The temperature in Peoria dipped below freezing over the weekend. Three inches of snow planted itself on the ground. Meanwhile my friends continued to give me weather updates from the St. Jude Marathon in Memphis. You would think hearing about others running in the streets where The King of Rock and Roll once lived kept me warm. All it really did was make me long for April when it was 50 degrees most of the day.
And while my friends went to Sun Records, ate BBQ, and complained about how expensive Graceland was, I continued to keep our band together in their absence. This was much easier than I thought but the cold weather had managed to zap my energy levels to zero. I had no get up and go. It would seem wearing five layers of clothing and a crocheted gnome cap while running six miles in the winter doesn’t make you go faster.
Then there’s the ice. The trail froze over one night and one of the Memphis runners was afraid she was going to take a spill 5 days before her first marathon. My Beasts were slipping and sliding away like a Paul Simon song. I’m even starting to dread my water bill. I’ve had to wash the same gear over and over again so I can wear it again the next day. I know I should just head to the gym and run on a treadmill for an hour but I can’t bring myself to do it. I love running outside way too much no matter the conditions (except lightning, is that weird?).
I knew the Sunday long run would be the worst. Snow came unexpectedly the night before. We started to hop-foot around the trail for the first mile or so. Afterwards things seemed to go pretty well until the hill between the second and third mile. The path wasn’t cleared at all. I don’t want to exaggerate but sometimes it felt like climbing a mountain on running shoes. I felt like I was dragging ass the whole time. Once we reached the six mile point, we started to turn around with a 4 degree wind chill breeze blowing at a speed of 30 miles per hour in our faces. Everything on my person, including my beard (or as I’m calling it, the man-scarf), was frozen solid. My headphones started to short because ice started to form on the speakers.
When all was said and done I was quite satisfied with our accomplishment. I felt like I deserved the cup of hot cocoa and ham, egg, and carbohydrate breakfast sandwich from Panera. We saved a seat by the fireplace while my beard and running pants began to thaw in the heat of the flame. I described the morning to my friends in Memphis as “fun but rough.” I’m sure everyone has a story of running in the least favorable of elements. However, this is my first such story and from the look of the weather report this week, will certainly not be my last.