Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ice crystals on my esophagus...

This morning I ran the route that I'll be running in the 10k next weekend. I wanted to know what I am in for. Have you ever been in really cold weather and felt like you're breathing in cold liquid air that turns into ice crystals once it hits your throat? Well, imagine that while running up Machu Picchu. Ok, maybe not that bad, but it was pretty bad.

Before I left our house, I checked the temperature online. It said 47 degrees, but "feels like" 37. Ok, I can deal with that. I got my ear cover on, my hood and gloves and got in the car to drive to the start line. I started my run at 7:03 a.m. The first 1/10th of a mile was fine...but then I hit a big hill. I seriously thought I was going to be crystallized from the inside out. My esophagus felt like it was on fire...which really doesn't make sense since it was freezing, right? Anyway, up until this point in my running, my knees have been holding up amazingly well. I've invested in some great running shoes that have virtually eliminated my pain. Well, after hitting mile .00002, my knees started to scream for me to stop the torture. I kept saying to myself, "mind over matter...mind over matter..." (that's my mantra while I really is true. The majority of the time, my legs are not REALLY going to fall off, and my lungs aren't REALLY going to shrivel up into little ice cubes, I just need to conquer the discouragement...), but I think the cold must have made my knees into some kind of old person's arthritic cousin.

I kept thinking about a friend of mine who is training for a marathon and told me to invest in a pair of running tights and a covering for my mouth for when I run in cold weather. I don't think I understood the importance of these little gems until today. As much as I don't want to be seen in a pair of spandex tights, I realize I already look like a fool running down the road with my "water fanny pack" and non-runner's stride, so what do I have to lose?

After the first mile, my lungs began to thaw and the pain there wasn't so bad. My knees fell asleep a couple times, and kept arguing with me about what I am putting them through, but they made it to the end of the 6.1 miles and I rewarded them with a nice rub-down when I got home. 59 minutes...I don't know if I'll have that good of a time next week, since I wasn't *exactly* sure where the start and finish lines will be, but I was happy with that today. The run was absolutely beautiful...gorgeous countryside, the smell of know, all the things you just won't find in the city.