Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Who turned off the heat?

I made it to Seattle today. Although I have to admit that I was tempted to get myself bumped again when the gate agent announced (same as yesterday) that US Air was in an over sold situation. Instead I was a good boy and got on the plane. Seated across the aisle from me was a mountain of women. This poor gal was so large that she sat at a 45 degree angle for the entire trip. All the way to Seattle I kept thinking that all we need to do was get her walking 30 minutes a day, then running 30 minutes a day, then racing 5ks and 10Ks, and by then we’d have her down to 120 lbs and sitting upright in a seat. Oh well, I’ve got to stop trying to save the world.

Once I got to Seattle everything changed. The snow storm I’d missed last night made a mess of the city. The surface streets were full of ice and I counted at least 30 cars abandoned by the side of the freeway on my from SEA-TAC airport north to Redmond. Once I got to our facility, I was the only car in the vistor parking and the office was more or less deserted. Two of the 4 people I came to “visit” called me while I was in transit from the airport and explained that they couldn’t get their cars out of their garages this morning and didn’t make it to work at all. I had one productive meeting in the afternoon, but most of the time I spent on the phone with our other facilities.

I knocked off work at 5:00 PM and headed over to the hotel. By this time the temperature had dropped to 24F and I got thinking about the 12 miler I had scheduled to run on Wednesday morning. With the temperature alread rather frigid for this Arizonan at 5:00 PM and the sun setting quickly, I realized that the conditions for a good run weren’t going to get any better overnight. So, I pulled on my cold weather gear (tights, long sleeve running shirt and gloves) and dug out my head lamp and set off down the bike trail that parallels the 520 to the Sammamish River.

This was an experience I’ve never had before, running on ice. First, the constant crunching noise made for a very loud run. Second, my fingers immediately went into a deep freeze even with my running gloves on. I had to pull my fingers out of the glove’s fingers and ball them up with my thumb for warmth. My ears were gone as well, but the numbness was refreshing; or more correctly, I couldn’t feel my ears. I wasn’t sure this was the smartest run I’d ever started, but after the first 2 miles, I finally warmed up enough to be comfortable and learned how to run on the ice and snow without slipping too much.

After 3 miles, I got down the hill to the Sammamish River and headed north. By now it was completely dark and all I had was my head lamp illuminating the ice and snow under my feet … crunch, crunch, crunch. Three miles out along the river, three miles back. With 9 miles down and only 3 miles to go I was now faced with the prospect of a long 1.25 mile climb up from the river.

I had done well to this point, considering the conditions, and held a pace around 8:55 for the first 9 miles, but I knew I didn’t want to run up hill for a mile at that speed. Once I got on the hill, my pace slowed down to 10:30 and I just kept grinding along until I got to the top when I could pick up the pace again over the last few miles. A glance at my watch indicated that I could still get my average pace for the entire run down under 9:00 min/mile if I could run solid sub 8:20 minute miles for the last two miles. I had to stop at a light on mile 11 which didn’t help my pace, but I really pushed mile 12 hard and ran it in 7:59. However, it wasn’t enough; total time for 12 miles was 1:48:10. I missed the 9:00/mi cut off by 10 seconds. Oh well, maybe next time.

I have a new found respect for all of you that run regularly in this weather. It’s not easy. My hat’s off to you.

Running for the week:

Mon: 6.2 miles w/ 6x100m strides, 8:34/mi avg pace
Tue: 12.0 miles, easy, 9:01/mi avg pace


Anonymous said...

If you're comfortably warm after 2 miles, you got your clothing spot on.

You should stop worrying about your pace on those runs. Speeding up in the last mile just to get your average pace under a certain threshold doesn't do anything for your fitness.

But hats off for going running. It's what, 50 degrees colder than you're used to?

david said...

Good job getting your run in...running in ice and snow do present a challenge.

Mike said...

You're officially a running nut, your lapel pin is in the mail from our headquarters. It's great to see you so determined Phil, there is some perverse enjoyment that comes from running when you know everyone else is staying in. You just had to fly to Seattle to find the conditions!

Phil said...

The day I stop speeding up on the last mile is the day I can finally call myself an adult. I know it doesn't do me any good, but I still do it all the time.

It's suppose to snow again in Seattle on Wednesday night, so I'm very happy to be getting out of here and back down to Phoenix where I can whine about our 45F lows. One day of running in these conditions is all I can handle.

D said...

You are hardcore Phil. I am impressed that you took cold running gear with you! Good job. I think you deserve to throw out the mile with the hill and recalculate your average. I bet it will be better than 9s. Nice job finishing strong!

Deene said...

wow! this is some dedication. to be able to run 12 miles in those considerably different conditions while away from home. good job!

angie's pink fuzzy said...

wow, ice? way to go!

tb1 said...

Your concern for the "mountain of a woman" sounds sincere. I agree with you. If more people could only "understand" how just a little effort and discipline it takes to maintain a healthy lifestyle we could provide healthcare for everyone with the money that would be saved by keeping sick people out of the DR's office.

Anonymous said...

Phil, I still get cold in our 50 degree weather. I don't even own cold gear yet. Maybe this month I will need it.

I totally follow your thoughts on the large woman. I want to tell everyone that they can do this!

Anonymous said...

Yea, I find myself wanting to evangelize all the time to the overweight -- but then I remember that all that preaching never did a damn thing for me. One day I woke up and was like "I should lose some weight" I honestly had no idea it would be almost 100 lbs! My head must have been very far up my fat ass ;)

I remember my first snowy run -- good for you. They are tough!

Runningdoctor said...

"I have a new found respect for all of you that run regularly in this weather. It’s not easy. My hat’s off to you."

Why thank you, kind sir.

Love2Run said...

And our hat is off to you for getting out there in the cold. I'm really looking forward to our 1st snow day here.

Anonymous said...


Sounds like it was quite a running adventure running in the snow and ice along a river at night with only a headlamp. Good for you. Despite the cold, I bet it was a ton of fun.

Anonymous said...

Hi Phil,

I found your blog thru Deene's.

Nice post and way to get out there and run in the snow and ice! Here in the northeast it's freekishly in the 60's! But we have months of snow and ice to look forward to.


Ewen said...

What a run Phil! That takes 'just get out the door and start' to a new level.

I'll never complain about mid-winter mornings in Canberra again!

Anonymous said...

Great job, Phil! I just saw some rubber things you put on your shoes for running in the ice... was glad I didn't move to Massachusettes like I had wanted to. Sounds like you could have used them. Burrrrrrr!