That’s how cold it was today during my run. I know. It was brutal.
Come on, Mother Nature, what’s the deal here? It’s only early January and I live near the beach so I’m thinking it should be tropical all the time.
Yes, I know the thermometer is hitting southward of the 0 degree Fahrenheit mark and there is a significant amount of that white stuff on the ground up at home in Northern Jersey. I also know that Winter Storm Ion (not really an intimidating name, eh?) is about to unleash some chilly wrath upon the Rockies and the Midwest.
But guys, I had to wear pants. Outside. While running.
Ha! Now assuming I haven’t offended everyone reading this, let’s talk about what today’s run was actually like, shall we?
First thing first, it honestly was a bit chilly. Remember we’re talking South Carolina chilly, though. The fact of the matter is that it was in the mid-30s (not all that horrible for early January when you grew up becoming acclimated to Jersey winters), but the wind is what was truly intense!
That wind was whipping around with gusts over 20mph and throwing sand every which way. Considering that the ol’ wind is usually a bit more significant along the coast line, one might ask why I would have chosen the beach as the backdrop for today’s run in the first place. I would reply by affirming that your question is indeed a valid one, and then point out that I have never made any claim as to being smart when it comes to my running (or to any other arena of my life for that matter). I would, however, further appeal that at least I was not attempting to fly a kite on the beach today. Seriously, everyone seemingly dusted off their old rickety kites today and attempted to have them take to the sky. Most ended the morning with new-found knowledge that a little bit of steady wind is good for kite flying, but a lot of swirly and strong wind is not.
For me, today was supposed to be a 4 mile pace run, though I decided to turn it into a 5 miler as I’ve been semi-slacking as of late. With the aforementioned frigid temps and kite dodging already setting up as obstacles for the day, the outlook was less than ideal. Throw in the fact that it was “leg day” yesterday at the gym and my lower limbs were certainly feeling it this morning and you’ve got yourself a possible disaster on your hands.
With that in mind, I set off on my run, trying to keep my tight quads and achy hamstrings off my mind and instead quietly singing along (in my head) with Brian Fallon (who wasn’t running with me but who was singing his heart out in my ear buds). For the first 2.5 miles, I felt great. After I wove my way through the kite death chamber and the beach gloriously opened up before me, my pace quickened, my breathing evened out, and I felt as though I was gliding oh so lightly just above the sand. I passed a couple strolling the beach right before the turnaround point, and I’m pretty sure they looked at me with admiration and a bit of awe as one asked the other if they thought I was an Olympian. I hit 2.5 miles on my Garmin and made an about-face to dominate the second half of my run.
Well, the thing about wind is that it doesn’t change direction when you do. Thus, when running in windy conditions, you have a friendly wind at your back going in one direction and an evil wind in your face when running in the opposite direction. Guess which way the wind was blowing on the first leg of my run. You got it! It was at my back and essentially pushing me down the beach for the first half of my jaunt on the beach. I’m not sure if I was more runner or kite for that first half of the run…
In any case, the once friendly wind had an abrupt mood change and slapped me in the face as soon as I made my U-turn. Immediately it felt as though I was running through some sort of quick sand and my once even breathing was now jagged and forced. That couple that had been planning on snagging my autograph on my return trip? Oh, they were now conferring with one another as to whether they should call for an ambulance.
Still, once I got my breathing down and perfected an optimal squint of my eyes that allowed me to see just enough while minimizing sand trauma and wind annoyance, I opted to treat the second half of the run as an exercise in “resistance training”. I forgot about my pace and the fact that the wind was preventing me from running in a straight line, and I just ran.
And you know what? I made it back to my car and felt pretty darn good when all was said and done.
I can take the wind, but I’ve only got so many pairs of running pants so let’s calm down on the dipping temps, huh? I’d hate to think about needing to break out my running tights…