Monday, 26 January 2009

It's all about the day...

The alarm went off at 5:30, it was still dark outside. As I made my way into the kitchen to put on the coffee I looked out at the thermometer that hangs on the kitchen window, it was -24C, Yikes, that can't be right, so I fired up the computer and checked on-line with the local weather station and it said -16C, hmmmmm, someone was lying!

Glenda was to pick me up at 06:40 so we could make our way to the race location, park and make our way to "Building 85", which we thought would be a hall of some sort where we could change, leave our bags, use the facilities and head the start line that would be just out side the door.

When we pulled into the parking lot people were already parked and outside wandering around aimlessly with their running bags, no one knew where to go and there were no signs as to where we were suppose to go. It was freeking cold and where were we suppose to be????

A last minute decision was made to grab only what we needed, therefore leaving our bags in the car, we headed off to find Building 85, wherever it may be. Walking over a Km later we found the building. It turned out the be a public washroom, that was IT! Well, at least it was heated and for the time being we had somewhere to stand (not quite the ambiance I was looking for).

With ten minutes till the start of the race start we jogged our way to the new start line, which was at least another km away. Not quite 400 runners were standing and waiting for the race to begin. This was were we found out that the race route had been changed due to construction!!

Because so many people were still wandering around trying to find the new start line the actual start time was delayed at least ten minutes. We had been waiting almost twenty minutes by now and it was really cold out, the good news was at least there was no wind (yet).

With the change and delay we had the chance to meet up with a few of the runners we knew and our friends Brenda and Roger were there to wish us well, how great is that?

Finally the gun went off and we were on our way!

The route was four loops around the Experimental Farm in greater Ottawa, this in fact made for a nice winter run, you had the opportunity to go as quickly or as slowly as you wanted and always had help within sight!

Glenda and I stayed together for the greater portion of the run, we headed up the hill to the sharp right turn at the 5K mark, it seemed to take much longer than a normal 5K, but what does my Garmin know. We were heading straight into the wind, have I mentioned hate winter and wind?

The footing was not too bad at the beginning but with all of the runners, the snow/slush , drifting snow was being churned up by many running feet and became more of a challenge. Believe me, with each loop the challenges were different.

At the first loop turnaround, there were porta-potties, a water station and the many smiling faces of the fantastic volunteers! Thanks so much all of you, you are amazing!

(a picture of Man at the water station)
I'm not sure about you, but having to stop to use the facilities in -26C is just not something you want to dilly dally around. Holy doodle it was cold!!

It was at this point when I started to really get chilled. We continued on our hamster path, up the hill, sharp right into the wind, down a hill, loop back, up the hill, sharp right down the hill, loop around, up the hill, sharp right, sharp right and you were back at the water station and porta-pots.

(me and Glenda at the 9K mark)

By now the wind was picking up and I really wasn't consistent with my speed and actually at one point I was so cold I felt faint. My face felt frozen and a very nice man gave me some of his Vaseline to put on my cheeks and lips, mine had worn off. My PowerAde was turning to slush and my Sharkies were like bullets. Even though I had enough clothing on top, my thighs, and butt were freezing, a good pair of windpants would have worked nicely! (note to self, buy a pair!)

As with all of our events, we start off together, but run our own race, so I told Glenda to go on and embrace her race that she had trained so hard for. I was going to walk. Two very nice men stopped to check on me, thanks very much you guys! Many of my running friends stopped to make sure I was okay, even my running blog buddy Nat checked in on me to make sure I was okay, THANKS girlfriend!

It was at the 13K mark I just couldn't take the cold any further. I still had two Km's to go till the water station and all I could do was try to walk as quickly as I could. Glenda was at the turn around so I asked her for the car keys. When I made it to the loop, my running pal Rick was there and he ran out and gave me a big bear hug, it was exactly what I needed to keep going till I reached the next loop where the finish line was. Although I only had 6Km left to complete the race, there was no way I could have done it. I'd made my decision, I'm no hero and there are many other events to compete and complete,

When I got to the start/finish line, I wasn't sure how I would make it all the way to the van. (remember how far away it was?)

All I wanted to do was get somewhere warm. As I was trying to get my frozen brain to work, I heard my name being called out and it was Brenda and Roger. They had just arrived to see how we were doing. Luckily they had parked very close to the finish line and they hustled me into the car. I was so cold I couldn't open the car door!! What a wimp, but I was frozen to the core. Brenda had brought a thermos full of coffee and she poured me a cup, but my hands were so cold I couldn't hold the cup and Roger gave me his mitts to put on, finally I was able to feel my fingers (well most of them anyway), Brenda put some Baileys into my coffee and had the heat blasting in the car.

Glenda still had the last 5k to go, Roger went out the walk in the last kilometer with her and then bring her back to the car.

Congratulations Glenda! You did it and you got your Snowflake Bling! Way to tough it out!

We all went back to the race luncheon that was being held at the Arrow and Loon Restaurant and had a nice buffet lunch which was included in our race entry fee.

