Yesterday my gym held a private event so I couldn’t workout there. I had to run outside. I was a bit nervous because the last time I ran outside was on December 25th when I sprained my ankle. Interestingly for the December 25th run, MLH and I planned to run eight miles. Yesterday’s plan called for an eight mile run as well.
Washington, D.C. has been experiencing actual winter weather over the past few days. And yesterday felt like a true winter with a low during the day of something like 24 degrees and a high of 34 (excluding the wind chill factor). And it was quite windy. I decided to run around 2 pm which is not my ideal time to workout. I prefer to train in the morning but I wasn’t about to spend 75 minutes or so in 24 degree weather. From 2-4 pm the temperature was as warm as it would get. MLH planned to run as well but he had to run 12 miles yesterday. So we started out together and then I turned around at mile four.
During the first half of my run, I was a little cautious. I constantly looked behind me for cyclists and other runners who may pass me. The volume on my iPod was just loud enough for me to recognize the song. I didn’t want to miss any sounds or warnings. And I didn’t run as fast as I should have because I picked a pace that would ensure stability with each step. Also, since running outside is different from running in a climate controlled room on a steady treadmill, I wasn’t sure how difficult this run would be. So I didn’t really push myself for a bit.
After my initial warm up I was still a little cold, especially where I wasn’t able to fully cover up such as parts of my neck and slivers of my ankles, (the gap between my running pants and socks). Also, although I wore gloves, my fingers never felt truly warm. At one point for a couple of minutes I thought about the differences among body temperature, climate controlled rooms and outdoor temperature. I thought about Noah and all of the temperature variables with which he dealt. During surgery and other procedures his body temperature was lowered. During the first few days of his life the nurses kept him warm with a heating device which was positioned above him. Most of the time he wore a hat to keep his head warm. These unexpected thoughts were a pleasant surprise. I’m still amazed at and grateful for how much Noah has and continues to impact my life.
At my halfway point I turned around while MLH continued for another two miles before his turn-around. At this point I felt really good. By the end of the first four miles, I became less concerned about having another accident and more interested in pushing myself. I felt very strong both on the cardio front and physically. I began picking up my pace and focusing on widening my gait. During the last 1.5 miles my left leg started to tighten a little. Once again I pushed through the discomfort. (I did spend a good deal of time stretching, using the foam roller and stick and icing both legs last night.) I completed my run and felt great afterwards. There’s something satisfying about training outside during the winter. You push yourself and feel as though the sweat and warmth from your body are signaling to the cold that you can take the brutal weather and then some.