I’m Not Cut Out For This – The Coldest Long Run

I’m heading up to New Hampshire this weekend so I decided to take advantage of my day off for President’s Day yesterday and get my long run in early. As I got ready to head out during the warmest part of the day it was 17 degrees with a real feel of 10. (Seriously – it is not supposed to get this cold in Virginia!)

This cold weather wimp was not excited, but knowing that temperature would be considered downright balmy in New Hampshire, I wasn’t putting it off. For those that run through winter weather like this all the time – I am impressed. As a runner I know I am in the minority, but I will take my 90-degree, 90 percent humidity DC summer runs over this any day.

I have always been one to wimp away from the extreme cold – don’t ask me how I survived my first 22 years in growing up in Syracuse, NY because I’m really not sure. I have done plenty of long runs on a treadmill including several 20 milers, but after a couple recent tough days on the treadmill, I was hesitant to go for 16 on one Monday.

I put on all the layers – a tank, Oiselle wool base layer, another long sleeve on top and my Oiselle Livinit jacket. I also had two pairs of socks on, a hat, neck gaiter and gloves. I was not messing around.


I’m not cut out for this I thought as I waited impatiently for my watch to find the satellites. Who thought training for a spring marathon would be a good idea anyways?! I thought this again as my legs felt really slow and heavy just one mile in.

At about mile two I realized my brilliant plan to wear my hydration pack instead of carrying a handheld was not so brilliant. Two miles was all it took for the water in the tube to completely freeze making it impossible to get any out. See – I’m not cut out for this!

By mile eight the bargaining had already started. I could divert to the Rosslyn Metro, but no if I keep going it’s just a couple more miles until I could hop off the trail to the airport metro and get home that way, because no one is cut out for this cold. By mile 10 though, as I passed the airport, I finally lost count of how many other runners, walkers and bikers were out on the trail. I got to at least 50 so I couldn’t stop now. (Man, we are a crazy bunch!)

After passing the airport I told myself to go just a few more miles and I could hop off of Four Mile Run Trail and call an Uber to get home. At mile 12 as I was opening my backpack and trying to poor water out of it into my mouth, I couldn’t help but think again, what am I doing?! I’m just not cut out for this!

Can your eyeballs freeze? Serious question – because I think at this point in the run mine had. Everything was getting blurry and I was having a tough time blinking. (I think that it’s more likely that because I sweat so much even in this cold, my eyelashes were frozen – but still, it was a crazy experience that this fair-weather outdoor runner has not experienced before.)

During the final three miles I came up with every excuse in the book for why it would be OK if I just stopped running and got that Uber the rest of the way home. Then after what seemed like way too long (probably because I ran ridiculously slower than I had hoped) my watch beeped signifying the 16th mile.

Thank God! I was so incredibly happy to have this run over with. As I lay in the fetal position on my bedroom floor texting my husband that I had made it all 16 miles, I thought never again will I run in temps like this as I’m totally just not cut out for it.

Except that – maybe I am! I think one of the best things about being a runner is constantly pushing your limits and finding ways to do things you never thought you could.

Tell me about a time you did something you thought you weren’t cut out for!



Footprints: Monday Morning Recap

I ran 28.75 total miles last week, and to be honest, none of them felt great. It was not my best week of training. I’m not sure whether or not to attribute it to coming off of the race Sunday, running out in the heat for the first time, having too many things on my plate this week or maybe it was just a bad week. Anyways, here’s the day by day training breakdown…

Monday: Spin Class

Tuesday: 20 minutes of easy biking and a 2.5 mile easy-paced uphill run.

Wednesday: Unplanned rest day. I got myself to work 2 hours early so I could get a run in midday and still leave a few minutes early to get to my CPR Certification course that night. When I got ready to run at lunch I was very unhappy to realize I forgot my sneakers. By the time I got home close to ten that night I went straight to bed with no thoughts of a late night treadmill run.

Thursday: I put in 6.25 total miles as part of my interval run around Hains Point. I warmed up for a little over a mile before doing 4, 1-mile repeats with 1/4 mile recovery jogs and a short cool down. My mile repeats were slow and sluggish yet I felt like I was going as hard as I could. It was not a fun run. The last couple fell well below even my goal race pace.

Friday: I headed out to Hains Point again for a tempo run today, and again felt slow and sluggish. I don’t like doing back to back speed days, but forgetting my sneakers Wednesday kind of forced me into it. I was really proud of myself for completing this run though because I was pretty tempted to just stop and walk back to work, but I made it for 6.85 miles including my warm up and cool down.

Saturday: I was up and out early for my long slow run and it was just that…long and slow. I hoped to meet up with a running group about 3 miles in, but my tired legs were running slower than 9 minute miles to start, so I didn’t quite time it right and ended up doing my run alone. It was a beautiful day for a long run though, and I got in 13.15 miles along the Capital Crescent Trail. I followed up the run with an hour outdoor yoga for runners class in Clarendon that I actually really enjoyed.

Sunday: I still had a 5-mile pace run on my schedule for the week, but after 3 tough days in a row I decided it was probably best to take a day off. Hoping this decision pays off and gets me on track for a solid week this week.