"It's a little self indulgent..." - My mom
"After I read a sentence, I get mad at myself for caring what you're doing." -Karl Dusen

Sunday, February 7, 2010


After a day or so, I began to tire of the snow, mostly because I continued to be "stranded" in the city because the Metro wasn't working above ground and I hadn't been home for a while. I spent Saturday night at Sarah and Melissa's, after going to a party for Sarah's coworker and to Bohemian Caverns. I don't care much for dancing, and after my run in the snow, I tired out pretty quickly. Also, the amount of physical contact in that club, though some people may welcome it, wore on me very quickly. I fell asleep watching highlights and lowlights from the past two Super Bowls, the exhilarating Steelers win last year and the gutwrenching Patriots loss in 2008. Melissa's boyfriend wandered by on his way to church in the morning and I tried to say hi, but my words weren't working. When I woke up and everyone came downstairs, we enjoyed a few hours of laziness and tricks from Melissa's cat Shira before I decided it was time to go home.

Rather than take the Metro to Ballston and finish the journey on foot, I chose to run the route between my office and home that I frequently planned to run in better conditions. As I left, I started to feel a weird pain in my left hip, but after shortening my stride and running on as much cleared sidewalk as I could find, I wamred it up and it was fine.
When I reached Rosslyn, I debated between running on the cleared roads of Route 29 or braving the off-road Custis trail. Still wearing the sweatpants Rob lent me, I found Route 29 too slushy to bear, given the cotton. I opted for the trail and started one of the hardest portions of a run. Over the next 5.5 miles, which took me about an hour, I struggled through two feet of snow. Some parts were driven by walkers and skiers, but none were packed down enough to support 170 pounds coming down one foot at a time, so every step meant plummeting about a foot down into the snow. I came across a few people on the trail, but most of the time was faced with a lot of snow- white almost everywhere I looked. For the most part, I looked down to try to find the best path, but around an hour in, I began climbing a long hill into the gradually setting sun. It was a transfixing experience, and I started to drift away from the conscious act of running and exist more in the state of movement and survival. I was getting tired from the aggregate vertical motion I was putting into my form to step over the snow, and I was hungry. I just wanted to end the run. More than four miles into the trail, when I turned onto the W&OD trail, I began to wander off the trail, instinctively looking for some plowed residential streets so I could have some traction and resume my normal form. I found a street but it was worse off than the trail and I started to run aground emotionally. I realized I had no idea how the streets connected in that part of Arlington, so I got back on the trail and continued on my way. I thought more about how much easier and more fun running will be when the streets are clear, and I stopped minding. I also knew I was close to the end.
When I reached eastern Falls Church, I scrapped the rest of the route on the trail and found the second half of the Park loop plowed. Overjoyed, I picked up speed, making the slogging on the trail that much more dramatically slow. I felt pretty good at that point, and had time not been running out until the Super Bowl started, I would have extended the 12.25 mile run to hit 15 and do a true long run. As I saw my stopwatch inch closer to two hours, I realized I had probably put my body through enough, and that running more after I was exhausted was an invitation for injury and burnout, I decided to finish up when I got home. I stopped at a 7-11 to buy chocolate milk and reached home, my shoelaces too frozen to untie and extract my keys.
The game ended up being a good one, with the game turning on the Saints outplaying Peyton Manning, which I enjoyed. Alex had cooked red beans and rice, which instantly warmed my stomach. The shower, my first with warm water since Friday, felt amazing, and I guzzled the chocolate milk with flourish. The federal government is closed on Monday, which means my office is too. I shall sleep without an alarm and run twice, planning for some sore hips when I wake up. With 75 miles on the schedule for this week, I am starting at a deficit because I planned for 15 on Sunday, but with 12.25 already and 12 in two runs on Monday, I'll be able to average 10 most of the rest of the week. I am mentally enjoying the longer runs, so I don't worry about burnout at this point. In fact, I am looking forward to being able to explore more when my runs are longer and the sun is out later.

1 comment:

  1. Slam Dunk post! I can't blieve you ran 5 miles in 2' of snow. I ran about a half mile yesterday in that stuff and know the defeatist additude that overpowers the brain when you're tired.