Sunday, January 10, 2010


Shelly and I were scheduled to run 18 miles yesterday, and we didn't let the cold weather stop us. Even though the forecast called for the temperature to be in the teens, we headed out to the Scenic Loop at 8 a.m. It was 14 degrees outside! I took a picture of my car thermometer for posterity.

We dressed properly for the temperature - I wore a short sleeve shirt, a long sleeve shirt, long pants; 2 pairs of socks (one pair was Robert's wool cycling socks), a beanie, gloves, and a jacket that had built-in mittens. Shelly was outfitted similarly and we took off in style.

The cold was like a punch in the face, and breathing was difficult at times. Otherwise, the run was normal. We remarked at the frozen creeks that we passed, and giggled about how hard core we are for being out there (nobody else was). Then, at mile 3ish, I went to take a sip of water from my fuel belt...and it was frozen! This would be a problem because we needed to drink every 5 miles or so while taking gu.

Our next step was to take our small water bottles and put them down our shirts to warm them before we had to drink. It took about 3 miles to thaw each bottle, but it worked! I felt the cold weather sapping my energy early in the run, though.

In a roundabout way, we got to the Scenic Loop Cafe at mile 11. We decided to go inside and take off our middle layer of shirts in the restroom. As we walked in, the manager asked, "Did your water bottles freeze?" Maybe we weren't their first runner patrons of the day. Shelly texted Robert to tell him we were OK, and he texted back, "We're at the Taqueria. We're OK too." Ha.

We didn't realize it, but we'd had a nice tailwind the whole time we were running out. As we began to head back to our cars, the wind picked up and we struggled against it. Most of the way back was hard, hard, hard. I got a little boost with 3 miles left when Robert and the kids drove up to say hi, but I begged them to just keep driving or else I'd jump in the car.

When we arrived back at the cars, we found that it was 40 degrees outside, much warmer than when we'd started at 8. The higher temperature explained why we had seen runners in shorts and T-shirts heading out while we were on our way back. It was a tough run, but we did it in 3:15, and I'm becoming more confident on the hills and able to visualize finishing the marathon strong. The race is only 5 weeks away.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Hello 2010!

Happy new year!

I'm entering the new year and a new age group - I'll have a "35" written on the back of my left calf for triathlons this year. Gotta love how triathlons determine your age by how old you'll be at the end of the year. My birthday was only a week ago, for goodness' sake.

You may have noticed that I stopped writing here in early fall last year. What happened? Well, I got an iPhone and now I have no need to get on the actual computer at home. But I miss writing this blog, and I resolve to write more in the new year.

I read through this entire blog a few weeks ago - I was looking at the pictures and got sucked in to reading all the posts (not difficult when you're feeling narcissistic and you have an entire volume that you've written about yourself at your fingertips).

I was amazed to see how far I've come - how far Shelly and Robert and I have all come. Usually, the improvements made during a "season" of running aren't so obvious - a new PR here, maybe a new "most miles in a week/month" record there. The fact that I'm thinking in "seasons" at all shows how becoming a triathlete has changed my view on the exercise world. Along with learning tons about triathlon and bicycles, and improving my skill as a swimmer and a cyclist, I've improved as a runner as well. Shelly and I are both better, stronger, faster, smarter, and tougher athletes than we were this time last year. Which we'll need as we head for our first "A" race of 2010 - the Austin Marathon on February 14.