1 down… 1 more to go

I did it!  I completed the first of 2 18 mile runs this morning- in the *snow*, on *snow and ice-covered streets*, in some *strong wind*, and at the insane hour of *4am*!

I went to bed early last night and was fast asleep by 8:30.  I did get my cargo load at Biaggi’s, which, was actually disappointing.  The waiter was a jack arse, and I made the poor decision to go with the gluten-free pasta instead of the pizza.  The pasta was supposed to be brown rice but it looked green!?  I am not aware of any gluten-free pasta that is green in color… I ate it and hoped it was actually brown and the lighting made it look different.  Anyways, it did not satisfy and is another lesson learned- stick with what you know!  Which, in this case would have been the delicious gluten-free pizza.

The alarm went off at 3am and I took the liberty to hit snooze, just *once*.  I climbed out of bed at 3:10 and checked my phone for the weather… my phone said 33 degrees and light snow… I wondered how much snow was already on the ground… I also had several text messages from my running buddies I had lined up to meet for the second part of the run… one canceling and one confirming.  Phew!  At least I still had 1 person to help pull me through to the end.  With that change though, I decided to change my plan and run 10 miles near my house, then drive to Andrea C.’s house to finish up with a 8 mile loop with her.  That way I didn’t have to ask her for a ride home and I could stop at my favorite coffee place on the way home for a “reward.”

After that, I snuck upstairs to check outside.  It had actually stopped snowing, but the streets and definitely the sidewalks had not been plowed.  I was tempted to go back to bed and wait for the gym to open at 5 and suffer through 18 mile inside.  But, I thought better and decided to suck it up.  It was not cold out and I would just have to watch my step carefully.  I ate my pre-run breakfast of rice cakes and peanut butter, stretched out, put on my layers, and called my lazy dog out of from under the covers.  Yes- she was still sound asleep.  She knows that you’re not supposed to up at that hour!

4:00 on the dot, Bisou and I were out the door.  We made our way through the snowy driveway and into the street, which was *somewhat* plowed… and started out.  Immediately, Bisou revolted.  She was not having any of this running in the snow.  She would not run.  I literally dragged her down the first hill, with my arm stretched out behind me.  I decided then that this would not work for long- my arm already hurt from pulling her.  After a mile, I made a left instead of a right turn and headed back on a shorter loop to take Bisou back home.  I think she noticed this change and got a little excited, she actually ran with me for about a mile, until we turned back into our neighborhood and it’s poorly plowed streets when she revolted again.  This is also where I plopped my foot into a deep puddle… and it was not the last.  I dragged her up the hill and let her back in the house.  Off I went… for a 2nd time!

I started down the hill to complete the loop I had originally set out on.  The good thing about running at 4am, no one else was out!  With the sidewalks not cleared, I took full advantage of this and ran down the middle of the street.  I forgot when I chose this route that a large part of the beginning is uphill- ugh!  2 miles going up and I felt it.  To distract myself, I decided to look around and was amazed by how pretty the snow actually was!  It was hanging on all the tree branches, by then it had started to lightly snow again and it was glittering in the street lights.  It was so peaceful and serene.  Just me… and the snowplows.  One past me and the smell of diesel overcame my senses.  Oddly enough, it brought me back to when I was little and we used to spend our weekends riding along on snowmobiles in Wisconsin.  I remembered how much I *loved* being outside in the snow then… it was then I made the decision that I was going to enjoy this run!  If I loved the snow so much then, how could I hate it so much now?  This was going to be an adventure and this was going to be fun!

About mile 5, I hit wind gusts that were so strong I swear they could’ve blown me over if I would let it… another part of the adventure…

Mile 6, I hit my first patches of ice… and then plopped right into another slushy puddle.  Dang!  This mile I was headed directly into the wind…

Mile 8, I started to get excited.  I was feeling great!  I had 2 more miles to go and I would be done with round 1 and on my way to meet Andrea.  I kept telling myself “I’ve got this!”

Mile 10, I was home, I had timed out the route perfectly and hit mile 10 right when I ran up to my driveway.  I quickly ran into the house, pressed my car starter to get the car warmed up and hopefully melt some of the snow off it… I refueled, grabbed thicker mittens, and back out the door I went.  I cleared the car off as fast as I could and headed out.

Andrea was waited for me when I pulled up, so I climbed out of the car and we started out.  Beginning of round 2.  Now, I was cold.  I had left the thicker mittens in the car and was regretting that decision.  By mile 11, I couldn’t feel my fingers.  They were like ice blocks.  And the wind felt like it was much worse in this neighborhood- how could that be?  Luckily, conversation helped to keep me distracted.  However, the roads weren’t plowed as good as the ones I had been running on and we needed to concentrate harder on where we were starting.  The first uphill was glare ice and comically, it felt like I was running in place, not gaining any traction.  We found a rough patch in the middle of the road and trucked up the hill.  We wound through neighborhoods until we got to my favorite one in DSM- Beaverdale.  With its cute Bungalow homes, the “downtown square” area… ahhhh… I can dream… one day, I’ll live there 🙂

My garmin dinged at me- mile 13.  I asked Andrea, 5 more miles, I’ve this, right?  I was starting to get tired and questioning myself… she said absolutely!  Then she started reminiscing about how it feels to train for your first marathon, how empowering it feels every weekend to get out and conquer a new mileage, a new goal.  This hit home with me and I thought, this run is empowering too!  I *never* would have thought that in a million years, I would be out running through the snow.  Thanks Andrea for the inspiration to keep me going this morning

The rest of the run was easy peasy for me after that.  Sure, my legs were tired and I could tell I was slowing down.  But my head was in this and I knew I’d get to the end.

We reached her house and waved goodbye- knowing we’ll be seeing each other bright and early tomorrow morning for the planned 18 mile run at 5am.

Then, I got in my car and made my reward stop- Caribou Coffee… such bliss to warm me up 🙂

I was absolutely freezing and shivering by the time I made it back home.  And getting out of the car was a challenge as my legs tightened up… thankfully a hot shower and the hot coffee cured that… along with some stretching 🙂

I’ve been sitting on ice packs throughout the day to relieve some aches in my hammies… and right now, I’m starting to feel a little sick from getting up so early… but it was all worth it.  It proved to me that I am tougher than I thought I was.

And tomorrow, we’ll do this all over again 🙂


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