Saturday, February 03, 2007


Temp: 6
Windchill: -15
Snow Depth: 18 inches since Thursday

Definitely a day to stay in and run on the treadmill. Before I even got home from work Friday, cancellations by the hundreds were scrolling across the TV screen, cancelling events all the way up to Sunday. I was surprised to see the cancellation of the 25k mentor running groups who meet every Saturday. Now that was surprising. I have no doubt in my mind that people showed up ready to run though.

What is most incredible about this day is it was 11 years ago today that I ran a 5k in actual -25 degree temps. Windchill was -45. See how crazy I was back then?? It was one of those days when you can say, "It was so cold my _____ froze." [Insert whichever or all body parts you choose.]

A group of us planned to meet up to run a favorite winter race in Fremont, Michigan, about 55 miles north of Grand Rapids, home of Gerber Products. This race was either a 5k or 10k. Originally, I had signed up for the 10k, but when I heard the weather report, I decided to switch. The post race party boasted homemade soups, breads, and cookies. Now who wouldn't risk life and limb for that?

I rode to the race with a couple of friends, and I remember meeting when it was still dark. The ride up north was harrowing enough, because it was so cold no ice melting salt worked, so it was slippery as well as difficult to see because of poor visibility. But hey, we were runners. We could do anything!

It was no surprise to see the almost 400 runners who showed up. There was probably 15 or so from Grand Rapids alone, as well as many runners from the lakeshore. If you put on a race, they will come. Its all I could think of. What else would cause this many people to venture out on a day like this? And the surprising thing was, they never considered cancelling.

I dressed in my Gortex suit, over the top of 2 pair of tights, two shirts, a hooded sweatshirt, two pair of mittens and socks, a face scarf, hat, and sunglasses. Yes, even though the sun was not out (I think it was turned off that day), I decided to wear the sunglasses to protect my eyes from freezing open. I also put a layer of Vaseline on all exposed face parts to protect from the cold. Somehow, Imanaged to run the race, even though I looked like the Michelin Man. I know all that stuff slowed me down. LOL!

The sun actually made an appearance at some point in the race, because I was overwhelmingly blinded from the brightness even with the dark glasses. The glasses, by the way, had steamed up, and the steam had frozen, so I couldn't see a thing, and I was forced to look over the tops to see where I was going. I was still afraid to take them off for fear of the freeze factor, not to mention my hands were like big paws from two pair of mittens, and I couldn't maneuver anything if I had tried.

As I approached the finish line, however, I was forced to take them off so I could see where I was going, which at this point was like running blind. The finish line too had frozen over from so many people running on the snow layer on the road and I literally skidded into the finish and crashed into someone taking numbers.

I immediately went back to the school where the luncheon was held to thaw out. While my body wasn't cold, my face and fingers were. Amazingly, I ran 25:42 (which surprisingly for now was slow for me then). But it was good enough for 2nd in the AG.

After our group shared their war stores and lunch, we headed back to GR, only for me to find my car wouldn't start from the extreme cold! It was probably 4 hours later before we could get a towtruck out to tow the thing back to my house, so there was a whole day shot.

Did I ever do anything like that again? Surprisingly, yes. But for today, I think not.


Sascha said...

Yeah baby! It's -12 here and -24 windchill! We're expecting a high of ZERO if we're lucky.

TxSkatemom said...

that is insane. I'll take 100+ with humidity in Texas summertime anytime over that madness.

and I WISH I could do 25 and change for a 5K, bundled up or not!

Flo said...

OH! MY! GOD! I'm guessing my complaining because it dropped into the 50's last night would not impress you :)

WADDLER26.2 said...

You guys are animals there!!!