So basically, I had my first ever "double" planned for this past weekend. My only double planned for my current training. I am now very glad for that. Honestly, my body hates me; it's not really made for recurrent torture. Then again, it wasn't all that bad...but still.
Let's see, I needed to drive into the city on Saturday to return my cable box and internet modem to the cable company, so I decided I'd hit the lakefront path for my long run. I parked along Montrose, outside my old condo (which I miss so much now), and ran what has become my "routine" 12-mile route: down the path to Navy Pier, refill water bottle, use the facilities, stretch, eat 3 Shot Bloks, and then turn around and head back north. It wasn't horrid, as I've run in far less ideal conditions, but my goodness my body did not want to deal with the cold this day! On Friday, the City blocked off the path from Grand (pretty much Navy Pier) up to North Ave. because of high waves crashing on the path, which then froze over to a nice sheet of solid ice the entire stretch. When I got the e-mail about it, I thought it was fake for some reason, so I didn't change my plan...until I got to North Avenue and a Park District fella yelled at me to stop and use Inner Drive the rest of the way. Ugh, fiiiiiiiiiiine. Inner Drive (of Lake Shore Drive) is one ginormous wind tunnel, just in case you've never had the pleasure of running down it. It blows...ha! literally. So I rerouted and ended up tacking on an extra 3/10 of a mile, no biggie, but the wind, oh my God! It was unreal! Navy Pier was a beacon of hope and life; I think it had a halo over it on this day. I was that happy to reach it.
After a quick 2-minute stop at the Pier, I headed back. As soon as I stopped I began sweating, which is no fun at all in this weather. I knew I was kind of in for it now. Heading back north, the wind is unrelenting, much worse than heading south for some reason. My hands began to go numb around mile 8 or 9 and I kept switching my bottle between hands so that I could wiggle my fingers and get some blood flowing into them. It got to be incredibly uncomfortable and I really regretted not opting for the second pair of gloves. Once back on the path, I had the sun on my left side which felt amazing, but still not enough to thaw anything out. Other than my hands and face, everything felt pretty good and I was still chugging along. I had only planned on doing 10, but since I really needed the warming station that is Navy Pier I opted for 12. When I got back to my car, I was so cold and my hands so frozen that I couldn't even turn the key in the lock of my trunk to get my bag out. I had to use the lever up front to pop it. I had to look at my hands to make them move, no joke! I changed into dry clothes and had the heat blasting on me for an hour on the drive home and I was still shivering and my fingers were painful. Obviously, not good stuff. But when I got home I was fine. So fine, I went and ate two racks of ribs with my mom and Richard! Yum!!
Lesson learned: wear two pair of gloves when the temp drops below 20 degrees.
Round two: Sunday I met Gary from my running group at Waterfall Glen to do what we had planned on being 14-16 miles, but towards the end of the first loop, we amended that to 10 :) Here's why. It was flipping cold!!
The trail is great: crushed gravel, rolling, more or less deserted at this time of year, and wide open sky. Beautiful. However, it was flipping cold! I was a tad off from my run the day before, but Gary was fresh. We took off and immediately encountered the first of many stretches that were pure solid ice. Hmmm, I should have heeded my own intuition and stuck to the grass on the sides. But I made it through the first few icy patches just fine. Then around mile 4-ish, I was chugging along when suddenly I lost it, BAM! I was down for the count! I fell square on my right knee, then slipped backwards onto my left elbow and was laid out completely. My head banged the ice too, and actually bounced, which really freaked Gary out. I sat up and instantly felt like I just got my ass kicked. Everything hurt. But I was laughing because I know it looked hilarious! I scooted over to the grass so I could get my footing and stand back up. Then we were off again. I knew there was going to be a melon-sized bruise on my knee for sure. I said to let me know if I start slurring or not making any sense (more than usual!) because that could mean some serious stuff. Luckily, all was well.
At about the halfway point we encountered a sign that said something about flooding up ahead, but naturally ignored it. Well, the trail was flooded up ahead. Ha! We approached it slowly and immediately shot up the banks to the railroad tracks alongside the flooded section and ran on the ties until we cleared the area...it was so Stand By Me! I was beginning to feel the effects of my nasty spill and everything was pretty achy, so when we got to just about mile 8 it didn't shock me that I bit it again. This time, I had halted completely and was gingerly negotiating an icy spot to get to the grass and I just went straight down, this time on my right side, but at least I avoided hitting my head again. I sat there, this time not laughing, and huffed and puffed quite a bit. Gary was checking for blood. I smacked the ground like a two-year old and shouted inappropriately. I was pissed! It hurt so much, and now I banged up both knees. Once I finally got up, it was slow going from there. We decided to cut it at 10 miles and call it a day. I probably could have made it another 4-6, but I knew it wouldn't have been a good idea.
My first non-race 22-mile weekend ever! Afterwards, I stopped off in Naperville to check out the prized Naperville Running Company. They always win awards for stuff, so I wanted to see what all the hype was, and I needed to fill up on more Gu, Nuun and Shot Bloks. Really nice people, great selection, but it didn't feel all that different from a Fleet Feet. They had all the stuff I wanted, but none of the flavors, ugh. That meant I needed to be 'open-minded' and try new flavors. Ah well.
Back home, I wrapped four ice packs around my shins and knees, popped some Advil, and continued unpacking. Today, I feel alright, but know that I should take the next couple of days off. My shins feel odd, much in the way they do after a long race. I know I probably won't do another double again for awhile, but I'm glad I tried it out. Even if it was relatively low mileage for a double, it still got the job done. And I built some serious character. Gotta toughen up for the really hard stuff! After weather like this weekend, I may be breaking out the shorts once we hit the 30's!
Lesson(s) learned: Don't run on thick sheets of ice. Two pair of gloves makes all the difference. Monster Trail Mix from Target saves lives. The toliet seats of outhouses, even in sub-20 degree weather, are surprisingly warm. My shins hate doubles.
Recovery the next couple of days/short taper for LBL 60k. Even though I'm a low-mileage-training runner, I still enjoy a good taper :) I might try for a good 12-miler on a trail down in Bloomington this coming weekend, before celebrating my sister's birthday.
“There are times in our lives when we are drawn uncontrollably to
some dangerous source of misery.”
~Suzi Thibeault, in a letter to David Horton during his conquest of the AT