Hey everyone! It’s been such a snowy weekend in Philly and I’m loving it! There is nothing prettier than fresh snow.
I have a bit of bad news: on Friday, after spending the day working from home, shoveling snow, and building that cute little snowman, I realized I was tired. And that my leg was still bothering me from Thursday night’s 1 miler, and I was worried about running on it again. So I officially stopped the running streak. I know, I said I wasn’t going to stop for a while! But my left leg hurt so bad during Thursday night’s treadmill run that I realized that my body probably needs a break. It’s kind of a miracle that I made it through the entire streak without any injuries, and I wasn’t going to get injured only 2 days after the streak ended! So for now I’m back to my regular half marathon training schedule, including some much needed rest days. Sorry streakers!
After taking the day off on Friday, I was feeling slightly better about this weekend’s long run. I felt like I was ready for another 7 miler, and of course it was going to be in the snow again! Luckily my awesome husband came along with me and went for a long walk while I was running. We decided to hit up the Schuylkill River Trail in Valley Forge National Park since we figured the snow would be packed down a bit. I was more nervous about the low temps than I was about the snow – the wind chill was only at 13 degrees and was dropping fast! I wore my usual fleece lined running clothes, with my Buff as extra face protection. And of course I wore my Yaktrax Run shoe covers!
The run started out pretty well – the snow was packed down enough for me to run easily, and I ended up doing the first mile in 11:20. I was surprised because last time I ran in the snow all of my miles were between 12:00-13:00 minutes per mile, but I figured I would keep it up as long as I could. Around mile 2 a woman passed me on the trail. She was the only other runner I’d seen that day, so I said hi and commented on how well she was running in the snow. We ended up running together for an entire mile and it was actually really nice! I’ve never run with someone else before, and it was cool to talk about running with someone who enjoys it as much as I do. But I could tell that I was running much faster than normal to keep up with her, and when she turned around at mile 3 I was kind of relieved. She warned me to be careful running near Norristown, and then turned around to go back to the parking lot. I ran the extra .5 miles to get to my turnaround point, and realized that I had already made it to Norristown! I couldn’t believe how far I ran and was pretty pumped to tell Andrew about it.
Unfortunately, at mile 4 I started feeling really thirsty and sick. I was pretty winded from running so fast in miles 1-3. The snow was much deeper around this point, and while the other runner had helped distract me from how difficult it was to move in the snow on the way out I was definitely feeling it now. My stomach started cramping up, so I stopped twice to take a 1 minute walk break. Somehow in those short breaks my body heat dropped and my slightly sweaty clothes began to freeze. I was really scared about how cold I was getting, but my stomach hurt so bad that I didn’t think I could make it 2 more miles home. I almost cried at one point, but realized how painful that would be on my cheeks, so I dug deep and finished the longest, slowest 2 miles of my life. I can honestly say I’ve never been that cold or scared before.
Towards the very end, I saw two people walking towards me. I swear these people were sent to me by the running gods, because as I ran by them they started cheering for me and high fived me as I ran by. That little boost of energy they gave me carried me to the end. My husband luckily saw me on the trail and came over to help me to the car. I was so cold that all of my clothes and eyelashes were frozen. By the time I got back to the car I was sobbing, and my husband helped me change into dry clothes before wrapping me in blankets and trying to get my body temperature up. I couldn’t talk and could barely breathe, but I slowly warmed up and eventually was able to drink water and eat a Clif Bar. I don’t think I was able to fully warm up for at least an hour, but after a hot shower and some hot chocolate I was back to normal again.
I can honestly say that was my worst run ever. Not only did I start feeling dehydrated and sick while running, I was really cold. I think wearing more layers would have made it worse, because I would have been sweating more and eventually would have frozen more. There was a point when my husband actually asked me if I needed to go to the hospital, which made me realize how crazy it was for me to be running for so long in such low temperatures. I definitely should have fueled better before and during my run, but even if I hadn’t felt so sick I still think it would have been one of the toughest runs ever. I cried that night because I felt like such a running failure.
Yesterday my legs were a bit sore, but foam rolling and stretching helped me feel a lot better. So as far as leg muscles go, I think I’m okay. But I did find out that I also was coming down with a cold, which actually was good news because it made me realize that part of Saturday’s crappy run was due to me coming down with a cold and not even knowing it. Yay for looking on the bright side (and it helps that I had a sick day today to fully recover!)! It was at that point that I realized that even though that run had been absolutely horrible, it wasn’t all bad. Hey, any time I get to go for a run it’s an amazing blessing that I can’t take for granted. So here is a list of the reasons why Saturday’s run was good:
- The snow was so pretty
- I got to wear my new Buff that Andrew got me for Christmas, which kept my face warm for the first half of my run before it froze 🙂
- I made a running buddy on the trail, who I will probably never see again BUT she did help me power through some tough snowy sections and made me feel like running in that weather wasn’t totally insane (she also did not have fuel or water, so I wasn’t the only one out there not carrying frozen water!)
- I saw at least 4 or 5 deer out on the trail, which is so rare since I’m in the city all the time
- I can now say I ran all the way from Valley Forge to Norristown!
- It meant that I didn’t have to run 7 miles on the treadmill or in Sunday’s freezing rain
- I ran 7 miles! Not many people I know can say that they did that this weekend!
- I didn’t let myself fall off my training plan. Hal Higdon would be proud.
- My awesome husband was there to make sure I got warm again (I probably would have called 911 if I had been alone because I was so scared)
- I was smart enough to bring extra clothes to change into and I had a blanket in the car so I was able to warm up faster
- I’m now super motivated to learn how to fuel myself next weekend so I have a better experience!
- Now that I’m not run streaking anymore I can take time to fully recover before running again on Tuesday. Score!
Given the fact that I still feel pretty crappy, I’m proud of myself for being able to find so much good in that run. I guess that’s a sign that I’m a true runner!
And before anyone gives me a lecture about all the stuff I did wrong on Saturday, I’m totally aware. Fueling advice is appreciated, as well as anecdotes on some crazy runs you’ve done in the cold/snow. But I clearly learned my lesson and won’t put myself in that kind of dehydration or body temperature danger again 🙂 Also, my husband might be coming with me on every run from now on just in case! So don’t worry about reading any more run recaps like this again!
Have you ever had a terrible run? Share your story with me! Did you go out for a run in the cold/snow this weekend? What motivates you on a tough run?