A Cold One

New Year's Eve and I was heading out for a cold one. Not the barley variety but the brrrr variety. While the rest of the country has had bizarre weather and blizzards,we've been spoiled with unseasonably warm weather in Colorado as witnessed by the potted plant in my courtyard that was still green until this week's storm. December came in like a lamb and out like a lion with a snowstorm that brought subzero temperatures to the Mile High city. My training schedule called for a fourteen mile long run on Saturday. Knowing I wanted to ring in the new year and wouldn't want to run early on Saturday, I changed the schedule to head out on Friday afternoon.

I'd picked one of my favorite areas to run; Cherry Creek State Park with temps expected in the single digits. Cherry Creek State Park boasts miles and miles of dirt/gravel paths and private roads with a reservoir and nature backdrop within the city limits.

What to wear was the question. Humility is out the door and there are no style point rewards for how you look--it's all about warmth and comfort. There are some lessons you learn in training and races, and equipment is one area you learn over time. I can skip BodyGlide for runs less than ten miles. Skins are good for compression, but they aren't good for warmth. Given that, the line-up for a Colorado single digit 14 mile run was;

Thick Hat that covers the ears.
Sunglasses (for wind, sun, and snow glare.) I should have opted for the lighter lenses with my Oakleys.
Triple legs. Nike briefs, Nike longjohns, and Skins compression tights.
Heavier Saucony gloves. I have two pair...the lighter Nikes and the heavier ones. This was a heavy glove run.
Triple torso. Long sleeve Nike Dri-Fit running shirt, Nike fleece top for warmth, and my San Diego Rock & Roll Marathon Running Jacket for wind.
Heavy SmartWool Socks with my Asic 2150's. Some people do some crazy things with their feet when the temp drops; including duct tape and Saran wrap.
BodyGlide. I prep'ed at my local 24 Hour Fitness and got some bizarre looks as I applied the BodyGlide stick to my inner thighs and nipples. The fact is cold weather makes the nipples hard. Fourteen miles of rubbing any material against the nips and you'd better do something.
YakTraks. I left these in the car. The park only had about four inches of snow and mile 2 was the only non-asphalt/non-concrete section I'd have to traverse. I wish I had them for this stretch as it felt like running in soft dirt or sand. Once through Mile two, I would stick to the main park roads.
IPod. I had new songs loaded, but being a day of reflection and goals, I tuned into nature more than the new tunes.

There was no cheering section on this run and in fact, it was the first time I never encountered another runner at this popular running venue. Color me stupid or color me dedicated, my only encounters were cars, one woman walking a dog and two parents with a child and a sled. I muttered to myself that the later expedition would last only 15 minutes in this cold. I wound up running 13.3 miles as my "turnaround" was literally at a turnaround at the Cherry Creek Reservoir water tower at mile 6.7. I kept my heart rate where I wanted it to be in Zone 1-2 with an average of a 140 HR I logged onto DailyMile. One of the new blogs I follow, Watch Mom Run had a quote from Dean Karnazes posted that said,

“To call running ‘fun’ would be a misuse of the word. Running can be ‘enjoyable.’ Running can be ‘rejuvenating.’ But in a pure sense of the word, running is not fun.”

This run was not fun, in fact it sucked, but gave it me a good sense of accomplishment as I began to whittle away at the 600 miles to get me prepared for Boston. No pain, no gain?


  1. Nice job on the 13.3 miles and keeping your HR in the zone! You're going to be so prepared for Boston in... 105 days 01 hours 21 minutes and 12 seconds to be exact.

    Sounds like you have the perfect equipment for cold winter runs. Living in colorado, I guess you have to! But at least the previous weeks and months have been mostly mild for ya. (here as well).

    Excited to follow you on your journey to one of the most popular, exhilarating (and at times difficult) marathons in the U.S!

    Oh - and great blog recommendation, that WatchMomRun ;)

  2. Great post Ty! Sounds like your run was probably way colder than mine was today. Nice job getting out there & doing it- that's major dedication.
    I actually think running is fun most of the time, especially once I get out into the cold, remember how good it can feel and have a dumb smile plastered on my face :)


Post a Comment

Popular Posts