Thursday, January 29, 2015

Running and Weather

I woke up this morning at 5:30 when the cat settled onto my shoulder, his black, fuzzy face just inches from mine.
I reached for my phone and pressed the weather app. 27 degrees (-3Celcius)! That's practically a heat wave considering that I ran on Tuesday morning and it was 7 degrees (-14Celcius).
The app warned that snow or freezing rain were forecast for 7 a.m.
By the time I got out of bed, dressed and was dancing in the kitchen to Pitbull's "Time of Our Lives" before I headed out the door, it was 6:30.
As I headed down the walk, I felt a few thick drops hit my face and my lashes. Snow or rain was starting, but the roads were clear, so I joyfully ran about a mile and a half before the snowy mix increased. Soon, my hair was dripping and my fleece jacket hung heavy on my shoulders, but still, I was sweating from the run.
I stopped inside a bus shelter and pulled my fleece off, tying it around my waist.
I headed back toward home, feeling the icy material sticking to my thighs.
The black asphalt was shiny in places and I wondered whether I might slip. But each step felt fairly secure.
Then about half a mile from home, I felt a foot slide before the other one found a secure anchor. I stopped running and slid my feet along the street. Yep, solid ice.
I headed for the sidewalk, figuring I'd walk the rest of the way home. But the sidewalks were even more slippery, and as soon as I started walking, I felt the wetness of my clothes on my skin, the temperature still hovering around 27. Without the body heat from running, I felt sure I would soon succumb to hypothermia.
This was one of the first times that I felt like I had truly put myself in danger: soaking wet, 27-degree temperatures with icy roads.
There was nothing to it but to continue running in the hopes of keeping my body temperature up and getting home sooner.
So I headed back to the road. I changed my running stride. Rather than a lope, I was nearly running in place, bouncing up on each step then landing just inches in front of where I'd left. I was afraid to stretch out, picturing me ending up in a split if my front foot slid.
As cars passed close by, I tried to remind myself that if I fell I should roll toward my shoulder, rather than landing on my nose, like I did in September 2013. I figured, if I hit my head, I could just try to roll to the side of the road then the school kids would be on their way soon and they'd find me before I froze to death. (Yes, strange thoughts go through my head when I'm running alone in the dark freezing rain.)
Finally, I made it home. As I had run, I had come up with a plan. I knew that I couldn't hop into a hot shower with my skin so cold. I've experienced that burning and itching before. But I couldn't stay in my wet clothes. Luckily, I don't work until the evening today, so when I got home, I stripped off all my clothes, hung them on the clothes hamper and climbed into bed under the covers.
I stayed there for at least half an hour, until the skin on my stomach and thighs didn't feel cold to the touch any more.
By the time I finished a hot shower and got dressed, I was nearly human again. Earl texted me from his walk to the bus, "It's dangerous."
I tried to tell him.
I love running, but I know I need to be more aware of my surroundings and the weather before I take off in the mornings to enjoy an unfettered run.

3 comments:

Linda said...

Well, gosh, be careful out there! Glad you made it home safely.

Just Me said...

Harrowing ... Winter running can turn from good to bad and vice versa in no time. Glad it all turned out okay.

grammajudyb said...

Wow, so glad you did not fall. I don't run at all, never have and always admire and cheer for those that do, but BE CAREFUL OUT THERE!. At my age if I fall, I'm gonna break something. "shiver"

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