Saturday, February 25, 2012

Never a Dull Moment

Today was SO. HARD.  Physically, mentally, emotionally.  Man, I don't even know where to begin!

The past three Saturday's my comment after each run has been "well, at least the weather won't get any worse than this!"  And each time... I've been 100% wrong.  The weather each Saturday morning has been progressively worse each week and this week was no exception.

Driving to the park, 7:30am

Our meeting point this morning was at a park pretty close to the middle of nowhere.  I suppose middle of nowhere is a relative term, but when I start seeing horses and more land than houses...we're officially in the country. 

The park we were meeting at serves as the location for a 15k race that we will be running at the beginning of April.  So, today was a field trip to run some of the 15k course.  "Rolling hills" would be an understatement in describing this route.  Even the race website describes the course as "challenging" and "hilly."  See, I'm not just being a drama queen or a baby about hills today.  This was the real deal!

Elevation map from the race website

Before I had time to really freak out about the weather and the roller coaster route that was ahead, our pace group was off and running.  Naturally, we started our run with the wind coming at us.  And it was FREEZING.  Like icy snowy wind blowing snow right in your face.  Little did I know that this would be the "easy" part of the morning.

By about the third or fourth mile, it turned into a blizzard (not even a dramatization).  

This picture doesn't even do the conditions justice!

Blizzard quickly turned into full on white out.  The footprints of the runners ahead of me were completely covered, that's how much snow was coming down!  Running up the hills was awful -- I could not keep my head up because the snow and wind was just flying directly into your face.  And it was SO cold; I'm 99% sure frostbite was happening on my face.  

See, I'm not being dramatic!
(ps this is another runner's picture I borrowed from fbook...oops i'm a creeper)

By mile five, I had a complete breakdown.  I had fallen way behind my pace group and with the white-out I couldn't even see them anymore.  I looked behind me and couldn't even see the 13 minute pace group either.  I was completely alone.  One of the biggest hills was right ahead of me, and I couldn't even feel my legs to make them move.  I started walking...and then I started crying. 

The snow on my entire body had frozen (I think my tears were even turning to ice) and I couldn't feel my legs or my face.  The snow was coming down harder and I couldn't see five feet in front of me.  I lost my footing at one point and fell.  I was honestly wondering how the heck I was going to finish.  

At mile six I saw some people standing about a quarter mile ahead of me (there were actually about 5 different times that I thought I saw people, but they turned out to be mailboxes).  Three girls from the 11 minute pace group had stopped and were waiting for a ride back to the park.  They asked me if I wanted to go back with them and by that point, I was legitimately concerned about my own well-being and didn't hesitate about cutting my run short to go back with them.

While I was really discouraged and disappointed about not completing the 8+ miles on the schedule for today, a phone call to my sissy and reading some of the posts in the Fleet Feet Facebook group helped me to realize that I should be okay with how the ball rolled today.

Five months ago I wouldn't have even gotten out of bed given the weather conditions this morning.  The fact that I not only got out of bed, but ran 5 miles (and ran/walked/cried through a 6th) of icy, snowy, windy hills, is a huge win for me.  There were a few times during the first five miles that I wanted to give up, but I didn't.  I'm proud of myself for getting those miles in even though they're not as many as I had hoped for.

Not only did I forget to take a picture of my watch at the end, I only managed one picture of myself (this should tell you how flustered and mentally/physically drained I was!)  I think it's clear how much I enjoy photo-documenting my own face.

This doesn't really do the conditions any justice since I was a little thawed out at this point.  But please note the remnants of ice in my hair and eyebrows, my rudolph/frostbitten nose and the snow thawing down my face.

I can honestly say that this was the most taxing mental and physical run that I've ever done.  I know I've probably said that before, but let's be honest....I think anyone would agree with me that today takes the cake.  Pretty sure the next time I run this 15k course I'll not only 1. complete the whole thing but 2. it will feel like a breeze compared to today!


  1. OMG! I can't believe that you got out of bed and actually went running today. Sorry but I have to agree with you stating the obvious that the old "Molly " would have put the covers over her head and gone back to sleep. Please don't take offense, cuz the mental picture I have of you running today, just makes me laugh. Where is YOU TUBE when you need it. Girl, you did great today. You did not die even though you thought that you were taking part in a man vs wild episode. So you live to run another day (yes you will). I am so impressed but why we're you not wearing a face cover? Is it possible that I have something that you don't have? Impossible. I also ran this morning and it was the worst weather day by far for me as well. I looked like the abondible (sp) snowman. I ran 8 today but was scheduled for 10. But our group kept together and we were laughing at times so it was a morning to remember. Especially when we are running 8 miles in 95 degree heat. So thaw out, keep hydrated and know that you did your best and you lived to blog about it. Congrats! Karen

  2. You are correct. Our Saturday's have been getting worse! I just barely finished and the last few hills were slippery! If next week is 30 degrees and freezing rain, I'm staying in bed!