So many things to love about the day after Christmas, and none of them have anything to do with shopping! I love the fact that the insane feelings of stress are over. No more shopping, baking, malls, crowds, or guilt-ridden desserts to consume and then fret over. There’s a sense of relief in the air… “we made it”… and just like that, peace enters the house.
The OTHER thing that I love about the day after Christmas is that THIS year, the next day is a SATURDAY!! That means that we had a run planned and because I’m finally getting over my cold, I got to go run with my friends! I know I’m old because presents have so little to do with my happiness anymore. For me, the best part of Christmas is being with people I love, doing something I adore.
We met at the trailhead on 63rd, near the Boulder Reservoir. Kathy, Marcia and Beth were cozy in Kathy’s heated minivan, waiting for me to arrive. I joined them while I put on my YakTrax and we waited to see if any more brave souls would show for our 7 AM start time. By 7:10 we were ready to go, and Sarah had just pulled into the parking lot. The five of us gathered ourselves and decided to just do the 6 mile loop instead of the longer nine miler. The trail was snowy with a layer of ice underneath, and we were pretty sure that running 6 miles in the snow with YakTrax would be a darn good workout.
The wind was pelting snow as we started out, and the right side of my face became numb in a matter of minutes. My hands were icy in my SmartWool liners and I did a lot of finger-flexing as I tried to get blood into my extremities. I can tell that I’m getting older, because the fingers and toes are feeling the cold more than they did even a year ago. I’m buying new gloves this weekend with some of my Christmas money. Merry Christmas little fingers, I love you!
Thank God for Kathy; within minutes she steered us onto the fork in the trail. She was the only one who could see it in the fresh snow! Beth and I had totally overshot it. Left to my own devices, it’s a crapshoot where I would have ended up. Most likely it would have been a 10-miler or a 1-miler, because I either would have gone away from the Rez and done a hellacious loop on the Diagonal Highway, or I would have looped around the parking lot and ended up back at the car in 5 minutes. God only knows, because I couldn’t see where we were going.
After about 15 minutes either the wind died down or the temperature rose, because I wasn’t freezing cold anymore. I could tell that my feet were a little damp in my sneakers, but they weren’t COLD per se, so all was well. Sarah regaled us with tales of her Christmas cooking exploits of Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon recipe (it went really well!). I mentioned that Bill and I got brand-new Schwinn bikes for the kids this year, hid them in a neighbor’s garage for four days, and brought them into the house and parked them near the tree in the living room. The kids came downstairs and saw the bikes. The response? “Oh, thanks Mom”, as they headed to the presents to rip off wrapping paper. Sarah LAUGHED at this, because apparently her 5-year-old twins did the same thing. Maybe it’s a thing of getting a bike at Christmas when there’s 6 inches of snow on the ground. Kids can’t imagine riding them right away, so it’s a boring present. Is that it? I dunno. I think if I saw a shiny new bike sitting in the living room waiting for me I’d be jumping up and down, squealing and clapping my hands. I would LOVE to get a new bike for Christmas. And that, my friends, is the difference between me and kids. About 25 years.
At the entrance to the Reservoir we came across a group of runners, and a cheer went up from both camps. “Yay, women!” We kind of wondered where the guys were this morning. Are they all at home with the kids? Is it too cold out there for them? The other women warned us about the ice on the road; apparently one of them wiped out pretty bad. I noticed that none of them had YakTrax on, and hoped that our party was better prepared.
It seems that chains on your shoes make all the difference. We all did great, gripped the road just fine, and made it through without incident. Yay!
Heading back around the Rez Kathy steered us onto the correct fork after Sarah and I blithely took the one less traveled. (oops) We finished the 5.4 mile run in about an hour, giving us a pace of 11 minutes per mile. Nothing to write home about in terms of speed, but BOY did we work for it! I was plenty sweaty and odiferous climbing into my car as we caravanned to the coffee shop.
Thanks to my 4-wheel drive and YakTrax, I was safe on the snow and ice. The only excitement came when I was ready to head home from the coffee shop. The rubber of the windshield wiper on the driver’s side had totally broken off the wiper, rendering the thing completely useless. It took Kathy and me about 10 minutes of freezing our fingers on the cold metal to switch the wipers (we put the useful right wiper on the driver’s side) because the metal was frozen in place. Yikes! I made it home safely, Bill went out later to buy new wipers for the car, the snow stopped falling and the sun even peeked out for a few hours this afternoon.
I’m SOOOOO glad I got out today! I’ve been fighting a cold this past week and nursing sick family members as well, so this is the first group run I’ve managed in two weeks. We’re going to do another group run on New Year’s Eve (in the morning, not after we’ve been celebrating) and I’ll be sure to let you all know how it goes. What an awesome way to say goodbye to the year, hanging out with a bunch of awesome, strong, fascinating women on a trail somewhere. I can’t wait!