Chasing 42

Life, the Universe, & Running

Can You Get Frostbite There?

6:03AM: I am enjoying blissfully comfortable, warm, snuggly rest in a warm bed with a beautiful woman.

6:04AM: The alarm goes off. I think I’m an idiot. Don’t ask me why I didn’t set it for 6:00AM. In my mind, setting the alarm for odd times increases the chances that I will actually respond.

6:10AM: I’ve stumbled downstairs and managed to turn on a light. This is progress. The light in the living room also makes it perfectly “clear” that it’s still dark outside.

6:25AM: I’ve managed to “suit up”, as Barney Stinson would say…for a run of course. This, however, is no small task- not only is it far too early in the morning and the synapses in my brain are only firing at half their capacity, but it’s COLD. Let me translate.

cold [khold]  adjective, -er, -est, noun,adverb


1.having a relatively low temperature; having little or no warmth: cold water; a cold day.(no kidding! the temperature read 4 degrees, with a windchill of -18 degrees…darn right it had little or no warmth!)

2.having a temperature lower than the normal temperature of the human body: cold hands. (this, 4 < 98.6…this is impressive math for me @ 6AM)

3.not affectionate, cordial, or friendly; unresponsive: a cold reply; a cold reception. (it’s a very good thing I was by myself at this juncture of the morning)

4.failing to excite feeling or interest: the cold precision of his prose. (well, in all honesty, I needed a little interest or I would have never gotten out of bed- remember the beautiful woman?)

5.lacking the warmth of life; lifeless: When the doctor arrived,the body was already cold. (this sets in after about an hour of running)

Now, I say this with the knowledge that I grew up in Minnesota, where cold is a way of life. Hence, I not only don’t take it lightly, but I have a pretty strong grasp on the relative nature of cold. This was probably the main reason that I chose to move from inside to outside willingly.

6:30AM: I leave the warm confines of the house and venture out into the impending dawn, clad in multiple layers of wicking material, which cover practically every inch of my body. I push start on my Garmin 405, and the adventure begins!

7:30AM: I arrive at my first destination, which in this case is a rendezvous location with the wonderful Vardos for our Saturday morning run. By this point, frost has started to form on my head, and the mixture of sweat and cold leaves me feeling simultaneously chilled and warm. I managed to only see one other human being over the last hour- I’m sure it had nothing to do with the extreme cold or early time though, right?I was surprised by the number of folks that did show up. After all, the treadmill no doubt looked mighty appealing to many people this morning! (remind me to tell you later why the treadmill will NEVER look appealing to me) We head out on a nice simple route, and the the messy mixture of condensation, sweat, and snot continues to build up on my face mask. It is a uniquely cold weather running phenomenon, and nothing clears the sinuses quite as well!

8:30AM: We completed our first 6 mile loop. For most, this was the end of the line. I, however, still had about 90 minutes ahead of me. Luckily, two intrepid friends chose to join me, so we set out once again! By this point, I was most likely dehydrated. The cold weather has a way of making you forget that you are thirsty, and you end up not drinking nearly enough. I was carrying a water bottle with me and the water/Powerade mixture had begun to freeze by this point, but I could still squeeze out some liquid. We stopped @ the new rec center on campus, and I was annoyed to find out that you can no longer go inside without your university ID card…so much for this water fountain haven on long runs- the joys of progress 😦

10:20AM: I arrived back at home, having racked up 21 miles of cold-weather run. I was tired. I’m usually tired, but this was somehow different. My body never really got warm, and I seemed to stay stiff for much of the run, making it that much more difficult.

10:40AM: A warm shower facilitated the thawing process. I never quite get used to the stinging sensation that comes with getting into a hot shower after a very cold run.

I spent the rest of the day sipping coffee, reading, and grading papers…and then it hit me. I may not have gotten frost bite but the run certainly caught up with me. I don’t nap. Ever. Yet, on this day my body left me no choice. It was a hard-fought fight with the cold, and despite reaching my desired mileage, I’m pretty sure the cold still won!


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