Monday, December 7, 2009

An Icy Run Cut Short

L Yesterday's run was officially horrible.

I tend to be warmer so underdress (and Sunny, rather sensibly, tends be colder so makes sure she is warmly dressed). I was so happy yesterday that she had a 'spare' fleece vest.

The 18 miler was going to be mentally challenging, but well within our fitness level, so I thought that a nice run up to Sunset park, then take the road route down to Golden Gardens, and out until the path turns into beach. Then back along the Burke Gilman, through the missing link til we hit Fred Myer (often our starting place) and then an out and back on the Burke Gilman proper.

The run down to Golden Gardens was great, and in my mind it felt like a pre-amble to the 'proper' run (even better mentally). Calculations/guestimates, started make it look like we would hit 8 miles as we got to our usual Start point. Meaning just a 5 mile out and a 5 mile back, Yay!!! No further than the University district!!! Superb!!! Mentally the run was no long going to be any challenge at all.

And then we hit the end of path/beginning of beach and turned around.

I hadn't noticed any wind so far, as we had been running with it. We turned around, and the wind off the sound was icy. Really icy. Saturday's run was cold and icy underfoot, but the bright sun had kept us warmed up, on Sunday there was no sun just a thick blanket of cloud.

Still, no worries we would just run through it, then after about a mile I had a sharp (skin level) pain in my chest. I wondered whether I had somehow cut myself, and how I could possibly have. We got to a walk break and I checked, there was no cut. A brief one minute walk with no pain, then started to run, and there was the pain again.

I noticed that it wasn't a cut, it was the sweat patch on the front of my jersey which was being pushed against my skin and was painfully biting cold. I felt the cold of my skin even through gloved hands. Still I figured I would warm up. (Mentally this run was getting harder again, as I started over analyzing what points of my body were the most cold).

I was wearing a single layer jersey and a double layer pair of shorts, my legs were starting to turn a bluey red. Hmmm... Not good. Having to hold my shirt away from my chest to avoid scalpel-like pain.. Not good. Pain where any moisture was on my face… Not good.

At that point I found myself shivering while running, again, not good..

not good + not good + not good + not good = mentally really bad.

And at that point I started wondering whether we should stop at Kavu where I could buy a shirt/vest to keep on running. That would be a waste of money; we could easily detour back up to the house adding two miles and thus shortening the out and back (as the run was basically a right angled triangle with the out and back at the right angle.)

We talked and at that point decided that it would be an even more sensible idea to run home and abandon the rest of the run. Our faces were feeling chapped and sucking in the cold air wasn't feeling good.

Sunny gave me her fleece vest, which was fantastic, and quickly stopped my shivering. At this point I was getting a bit too keen to get back to a warm house and into a warm shower. So I kept losing track of my pace and racing off. We decided that a steep hill would be the best way of being slightly sheltered from the wind and the uphill would help to get warm blood to our iciest bits…

The whole run home I was feeling guilty that I had robbed a layer from Sunny and her preparedness L. But super thankful for that extra layer (and she reassured me that her body heat wasn't too uncomfortable.)

We got home in good time. Stretched inside, stretching felt odd, as muscles weren't 'warmed-up' even after 9 miles of running.

Today I checked the hour by hour weather for yesterday. 34F (just 1 Celsius), then at the time of our run there was a peak in the wind speed (so maybe on our run down to the beach there really hadn't been any wind). The wind speed went from 5 mph to 17, (which I don't think we got the full brunt of). Either way that would have been static speed. We were moving at 6 mph into it. So let's put a realistic estimate of 15 mph windspeed while running.

The BBC wind chill table puts the actual temp (inc wind chill) as below freezing, between -2.5c and -4.8c (27.5F and 23.36F) (The table doesn't have a figure for 1c just 0c and 2c). And that's not accounting for the drop in temp from the wind coming straight off the water.

Brrrrrr… Not the sort of temp to be outside in a pair of shorts and a sweat dampened tech jersey.

I feel really bad about abandoning a run, but figure that at least we were sensible, and no-one got hypothermia...

Lesson learned – It's time to layer up and wear running tights (and maybe even a neck/face gater) for long runs. And shift short runs to the dreaded treadmill.

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