December 26 was on my calendar for at least a month. Nico and AJ from DailyMile were organizing an epic trail run that would span Bear Peak and Green Mountain. We were looking at a 19.5 mile loop and about 4500 feet of elevation gain. I was geeky excited to get in on the action.
And then the snow came. And the cold.
On Friday December 23 I ran with a few friends at the Boulder Res in 2 degree temps. My top half was warm, my bottom half went numb from the cold. The next day I ran at the Res again, this time with my Saturday Morning gang. Wary about being cold, I checked the temp in two places before getting dressed. Unfortunately I was fooled again by the extreme fluctuation between Louisville and the Boulder Reservoir, and I ran in 6-degree cold even more under-dressed than I was the previous day.
All this is to say that by Saturday night my body was feeling the effects of the cold. My core still had not regulated back to normal, my legs were heavy with the lactic acid that had built up and not moved out, and I was tired. Bone tired. The tired that comes when your body finally stops working to keep you warm, and relaxes.
On Christmas morning I could barely move. I slept wrong and there was a pinch in my back somewhere. I felt like I had gotten two hours of sleep even though I slept soundly for six. My brain was foggy.
That afternoon I crashed for three hours. I said goodbye to the light of day at 2pm and woke to complete darkness at 5:00. Still hoping to run on Monday, I ate an egg sandwich and drove over to pick up my sister; we wanted to see the 6:45pm showing of Sherlock Holmes. Unfortunately it was sold out, so we waited an hour to catch it again. We walked around the outside mall for 10 minutes, looking to see if any place was open where we could get a drink while we waited. As we walked the cold hit my legs and I was instantly shivering. Everything was closed, so we went back to the theater where I treated my sister to a $3 cup of coffee at the over-priced concession stand. I sat with my down coat over my legs, trying to warm them up.
I enjoyed the movie and even laughed out loud in one place. I drove my sister home and headed back to my own warm bed, where I set my alarm for 6:30. We had a start time of 8am on Monday.
The alarm went off at 6:30 and I hit the snooze button. I groaned. This wasn’t really happening. I didn’t even have to get up to know that I didn’t have an epic run in me. Not today.
And yet, I had to try. Maybe I would go and just do one loop. Maybe I had 10 miles in me. Maybe it would be really great to see my friends and get on the mountain and move my body.
But first I had to go to the store. I was out of milk so couldn’t have my cereal. No bananas, my favorite pre-run food. My stash of LaraBars and ClifChews was gone, which meant no nutrition for the run.
I quickly dressed and headed to the store, luxuriating in the fact that I was the only shopper there. What a fabulous change from the break-neck consumerism of the past few weeks. I found my items and was home by 7:28.
The moment of truth had arrived. Was I ready to pull this off? The answer was a resounding NO. I didn’t have a trail run in me today. I didn’t have the energy. I was hungry and dehydrated, my legs were heavy, and even the brief walk from the car to the store chilled my legs. Running up a mountain was not in the cards for me. Not today.
I logged onto DailyMile and sent Nico a note, hoping he would see it before he left his house at 7:55 to meet the gang at the trailhead. It was my only way of getting in touch with him, as I didn’t have his or AJ’s phone number to call or text them.
I decided to make a little lemonade out of my situation and called a friend. He had just put a pot of coffee on so I headed over to partake in the hot beverage. We each drank three huge mugs of coffee and eventually ate some breakfast to sop up the acid in our stomachs.
Upon returning home I decided to vacuum my bedroom. One thing led to another, and I ended up rearranging the furniture and deep-cleaning the room, getting into all the corners, moving pictures and emptying out some clutter.
At 12:30, as my lunch was cooking on the stove, I checked DailyMile to see what people were up to. As luck would have it AJ had just posted about the run. His stats said he ran 11 miles in 3:45. Three hours and forty five miles to run 11 miles. I blinked in surprise and read the post. 30 mph winds in some places. Waist-high snow between miles 5-8. Post-holing in places. Trudging. Didn’t have enough nutrition. Wasn’t expecting the level of difficulty.
And then I was glad that I listened to my gut instinct. If it was that hard for three big guys that have more muscle mass than me, it would have been brutal for this tired runner girl. Instead of running trail on a mountain that would surely have beat me down, I had coffee with a friend and puttered around my bedroom, rearranging and cleaning in the warmth of my house.
This concludes my run report for the Christmas weekend. Here’s hoping for some more rest and recovery. I didn’t run (yet) today, and might just give it another day or two. I might just wait until I’m itching to go.