Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Return of Old Man Winter

I woke at 4:22 am to a cold wind howling into the bedroom.  Ugh.  I got up and shut the window.   Nothing good was going to come of that.  I burrowed back into the covers and fell back asleep, dreaming of clear roads and blue skies. 

I awoke 3 hours later and shuffled downstairs.  I looked out the window and my heart sank.  There were big white flakes swirling around with reckless abandon, and a thick blanket of snow covered the road.  Drat.  Old Man Winter had reared his ugly head.  Given that I live in the Great White North, I knew this had to happen sooner rather than later.  There was no way Mother Nature was going to let us get away with a snow free winter.  One could only hope.  I don't mind the cold.  I rather enjoy a long run in the cold, especially when the sun is shining.  What I don't enjoy is the snow and there was enough of it on the ground this morning to make my long run a challenge.

Oh yes Old Man Winter, you may make things look pretty and white but underneath all that picture perfectness lies some cold-hearted trickery.   That pretty white snow makes for slick footing.   Slick footing makes me have to slow down.  It also engages more of my muscles and makes me work harder.  So I work harder and go slower.  Hmph.  Don't think I like that at all.  But I didn't have much choice in the matter.  All I could do was try to find clear ground and chug along.
Marie Curtis Park

My normal running paths were covered in snow so I chose a different route on the sidewalks.  Not the most scenic route but I didn't struggle as much.  It was too late though, the damage was done.  My legs were tired and sore and I was only 8km in to my 22km run.  I thought about calling it quits at about 12km and getting my hubby to come and pick me up.  After all I was just coming off a nasty cold.  My heart rate was telling me that I wasn't quite 100%.  The hard head in me said "Hell No.  Suck it Up."  Right.  I wasn't going to let Old Man Winter take me down.  No Way.  I motored on, westbound to Port Credit Marina, into the wind.  I found some clear road and managed to pick up the pace.  I hit the Marina and turned around.  I wasn't planning on taking the same route back.  I figured I'd stick to the roads and avoid the snow covered paths.  My legs were feeling rough.  I felt like I was coming off a hard leg workout instead of 4 days off.  I wanted to go but I couldn't.  There was nothing.  The snow had made sure of that.  As I made my way east on Lakeshore, thoughts of stopping early came back into my head.  I thought about hitting Fair Grounds and stopping for a coffee, calling Gary and getting a lift back home.  Sure that would mean I cut my run short by about 3km.  That was ok right?

NO.  There is no quitting.  When the going gets tough, the tough get going.  Isn't that how the song goes?  Suck it up.

I only had 3km left to cover.  I could muscle out 3km.  This particular workout was a fast finish workout, which meant I had to run the last 15 minutes at race pace.  This would be a true test of what I could do on incredibly tired legs.  I picked up the pace as much as I could.  The road was clear along Lake Promenade.  I glanced at my Garmin.  4:38 km's.  Ouch.  4:45's.  4:58's.  If my legs could yell bloody murder they would have.  I hit Samuel Smith Park and knew I would hit snow again.  As soon as I hit the snow, the chute came out.  5:30 km's.  6:00 km's.  Good Lord.  

To add salt to my wounds, the wind started gusting and the cranky low hanging grey clouds started to spew snow.   Ihatewinter, Ihatewinter.  I turned up 12th Street to add that extra .5km, across Morrison and back down 11th.  Around the bend on Lake Promenade to 10th.  Back into the wind. Almost home, come ON.  I could see my driveway.  Thoughts of a warm coffee and a hot shower started to float through my mind.  A gust of wind pushed me back to reality.  400m to go.  I pushed back.  Eff You Old Man Winter, you're not going to win this one.
I turned up my driveway, huffing and puffing and hobbled up the front steps.  I made it.  And I didn't quit....I'm stronger than that.  Put that in your pipe and smoke it Mother Nature.
Tree Lined Spit @ Len Ford Park.

 All photographs copyright Phaedra Kennedy 2012.

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