories is the key to your technical gear/fabric keeping your comfy. Otherwise, you're going to suffer.

On the run, it was super peaceful. Stars, the moon, bone-dry road, and a smattering of cars that I would've paid to hear the comments/thoughts as they passed me in my light-up-the-morning jacket. Once again...so glad I didn't stay home. This was another morning I HAD to get out there...alone. Some have other vices: smoking, drinking, Zumba, weights, CrossFit, porn, drugs, reading, shopping, promiscuity, eating, sleeping, and the list goes on. When life comes knocking like a lion, we're going to respond somehow. For me...it's the open road. A fellow Brooks athlete recently made the reference to "junk miles" on a post I read not too long ago. Maybe some believe in that term...I do not. No mile is junk or a waste to me. Sure...running is allowing me to continue losing weight and fit in my Navy uniform like never before, but I rarely run for that. It's simply a pleasant side-effect. Often, it's to pray...to think...to worship sometimes...to listen to the birds sing...to just adore the world I get to run in. I guess if and when I get injured, I'm going to have to switch to Plan B. What's Plan B? I guess I'll figure that out when I get there...not a clue. I'm typically a planner but I'm not planning for "when" I get hurt.

So back to the title of today's post. I really wanted to get back to see my daughter off to school so my 10mi loop was out of the question. I thought I could squeeze in "Karen's 8.2," though. Karen is a friend that once came over one very early morning and ran this 8.2 mile loop with me so it's been called that ever since. So zero degrees with Karen it was. I couldn't believe some of the normal dogs were out today on that route. Zero degrees...I hope they were just let out and weren't out all night. Hilly, my shadow cast on the road before me, and freezing eyelashes. Imagine looking through bubble glass. That's what I saw when I came upon a light post or some other manmade light. Icicles were forming on my eyelashes and reaching downward. From time to time, I wiped them off and sorry for being gross, but that would best be described as scraping a chunky booger off of my eyes. Not boogers, of course....chunks of ice...but that's what it felt like! (or what I'd imagine a chunky booger, of course!)

As I reached the bottom of my road...1/3 of a mile from my home, my Runners-OCD set in again. I glanced at the time and realized I had time to even out Karen's 8.2. If I ran up the hill and back, I'd have an addition 0.8 miles and therefore an even 9 for the day. So instead of Zero with Karen, I got Nick's OCD 9. The only thing that really started getting cold was in front of my throat. My balaclava was capturing moisture running down and because the balaclava isn't next to skin, it froze and began accumulating ice. Had I been going 15 or more miles, I think I may have ended up pulling the whole thing off. So...how ya like my "snow?" Isn't that amazing? That's purely from the heat leaving my big 'ol head and coming in contact with the zero degree air. Chunky white frost. Pretty cool...literally.


Have a great Wednesday, everyone!

No comments: