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This is not a fitness blog, but I just ran 13 miles in the snow [Feb. 16th, 2014|03:07 pm]
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One of the difficult things about writing about running stuff you've done is not sounding like that dork who's always writing about the running stuff he's done.

My uncle Larry taught me a card trick once and said "Learn to appreciate it, because no one else will" and while I still pull out that card trick every once in a while and people actually seem to appreciate it, I've taken uncle Larry's advice to heart.

A year ago I came out to Chicago and watched Peter Sagal run the F^3 half marathon (ostensibly I was there to take his photo, hang out with some friends and run three miles with Peter, which was all I could run at the time (and I didn't make that, I'd pulled a calf muscle)) and this year I thought "heck, I've run 15 or 20 half marathons, I should run that crazy one in Chicago with Peter". So we registered, I got on an airplane and went to Chicago to run 13 miles along the lake in 15 degree weather with 20 mile an hour winds. Which isn't nearly as crazy as it sounds.

I got in on Friday while Peter was off at some festival of geeks. I walked his dogs, found out that I had a race number that pleased my OCD to no end and went to bed early and some time in the early hours of Saturday I was awoken by Peter shouting "dog bomb!" and lobbing the same two very enthusiastic dogs onto my bed.

We drove out to the race and I vascilated on what to wear down to the very last minute. I was mostly worried about overheating, because that's what usually happens, even when it's 15 degrees, but the 20 MPH winds concerned me. I eventually went with a shirt, a windproof over layer and a hoodie over top of that. I added gloves and a scarf thingie that goes over your nose and mouth. The down side of this is that while you're waiting for the race to start it's INCREDIBLY FREAKING COLD.

We're ready to crush it. Plus nobody told me I'd given myself a proto-beehive hairdoo.

It was ... really, really, really, really cold.

Once the race started I warmed up. I took the hoodie off around mile four when it got downright hot and the gloves came off around mile 3. The scarf thing worked pretty well, though it was too tight. It kept my face from freezing. About ten minutes after I pulled it down off of my face it had frozen solid, but when I needed it later it thawed out very quickly when I put it back over my mouth.

I warmed up and got to enjoy the view along the lakefront. It was a lovely place to run.
Clickenzee to Embiggen!

Peter passes me on the way back around mile 5 1/2. Clickenzee to Embiggen!

There was slush all over the course which meant it was sort of like running in a dream where you're not getting any traction and every step forward takes you about 3/4th of the distance you're expecting, but once I realized I wasn't going to set any personal records I decided to just treat it like a Saturday run and I came in at 2:09:22 Peter came in at 1:43:47 which meant he got to spend half an hour freezing to death waiting for me to cross the finish line. That's friendship.

I've always been impressed at how fast Peter is (his marathon time is like 3:09, which is an hour faster than Paul Ryan) but then looking at the photos of him running, I realized that one reason he's so fast is because he's working hard -- he's not strolling along, he's pushing. He's not the dude smiling and waving at the camera, he's the guy gutting it out for the best time. This was a bit of a sad revelation to me, that in order to get faster it has to hurt more. I'd been hoping it would just come by magic. Though, to be fair, my times have been coming down, albeit slowly. I started out running 12 minute miles, then 11 minute miles, now ten minute miles, and last week I was able to run ten miles at an 8:45 pace, but I thought I was going to puke for the last half mile or so. I'd like to be able to run 8 minute miles and have it not be a huge deal. Everybody tells me this means I need to do ... speedwork ... which I did once with the West Philly Runners and it was so unpleasant I didn't go back. But now I think I have to. Gah.

Clickenzee to Embiggen the agony of victory

Official photo of me finishing in 2:09:22, which I'm happy with, given the conditions. It's 13 minutes slower than my best half marathon time, but my only race goal here was not to slip and fall.

At the end I got a MEDAL and silveringridd & Molly Robison were there to watch me do my victory dance. Then there was a Top Sekrit photo shoot for Joan Dark's upcoming book #GeekKnits and then the real adventure began....

Clickenzee to Embiggen!

The F^3 was, I think, the fourth "official" half marathon I've run (I've run somewhere around twenty unofficial ones) and it was the best organized and most fun. It's kind of the polar opposite of the Rock & Roll half marathon. (My recap of the 2013 Philadelphia Rock & Roll Half Marathon.) At R&R everything's highly produced, everything costs money & I think it's billed as something of a funrun.

The F^3 was small, and the weather is so miserable I think that mostly the only people who come out are people who run a lot and though all the amenities were there, there was a "We're DIY and we're pros" kind of atmosphere to the whole thing too.

NEXT: Off to some crazy adventure!

Clickenzee to Embiggen the de-icing!

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[User Picture]From: solstice_lilac
2014-02-16 08:25 pm (UTC)


Cngratulations! You are getting a nice collection of medals! This particular race should have an extra one for not slipping and falling. Jeez. I walked a quarter-mile in snow/ice/slush just to the train stop and it was treacherous.. and not nearly as cold!

I am relating to your realization about the relationship between getting faster and pain. I just figured out last week how to swim faster, and I'm going to need to do it, but it's going to hurt. Only at first though..
[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2014-02-16 09:21 pm (UTC)


A few weeks back someone from the West Philly Runners told me "it never hurts less, you just get faster" -- which isn't exactly true, but close enough. you keep pushing to that limit and the limit expands but the effort doesn't.

I'm also always amazed at the dudes who run past me full tilt on ice & snow. No idea.
[User Picture]From: lawbabeak
2014-02-16 08:58 pm (UTC)


Yay buff! They're awesome. Generally, by the time I'm warm enough to not need it on my face, I'm warm enough to need my hair off my neck and it makes a nice headband.

Did you and Peter perchance high-five when you passed one another?

I failed at my New Year's Resolution, and didn't start the one I had thought to maybe do in February. But I do intent to sit down with my trainer, discuss all the crazy things that may be happening to me in the next year, and come up with A Plan.
[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2014-02-16 09:22 pm (UTC)


We did Hi-5!

As for resolutions, you can start one any day. Make it your Monday resolution.
[User Picture]From: framlingem
2014-02-16 09:29 pm (UTC)


"This is not a fitness blog, but I just ran 13 miles in the snow" Uphill, both ways, one hopes? (Sorry, I couldn't resist). Well done!
[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2014-02-16 09:30 pm (UTC)


It was flat as a pancake BUT IT WAS IN THE SNOW!!!
[User Picture]From: lois2037
2014-02-16 11:32 pm (UTC)


Winter is the time that sensible people, as opposed to driven, obsessive runners, go indoors for exercise. We let folks like you enjoy all that snow and slush and cold, and cheerfully give you our entire share of it. Congratulations on the shiny new medal, though. You must have a huge collection by now! Me, I'm looking forward to spring and summer when it's warm enough for big babies, such as myself, to go for long, interesting walks about the town.

Edited at 2014-02-16 11:33 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2014-02-17 12:19 am (UTC)


the hardcore runner peeps know that running in 15 degree weather is MUCH BETTER than running in 80 degree weather. it's a secret that we keep in order to have the trails to ourselves for three months though.
[User Picture]From: lois2037
2014-02-17 02:37 am (UTC)


From your description of layering and warming up as you go, I can well believe that. But you can still have my share!
[User Picture]From: ms_violet
2014-02-17 12:05 am (UTC)


I'm glad you survived. Dog bombings can be very serious.

Maybe he was busting his ass so hard because a) he has to stay an hour faster than Paul Ryan, who has greater reason to feel personally inadequate than Peter Sagal, b) his runner number was not as palindrometastic as yours.

In all seriousness: please run because you enjoy it. don't work too hard to make your time better, no matter how much you might enjoy bragging about your Sports Related Injuries.
[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2014-02-17 12:18 am (UTC)


eeek, i don't enjoy it, i enjoy having done it when it's over, but it's not so much fun while you're doing it. going faster means the hurt lasts less time :)
[User Picture]From: ms_violet
2014-02-17 02:41 am (UTC)


Good point.
[User Picture]From: howlokitty
2014-02-17 05:14 am (UTC)


I knew I was getting somewhere the other day when I was jogging because I was tired and didn't want to get out there at all and still did 28 minutes of solid jogging. I haven't been jogging as much because I keep getting horrible itchy rashes from the cold weather (a problem I had when I lived in Minnesota but chalked up to bad water, but now I've noticed the actual trend) and have no idea, as a mostly Southerner, in how to take care of my skin and stay warm while exercising without overdoing it. But, I've also noticed that, as I keep jogging for longer than 20 minutes at a time, that my time is getting better, and I'm traveling farther.
[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2014-02-17 02:03 pm (UTC)


You have arrived at that wonderful and inspirational place which is "no longer beginning".

some cold weather people put vaseline on their exposed skin, but there's probably other stuff that smells not as bad.
[User Picture]From: howlokitty
2014-02-18 05:58 am (UTC)


I'm not sure how my body would react to Vaseline. I'm kind of allergic to a lot of things that other people are not allergic to. During one bad case at a Halloween event where I was getting paid to scare people, I took off a latex monster hand and found out that my skin was peeling off in the places where my skin was touching sweaty latex. That's how I found out I was allergic to latex! Added scare!
[User Picture]From: elsewhereangel
2014-02-17 05:43 pm (UTC)



I've always wondered - where do the outer layers & gloves go when runners run & de-layer? Do you drop them & go back later? Was there a sea of clothing around mile four? If you have to go back do you drive or does that defeat the point?
[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2014-02-17 08:16 pm (UTC)


some people bring disposable stuff and toss it when they start. i want to design jacket gromets that will let you lock your jacket to a convenient tree & come back for it later, since i don't have much disposable clothing. but most big races in the winter are littered with clothes along the first quarter mile which are rounded up and taken right back to the thrift stores they just came from. some people make ponchos out of trash bags. some people just gut it out.
[User Picture]From: elsewhereangel
2014-02-17 09:50 pm (UTC)


Thank you! I've always been curious!