When I signed up to run my first 8k, I skimmed through memories of the last few Decembers to gauge how cold and miserable it might be. This was not a scientific process. But since the last three Decembers had been warmish and nearly snow-free, December 15 seemed like a safe bet.
Maybe that ill-informed confidence is what triggered the coldest “winter start” in the last 40 years. We had below zero temps and above average inches of snow on the ground and all I could think was, “SHIT. I MADE A MISTAKE.”
I don’t run more than once a week (if that), so I don’t have a system down for dealing with inclement weather. But dropping out seemed like the weanie thing to do, and here at Athletish we’re many things but Weanus Athletus we are not.
Day of the race the temps were an intimidating 16 degrees, but luck was on our side. One of my running buddies is a member of the Lincoln Park Boat Club, conveniently located 3 minutes from the starting line. Foam rollers, Concept 2 ergs, and heat = proper warm up!
People! Snow! More people! An earlier snow storm meant the path was tinier than usual and people were less sure of themselves in conditions that went from snow, dirt, ice and slush. The only way to deal with the traffic was to weave on and off the path, running in the snow off to the sides. Interesting added obstacle, but it taxed my stabilizer muscles and contributed to a slower split than I was aiming for.
I’d hoped for a 10:00 mile, but clocked in at 10:46. At that point I really didn’t give a shit. I was cold, my feet were frozen and wet, and I wanted to eat all of the brunch.
8k was a fun distance. Just long enough to be hard, but not so long that I didn’t immediately want more. 10k, you’re next!