Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Baby it's cold outside

7 degrees to be exact. I actually don’t mind this kind of cold weather that much, as long as I don’t have to go out in it. But given it is Boston Marathon training season again and I was crazy enough to sign up to run it again this year, there really isn’t much latitude in avoiding the cold (or the snow for that matter).

Yes…that’s right. For the fifth year in a row I’ll be running in Nick’s memory and trying again to use the completion as proof that I’m not getting any older. I guess being delusional is part of successfully running marathons. After 5 years you would think that even a marginally intelligent individual would have figured out a better way to memorialize someone than picking a marathon that is not only difficult to get into and challenging to run, but requires months of slogging through snow storms and challenging the science of frostbite on exposed skin. Why not a nice fall marathon in beautiful Sydney Australia, or Hawaii?

Why pick Boston? The answer is simple…I haven’t the slightest idea. It could be I’m not a member of the class of marginally intelligent individuals (something I’ve been emphatically told at several points in my life…usually involving sporting events or driving). It could be because I have a home court advantage which makes the logistics leading up to the race so much easier. It could be because it is the premier marathon in the world with the best spectators. Being philosophical, it could be that the challenge and difficulty makes it more meaningful in remembering Nick as I try to match physical effort with the emotional pain of his loss. Who knows…probably all the above and then some.

The truth is, 7 degrees if fricken cold. It’s what I call a double up day. Two pairs of running pants, two shirts, 2 pairs of socks and 2 pairs of gloves. Only one hat and one jacket though. A fella has to draw the line somewhere or you may look like Ralph’s little brother in “A Christmas Story”. Most of the materials today will pass the moisture through keeping the bottom layers closest to the skin pretty dry. It was a testament to this that when I took off my jacket at the end of the run there was a layer of ice/frost that have formed inside.

Of course all of this protection does nothing for the face. Given that an important part of running is being able to breathe, and it is particularly challenging to cover any distance if you can’t see where you are going, an exposed face tends to be the norm. This can lead to some pretty interesting developments over the course of an hour or more. On this run it was the frosted eyebrows and 1+ inch icicles hanging from my mustache (although the later can be broken off as a source of water during the course of the run). Add to this the fog of steam and breathe rising around my head and 2-3 inch icicles hanging from my hat and my crazed appearance would give the unibomber a run for his money. Even dogs don’t chase me (most of them are smart enough to be inside anyway). Of course the newer technologies in breathable materials help, especially if you are layering.

So here I am another year, another marathon and another set of blogs for your amusement. I’m still working on the charity for this year so stay tuned and I will have something for you in the coming weeks. In the interim, the notes of support are always welcome. Ridicule is OK too; just remember I have lots of time on the road to think about payback.