Ten days removed from a 10-mile trail run, something became disturbingly clear: My training had fallen off … big time.
There were a combination of culprits — a brief battle with a stomach bug that floored me for a couple days; the work schedule had picked up; and of course the frigid temperatures made it much easier to stay snuggled up inside on the couch.
That last explanation is what bothered me the most.
Sure, I’d been sick for a little bit. That’s a fair excuse. Good health is important if training is going to be effective. And the second explanation also was OK. Content is necessary to fill papers, and sometimes that means sacrificing some extra time.
But too cold? Really?
Come on now, God invented layering and merino wool for a reason, and you’ve got plenty of it.
That little nugget of truth put my legs back to work Wednesday night.
Kansas City was just digging out from Tuesday’s blizzard that dropped at least a foot of snow in my neighborhood, and the temperature was just 4 degrees — plummeting rapidly toward zero and below. Most roads had been just mildly cleared, and most sidewalks had yet to be touched.
I finally came to the realization that none of that was cause for concern. I had an old pair of Salomon trail-runners that were perfect for conditions like this. Plus, as a bit of a gear junkie, I had layers upon layers to choose from to guarantee my survival for at least a few miles in the frigid air.
First came the Under Armour cold gear, and then a pair of running tights. Next, some Icebreaker 200 weight long johns. Then a ski mask and stocking cap. On top of that went the jacket from my rain suit — perfect to hold in heat around my core.
Oh yeah, and a pair of Smartwool hiking socks, some lightweight gloves and my iPod.
For four miles and almost 45 minutes, I looped the surrounding neighborhoods. The terrain varied from 100-meter stretches on the paved road to 50-meter stretches in knee-deep powder that sucked the already thin breath out of me.
Other than a five-minute period about a mile into the run, I was toasty warm. In fact, only the fatigue caused by trudging through the deep stuff kept me from doing another mile or two.
Lessons for the day: It’s good to be a gear junkie, and cold weather’s no excuse to be sedentary.