THE HYPE IS REAL // RUNNING IN THE BITTER COLD
Because, there’s just something about running in the frigid cold temperatures during the early morning hours that makes me feel a l i v e.
Picture Buddy the Elf going around and around that rotating door in NYC…and that’s basically how these past 2 runs have felt this week. It’s been brutally cold, windy, and at times just downright not enjoyable to be outdoors for an extended period of time. So, it makes no sense why now would be the time when running would get extra fun. Extra extra if that makes any sense whatsoever. It’s like, all of a sudden a light bulb went off in my head and I came to the realization that running in “extreme” weather conditions is the most magical thing on earth.
The only real downside I have found thus far in dealing with this colder running climate, is just how painfully cold your hands are for the first mile or so. It’s enough at time to have you almost wishing you were running indoors on the dreaded treadmill instead. Which, quite possibly would explain why Monday’s three miler was so darn fast. I seriously do not know how on earth I even managed to run as fast as I did considering the wind speed and how fatigued my legs were from Sunday’s workout.
I know I’ve said it before, but I seriously cannot give enough credit to the music I listen to while running when it comes to fast times or getting through tough runs in one piece.
All it takes is starting or ending your run with that one certain song that fires you up, to push past whatever predefined limits you have for yourself when it comes to speed/pacing. Yesterday, it just so happened to be “Thank u, next” by Ariana Grande towards the end of my speedy 3 mile run, that really pushed me to give my all during the last 1/2 mile or so. I was tired, cold, and in desperate need of a good time to make up for how struggle bus filled Sunday’s 6 miler was. I knew I was nearing the end of my run, and felt a sense of urgency to pick up the pace.
That song (and many of her songs) in particular just made me feel so much stronger and more empowered than I actually was in that moment. It gave me that sudden burst of speed and energy that I needed to finish strong, with my head held high. Despite the bitter cold temperatures and being covered in sweat and snot, I finished that run with a huge smile on my face, proud of myself for not letting anything get in the way of me having a fan-freaking-tastic run.
It would probably take hours upon hours of rambling to explain the difference in the physical and mental approach fora 5 mile run versus a 3 mile run.
And, I by no means am an expert on the matter. This fact was clearly exemplified in my pacing for today’s brutal 5 miler. In my defense, I did start the run out on an incredibly high note with a 9:21 mile pace and end with a 9:19 mile time. It was the three miles in between where I really struggled to find a pace that worked. At times, especially during mile 2, I did fairly well when it came to running with the wind and running with good form. Which, is for sure something to be proud of since I was either chocking on my own saliva or being blinded by sweat/snot for most of this run.
For whatever reason, (aka starting out WAY too damn fast for a 5 mile run), I could feel myself slowing down slightly during lap 2. Which, is probably just one of many reasons as to why I should not be running around in circles for the first 3+ miles of every single run. Some days, my mind is just simply daunted by the fact that I have to circle back and retrace the entire first 1.5 miles of my run. On the flip side, I can say that I was probably happiest during this time because my hands and fingers finally did not hurt any more and had sort of adjusted to the cold.
I always look at the last 1-1.5 miles as my victory lap. My time to shine…even though I’m secretly praying that no one is watching me while I run.
Today, that last bit of mileage had an extra added twist: a train. I swear I have not gotten stopped by a train while running in 2 or 3 weeks. Like, every single flipping time I wanted or needed that brief pause: nothing. Now, when all I want is to continue moving forward to I can stay warm, I get stopped for 2 or 3 or maybe a trillion minutes. Seems kind of rude, but whatever. In retrospect, that break is probably the only reason I was able to bust out a sub 9:20 minute final mile.
When I finally hit 5.0 miles on my Garmin watch, I honestly had a hard time just standing up once I had stopped running. I felt pretty shakey and colder than cold. In a way, I was actually sad that the run was over. Very much happy and looking forward to dragging myself into the warm oasis that is the gym, but sad that my outdoor (and therapy) time was over with. Of course, I could not take a single step towards that warm oasis until I had glanced over my splits and average pace and chastised myself for not going fast or hard enough.
I am still very much confused by the fact that I ran a 9:20 average pace run yesterday no problem, but had to put in a tremendous amount of effort today just to squeak out a 9:38 average pace. I guess this is just one of running’s many, many mysteries.