Baby, It’s Cold Outside

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Yesterday morning we started our run at 5:45 AM.
In the middle of the Nevada desert.
A desert covered in snow.
For a 20 mile run.
Okay, I ran 18 miles. (More on that later.)
In 25° weather!

I live in the desert! It’s supposed to be warm and toasty-roasty. Not sub-freezing temps and snowy drifts! But those are the conditions that we ran in this morning.

When I saw the forecast, I knew some quick action was in order. I know they always say “Don’t do anything new on your 20-miler or on race day.” But seeing as how I didn’t have any long pants for running, nor did I have any good long-sleeve shirts… well, it would have been dumber to just head out in my lighter apparel.

I bought a pair of running tights (Under Armour, a review will be coming) and a Nike Dri-Fit long-sleeve top (maybe a review will be coming). I also had a pair of Columbia gloves (youth size, so I didn’t have long, floppy fingertips!), a fleece beanie (advertising my uncle’s company), and two jackets to brace against the cold.

Like I mentioned, it was 25 degrees when we started. Melinda and I ran with the TNT group training for the PF Chang’s race and did the run in the middle of the desert, the place where we had to dodge snakes earlier this year for our 18-mile training run with our TNT group. This place is kind of a pain because it’s so far out of the way, but it really is a good spot for a long run like this because you can just run straight out for 10 miles, then turn around and run 10 back in to the parking lot. Our 20-miler was done on city streets and it gets annoying and frustrating turning up and down and all around trying to cover the mileage in that environment.

About 6 miles out there were a lot of patches of black ice on the road and by about 7 or 8 miles the snow drifts were well into the road, leaving us no shoulder to run upon. As I sweat, the fleece beanie did a good job of wicking that moisture away from my head, only to have it freeze in a lovely, frosty coating on the outside. Icicles developed on my hair that stuck out the bottom of the beanie. And when we reached the 10-mile point for our turnaround, the temperatures had dropped to 20°!

We started the return trip in and despite the frigid temps, all was going swimmingly. My energy started to drop pretty significantly after about 15 miles, but I was still in good spirits. At mile 17 a sudden knot in my stomach about brought me to my knees. I cranked out another mile, but caught a ride back to the truck stop at the beginning with one of the TNT coaches because I didn’t really want to… um… ralph on the side of the road.

But ditching Melinda for the last two miles worked out really well for her, she knocked out the last couple miles at a 7:00 minute pace. That just goes to show how much I am slowing her down! 🙂

I really need to figure out fueling myself. I can’t figure out the right way to eat before a run or to eat during the run. This is the same point that my stomach got the best of me during San Antonio. The next 3 weeks are, despite the typical recommendations, going to be filled with experimentation to see if I can find something that will give me energy and not make me miserable before the big race in Arizona. As before, advice and tips are absolutely appreciated! I can only learn more by hearing of practices that work for others and trying to implement them into my own training.

The Snowy Nevada Desert
The Snowy Nevada Desert
I leave you with this picture, taken out of the car window from the interstate. This is the area we were running through. It’s not exactly a lovely winter wonderland, but it is fun to have captured this scene and it makes for a memorable experience. The whole time we were marveling at how pretty/extraordinary the snow was AND what a nuisance it was for our run that morning!

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