While away in Southern Alberta for the holidays I intended to fit in a long run, something around 17 or 18km. Well, it was cold (with the windchill), and there always seemed to be something better to do (like run inside on a treadmill - lame!), and there was always enough good cheese and wine to keep me sedated and glued to the couch. I had the best intentions, but they really fell flat.
So, back to BC and the long run absolutely had to be accomplished. My next race is in 5, make that 4 (!) weeks, so there's no time to lose in training. I did a shorter run during the week to get my sea-level legs back and thoroughly enjoyed the elevated red blood count thanks to celebrating the holidays at 910 M (2,985.6 FT), but the long run was yet to come. Last night I had a lot of trouble sleeping, probably because I had become a bit nervous about the long run planned for this morning. It had been put off and put off...how would it feel after a hiatus from more serious distance?
As it turns out, I really shouldn't have been worried about my performance but I definitely should have paid more attention to the weather report. I started the run at 9am, intending to run about 17 or 18km, meeting up with a friend partway. If I hadn't arranged it with my friend, I really doubt I would have left the house. Rocco was all warm and slumberous in bed still when I left, and only groggily asked where the hell I thought I was going at what to him was an ungodly hour for a weekend. The rain was pelting down and had been all night. Luckily, I thought, the wind had mostly died down. Well not for long.
It's funny what running will do to you. Even in shorts (yes, stupid, stupid shorts since my longer pants are filthy and stinking in the laundry pile), running will warm you up in any weather and keep you pushing forward because to stop is to get cold and to fully realise your misery. I ran from step one in driving rain which was somehow always driving into my face even though the route changed direction many times. I ran through four episodes of hail. Hail! In Vancouver! Small pellets, but hail all the same. And four times! I ran through the river that people call the Sea Wall (no, it's a flowing river. I promise) then listened to the squelch of my shoes as I carried extra water weight up the hill from the Sea Wall to more elevated areas of Vancouver.
I finally arrived at my friend's house and thumped on his door with my frozen claw hands. [Aside: Dad, those windstopper gloves you gave me are awesome but they were simply not up to the task this morning!] He opened the door with great enthusiasm and was totally ready to run - until he saw me. Yes, yes, I was fine, I just needed to rub my hands a little before we headed out again, I explained through blue lips and chattering teeth. We ran together for about a half hour then split up to run to our respective houses, dry off and warm up, then get dressed for brunch. The warm shower water made my nearly frost-bitten skin scream! Maybe it wasn't frost-bitten, but hailed and rained upon, beaten to a pulp! I now feel fine, though still a little chilled.
Let me just say this. As the weather gods demonstrated today, it does not pay to procrastinate! If I had done the long run in AB it would have been a cold but sunny morning, light breeze, back roads with little traffic and NO precipitation. Here in Vancouver, the morning was suited to almost anything you could imagine doing more than it was suited to running. And still, my first answer to Rocco's concerned question, "How was it?" was Fun! Now I have some bragging rights and the mad runner's gleam in my eye, and I enjoyed a gluttonous portion of huevos rancheros for brunch without a drop of guilt.
What have I become?