For those of you in NYC these days, you know just how cold it’s been. I thought leaving Chicago meant leaving the super freeze behind, but NYC has had other plans over the past week or so. I’m pretty sure I’d rather take the cold wind over the mountains of snow that Boston is endlessly getting pummeled with (hopefully it clears in time for the Boston Marathon – wouldn’t that be a twist??), but I’ll admit the cold weather is getting a little bit trying.
Since I feel like I write about the challenges of training with my work schedule for every single post, I will continue to do so. I keep thinking that I need to do some runs with people. As the most introverted person ever, I do love my solo runs, but sometimes you just want someone to help pass the miles with. Last week’s long run got a little trying near the end, so perhaps this past weekend would be good for finding a long run buddy. When I checked the weather for the weekend, I realized that most logical people would get their runs in on Saturday – high of 30-ish compared to a high of 15-ish on Sunday. No brainer, my friends. As life would have it, I worked on Saturday, so no run for me. They joked about being so short staffed on Sunday that they would give me a two hour break to fit my long run in (since I said the main reason I wouldn’t work overtime is because I needed to do a long run), but I knew better than that. (BUT OH HOW GLORIOUS THAT WOULD BE.) Needless to say, no overtime.
When I woke up on Sunday morning, the wind was HOWLING. It just sounded cold outside. It was cold in my apartment. Getting out from under the covers seemed like a silly thing to do, especially when I checked the weather and it said it was 14 degrees with no plans to go above 15 degrees. After a quick shout out to Twitter in hopes of finding someone crazy enough to run, I realized I’d be on my own. Beth texted me to discuss the weather and how ridiculous it sounded outside…and to give me a pep talk to run. She walked outside to go to Refine Method and said it seemed manageable. I texted her this picture and headed on my way:
For the record, I used to wear the black thing as an eye mask when I worked night shift. It’s fleece and was quite toasty – great for cold weather running, not so great for comfortable sleeping. But at least it did a fantastic job of blocking out the light…
Anyway. I headed outside, not quite sure what I was getting into. As I passed my doorman, he said, “Now that’s too much dedication!” to which I replied, “I’m not really sure how this is going to go!” No turning back now, though – I’ve been spotted.
My first thought upon getting outside was that it wasn’t so bad…and it wasn’t. Until the wind started to blow and OMG please cover my face ASAP. I headed to Central Park because the thought of running along the West Side Highway with wind in my face for eight miles straight sounded like a good way to make myself want to quit running. At least Central Park is a loop and a little protected from the wind…right?
Although I’ve used my heart rate monitor for the past few long runs, my plan was basically just to get through the long run and feel strong. I hoped for about 8:15 pace, but I think my legs were in “it’s cold, please get us out of here quick” mode, so we moved along a bit faster than planned. I figured I’d slow down along the hills, but I surprisingly clicked off some 7:45s without really thinking. The Millrose Games, a track meet in NYC with so many track stars, was on Saturday, and it appeared that everyone was still in town on Sunday morning. Lots of fast skinny runners out in matching Nike and Oregon gear. I felt kind of bad that I didn’t recognize anyone even after seeing them multiple times throughout my run, but I still got excited to see them even if I couldn’t name names.
Other notable sights on the run included a guy wearing shorts – I mean, I’m somewhat liberal in my shorts-wearing-in-the-cold, but it was 14 degrees with a wind chill below zero. That’s not brave, that’s just silly. Otherwise, I believe the NYAC girls were running eight across at one point, which seemed like a game of Red Rover when I approached them. I’m pretty sure I always got immediate tummy aches when we would play that game in elementary school because I hated it so much…luckily, they stayed away and I managed the rest of the run just fine.
I know people think I’m weird when I say this, but this run went by so fast! I was definitely thinking about the cold and the wind, but I was often on autopilot, thinking my way through the mile I was in, and just concentrating on the next hill or striding out a downhill. It’s so easy to get freaked out over how much further you have to run, but zoning in on the mile I’m in really makes a big difference in the mental game. I felt great and the miles were just clicking off.
The hardest part about the run was how frozen my energy chews got! I have pockets in the back of the Brooks fleece thing I was wearing, so I put the chews in there. They got a little stiff out there in the cold, and it was a little hard to handle them while wearing two pairs of gloves. Maybe the run went by so fast because I spent half the run chewing…but seriously.
The run was really so comfortable, even in the cold, and soon enough I’d finished two loops of the park. I had to add on a little to make it 16 miles, but I just cruised. My legs never felt tired or achy…I was a little thirsty since I decided against carrying water, but I think that was the right choice. I was surprised by how quickly 16 miles flew by. I’m not sure I quite had another ten miles in me at that point, but I like where I’m at.
And I never take Garmin shots, but I feel like 16 miles in 14 degrees is worthy of shot…
And some splits:
Fairly even splits with some speedier miles at the end. The only miles above 8:00 (and just barely…) were both on Cat Hill. That hill just gets me…and not in a good way. But I’ve got some good mental strength that I’m gaining from running these hills over and over and over again, so I think that’s important.
I got home, showered, and quickly ate some eggs with salsa + cheese, toast, and clementines. Aptly consumed after reading Heather’s notes on refueling after the run. I’m not always the best at eating right after running, and I did feel great for the rest of the day…maybe there’s something to this. However, it was absurdly cold and windy for the rest of the day, as documented by Baker’s birthday crawl and this snapshot of us all being blown away…
Although I will openly say that it really wasn’t that bad running in 14 degrees (seriously, it was fine), I’m ready to close the chapter on winter. And so is my laundry hamper because Eric can only take so many large sweaty, smelly running clothes being draped all over the apartment…