Thanks everyone for your help and concern, both at the race and on Facebook, I am okay, but trust me, once I get through the marathon training for the race in May, this will be my last winter of running outdoors!

Lessons learned:

  • no matter how many layers you wear, you need wind protection,
  • carry extra gels, sharkies or whatever you use on the inside of your jacket against your body so they stay pliable,
  • carry a tube of Vaseline with you, don't leave it in your gym bag,
  • if you are cold, STOP, get out of the wind and somewhere warm,
  • hypothermia can be devastating to your health and well being.

Life's fun if you don't weaken,



raulgonemobile said...

You did better than I could have.. I would have bagged it before I stepped outside. Those temperatures are fierce!

Marcy said...

Ooooohhh man chica that sounded brutal. I'm so so glad you're OK! Definitely some lessons learned on this baby. Totally better to be safe than sorry. (((BIG HUGS)))

Marlene said...

Ohmigosh, I'm glad you had the sense to stop and seek help. That sounds awful. I hope you have warmed up and fully recovered. (hugs)

TNTcoach Ken said...

Good lessons that you learned, but don't give up on outdoor running. We need crazy runners like you.

Melanie said...

The weather has been so brutal, you did the right thing stopping when you did, so congrats on that. I agree with Ken, don't give up on winter running yet, we just may need to embrace the TM a few extra days. My water and sharkies froze on saturday too. {hugs}

Mark said...

Man that's crazy cold!! The wind alone gets tiresome not to mention unreal temps. Glad your okay and ready to race another day!

Nat said...

Well, I'm glad I got to see you. You did scared me on that last two K woman.

It was cold out there and that wind kicked the ever living crap out of me too.

You made the right decision. There will be other races. I think I have sort of kind of decided to run the Winterman 10K.

Nitmos said...

Life's also fun if you don't get hypothermia.

Way to get out there.

J said...

Thats really cold! Glad you are ok! Spring/Summer running will be much better I am sure!

Anonymous said...

you're a tougher woman than me girlfriend! OY! and you all do this because......????


Glad to hear you're doing all right though. I shake my head in wonder.

take care. Next winter we're taking you to do a half somewhere in Florida where you only have to worry about those nasty ants eating your toes through your shoes.


Chic Runner said...

GOSH you are so hardcore! :) Hope you are feeling better and I can't believe that your sharkies froze! Stay warm and way to even be in that weather. I would be DYING there!

Kim said...

Brrr...sounds like you did th smart thing girlie.

Miss ya around!

BeachRunner said...

Holy doodle you are hardcore. Glad to hear you are okay and ready for the next race.

Vava said...

That's C.O.L.D.! Nice job running through all those challenges, and maintaining a smile. I hope the weather warms up as I will be in Ottawa this weekend to take the little ones skating on the Canal, and hope to get a run in as well.

Viv said...

Oh HUGS to you Laurel. That sounds like one of those killer challenging things that you see on tv. Way to give it a go. i truly believe you did the right thing. Your health is golden.

Shilingi-Moja said...

Glad you're OK. That was quite a run.

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

Brrrrrr. Glad you are okay. Stay warm now, okay?

Amy said...

Oh. My. God. You are a hero to me - I feel cold just reading your report. Good tips too. But I hope I don't ever need to use them!

bluecolnago said...

glad you got through that in one piece! bailey's in your coffee is always good!

be careful out there. :)

Runner Leana said...

Wow, hypothermic half for sure!!! It sounds like you made the right decision to pull out Laurel. What a miserable day.

And yes...why do our rear ends get so cold when we run? Here I thought I had all of this insulation in mine..??

Runner Leana said...

Wow, hypothermic half for sure!!! It sounds like you made the right decision to pull out Laurel. What a miserable day.

And yes...why do our rear ends get so cold when we run? Here I thought I had all of this insulation in mine..??

Bert said...

You didn't actually say that this was the hypothermic half but I guess we all figured it out... duh. Damn that sounds positively life-threatening. Here in the USA they probably wouldn't have started the race for fear of lawsuits...

Vickie said...

I don't blame you for stopping when you did. Better that than find you in a heap somewhere frozen stiff! I really don't know which is worse: too much heat or too much cold, but I think I would at least like the option of heat. Good job getting as far as you did! And remember to put some drinkable alcohol in your water bottle to keep it from freezing (your choice!).

Judi said...

wimp my ass!!! that's some cold ass weather, and you made it as far as your body would allow. sometimes it's just better to listen to your body, and not your head and your heart.

good job for getting out there missy!

SuperDave said...

LilY was an awesome job racing in the frigid air! You are one tough cookie!

Laurel said...

Wow, you definitely made the right choice. I am proud of you to do the right thing. Most people's pride would have gotten in the way. I'm glad you're ok.

I hear you on the wind protection. I had on 4 shirts and 2 pairs of tights for my run on Saturday, but once that wind kicked in, all bets were off. And it wasn't anywhere NEAR as cold as you had it.