My Prozac

Another Cold RunI was sitting in my office around 12:00 pondering my pathetic week of training.  I ran 16 miles on Sunday with Danoh and haven’t done anything remotely cardiovascular except walk up the stairs and give the kids a bath.  My trainer broke on Tuesday just as I was about to ride and the weather has been less-than-cooperative.  So my depression was growing.  It hit it’s peek around 13:00 when I noticed the wind picking up, the temperature plummeting, and the snow falling.   “Great, what should I do now?” I asked myself.  I decided I could go back to work after taking the kids home and run on the treadmill.  After all, that would be a great way to accomplish Workout 1, Week 4 of our training schedule (see “training”).  Doing 3, 2 mile tempos on the treadmill would be a great workout…!  However, on the way home I noticed the wind had died down, the snow was fresh, and after all, the temperature was only 22 degrees.  A pretty warm temperature considering the past few weeks.  Maybe my luck was changing?  I got home around 17:15, dropped off the screaming kids, donned my YakTrax and was out the door by 17:30.  I still had around 15 minutes of daylight left (score 1/3)!  Running at night in the winter sucks, so anytime you can get out with daylight left is a bonus; especially during the working week.  As I walked to the end of the block I turned on my iPod and started one of the podcasts.  This particular podcast was devoted to an excerpt from “The Yellow Jersey” by Ralph Hurne.  “The greatest cycling novel ever written”.  This day is getting better.  A topic about cycling , my favorite podcast topic, while running (score 2/3).

I began to run and it felt good.  If you have ever run in freshly fallen snow at night you know what I mean.  It is really something special, almost an out-of-body experience.  You can leave the past behind, forget about the future, and focus only on the present.  Just you, the snow, and the road.  The snow is still falling on my face, you can hear the “swish, swish” of my feet sinking into the snow, the automobile noise is insulated by the snow.  “Oh man, this is great” I thought.  The euphoria lasted until about mile 3 when I hit my turnaround.  The adrenaline and endorphines had tapered off, my legs were wobbly from the effort of picking them up out of the snow, and I was tired.  I went to wipe the snot off my nose and got scratched from the ice on my glove rubbing the ice on my mustache.  I was only half way home.  I turned around and had another stroke of luck.  I hadn’t realized on the way out that I was running into a head wind.  It must have been the enjoyment that had clouded my senses.  On the way back I was pushed along by an easterly, tailwind (score 3/3).  I wasn’t maintaining the 07:30 mile pace necessary to fulfill Workout 1, Week 4 as anticipated but I was getting a great workout nonetheless.  At one point, I decided to walk to catch my breath after ascending a particularly difficult hill.  It took about 10 feet to realize that walking in the snow was more difficult than just running in it.  So I sucked it up and finished with a good effort all the way home.

Six miles in the snow after bumming on the couch for 3 days was both a difficult workout and a stress-reliever.  It was a good strength and aerobic workout.  Definitely not the anaerobic workout I needed this week but when living north of the Mason-Dixon line you have to take what motha nature gives you.   To be honest I don’t think I would have had as much of a good time on the treadmill watching “Magnum P.I.” reruns as getting frostbite while running in 22 degree snow.  Now I can drink beer tomorrow!