Sunday, March 2, 2014

Momentary Defeat - A Frosty Long Run

I ran to the gas station with my hands crossed in front of my chest and fingers tucked in under my armpits. I was in tears and asked the clerk if I could stay there for a while….

Every Saturday night I have my ritual. I make sure my running gear is prepared for the next morning.  I also make sure I have my yoga mat and yoga clothes for after the run.  

Sunday morning came around and there was a fresh layer of snow on the ground. I was feeling good physically and was looking forward to my run. When I got to the running room, I found Paul and said I’m staying with you buddy as we need to get this 21K done quickly. He’s been pacing us very well for the past few weeks and I tend to stay with whoever is leading at the front. I get my energy from them and motivation to go at a faster pace. It was past 8:30 all other groups had left but our group was still inside. Bridget, Paul and I were super excited to get going and were discussing how cold it was as we were covering our faces and fidgeting on the spot and looking at our watches.  We decided to let the group inside know we’re starting as we each had something to do right after our run. Of course mine was running to Yoga! 

Paul, one of my running buddies.

We started at a good pace and were feeling very good. I right away became aware of various textures of snow and slush being my least favourite as they get into my shoes and socks and remembered how I felt a few weeks ago after our long run. My toes did not come back to life until half way through hot yoga! Then I started feeling cold in my fingers. I always wear double gloves. But for some reason they were not helping me this morning. Bridget started telling Paul that she has frost bite kicked in and she has to get over it. Usually she feels fine 15 minutes into the run and it goes away. I was listening and thinking I really don’t like how cold my fingers are and thinking we haven’t even started yet. I kept thinking my hands are going to warm up and I’ll be fine. I told Bridget that I felt I was carrying a heavy block of ice cubes on each finger and how a deep sharp shooting pain under my nail bed was uncomfortable and my hands were heavy.  She said keep them moving and let the blood circulate. My legs were fine, my breathing was fine but the pain was becoming unbearable. I could not believe how in such a short time everything was changing.  I was expecting my toes would get freezing cold as they always do but not all my fingers! As we approached the intersection I turned to Bridget and said I can’t run I have to go back. She said go warm up before heading back. (I only had completed 3.97 or 21K). I ran to the gas station and I had no control over my voice. I was almost in tears asking the clerk if I could stay there and warm up. She nodded. I found a corner and tried to keep my fingers tucked under my arm pit. I felt like crying but there were no tears but rather the sound of anguish like my fingers being chopped off. It took me a good 10 to 15 minutes to get my composure back and ask her to call a cab for me. I was exhausted, burnt out, run down, and felt like I was defeated. I told the cab driver to go back to the running room for me to pick up my stuff and then went to my car. It was not until we got back to the running room that I felt so upset about not being able to run because of my cold fingers. I picked up my stuff and told one of the staff briefly what had happened and walked out quickly as I felt I was going to cry. I felt stupid. I felt angry. How could such a little thing prevent me from my long run.

As I sat in my car getting ready to go home, I checked the schedule for hot yoga. I was delighted to see a class was scheduled in ½ hour. I got to yoga told my instructor I've had a rough morning. She gave me a nice warm hug. I made myself a cup of tea and was still thinking what happened. I have run in colder temperatures with the same two pairs of gloves. Yes, my fingers have gotten cold and I have complained but then they had warmed up. Why was today different? 

“I have been a seeker and I still am, but I stopped asking the books and the stars. I started listening to the teaching of my soul.” ~ Rumi

After yoga which was what I needed, I got home and felt so weak and exhausted. The sun was shining through my kitchen window.  I fixed myself some tea and hazelnut chocolate and almonds. I tuned in to my fave meditation music and started writing about my experience.

Reflecting on my experience my thoughts are going back to this morning when I tweeted “A fresh layer of snow! Today is going to be more of a mental training than anything else.” I was referring to the long convoluted distance with many turns.  I was thinking I need to stay strong and mentally get through it. I wasn't thinking my legs are tired or I’m not feeling well. I certainly was not thinking I am going to have frost bite. It’s been a long, harsh and treacherous winter. I have dealt with all kinds of weather but today was not one of my good days. As I’m finishing this, environment Canada has issued Wind Chill advisory of -30s ;(

For now, I shall drink more tea and listen to more calm meditative music. Knowing I can put my running shoes back on again tomorrow. Or the day after the wind chill advisory has been lifted.

 You can follow me at @nomadicrunner45

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