Yes, I know the Polar Vortex is kicking arse out in the Midwest. However, for Bennie’s first walk this morning, our thermometer read -4*F, with a bit of a breeze out of the NW. Yes, that in my world is cold, and in Bennie’s as well, he was out there just long enough to do his business and hustle back inside. I didn’t complain too much about getting back inside either.
For his second walk, it was an even shorter one than earlier. While the temps had risen to 3*F, the wind was picking up, so Bennie didn’t waste any time.
I don’t run in those temps anymore. Breathing becomes a struggle, and I don’t enjoy getting all bundled up to get out the door to do laps on Philbrick. In those conditions, I don’t stray too far from the house. Hypothermia is nothing to take for granted and if you fall or do something to get yourself in trouble, walking a short distance in your running gear is one thing. It is entirely another to have to walk any distance in your running outfit, no matter how warm you think it is when running, it ain’t enough to keep you warm in those conditions if you are not running.
So instead, I geared up for being outside and decided to walk the snowmobile trail up back. We used to do it all the time in past years, but this is the first time this year that there is enough snow for the snowmobiles to go through. It is beautiful back there, but walking in muck boots on a snowmobile trail is tough when you haven’t built up to it.
You use different muscles, and by the time I got back on the road just over a mile later, I knew I was glad to be back on tar. I want to think that I am in pretty decent shape, but that short walk on the snowmobile trail gave me a wake-up call that I need to do a bit more work. By the time I got home, it had warmed up to 5*F, but the breeze was picking up a little more.
I figured at that point, I wouldn’t be running today, did some chores and settled in for a good lunch. Then participated in a Zoom call to see how my draft place would be in my fantasy baseball legacy league. Not too good, 11 of 12. Oh well, it will be another long year, I suspect.
Also, I finished Out of Thin Air during lunch and got all fired up to go for a run. The temps were climbing and hit 18*F, so I figured why not go up to Waterville and run there. Smaller hills and a different view would be a nice change.
With all the different cut-off points, I also thought that I could make it a shorter run if things were too cold for me. I kept going back and forth between wanting to do the 7.0-mile Shaw’s-Colby Loop or 6.0-mile Hannaford-Gilman St Loop.
When I got to Waterville, the truck’s thermometer told me it was a 22*F (a freaking heatwave), but the side roads looked a little tricky, so I decided to run the shorter Hannaford-Gilman loop because there are more ways to make it even shorter. It was an excellent choice, so it turned out.
The first mile was getting going and warmed up. Coming out of the backside of Hannaford was a little tricky, and the sidewalk was a mess. However, the road shoulders were in good shape with some icy spots, a few unfrozen muddy spots, and puddles. With the amount of salt they put down sometimes, I wonder how any of those puddles ever freeze.
A quick pit stop up by the dam because I don’t go in the stores or anything when I run in town and then continuing onward. Going up Silver St., was a bit of an adventure with the traffic and having to run on the side of the road. The sidewalk was good in spots, but in too many parts, ice made it unrunnable.
After about two miles, I started getting that wonderful feeling of “gotta go” and there ain’t no place to go in town. Not a good feeling. I came very close to merely heading back on Cool Street and calling it good. The urge went away just before the turn-up Pleasant Street, so I figured I could get 4-5 miles in and took that chance.
Yeah, that was me. I should’ve turned and gone back to the truck.
By the time I turned on Gilman Street, the body wasn’t happy about things, and my mind wasn’t on running. It was all about finding a private spot for a couple of minutes. Big problem there, Harold, there ain’t no secluded areas in that section of town, especially when school is getting out as you are going by.
Mask up, glasses off back on Pleasant Street, and there were just enough people out and about that I kept them up for the rest of the run.
I turned left after the Messalonskee Stream bridge and went past the high school to get back to Cool Stree as soon as possible. The pressure was building, and spasms that were not fun were afflicting me from the bridge onward.
Yep, it slowed me down and took my mind off enjoying this run. The only thing I could think about was focusing on the red flashing light at the end of Cool Street. My watch beeped that I finished 4.0 miles about a quarter-mile from the end, and at that point, there was no choice I had to stop and let the most painful spasm finish and not end up in my shorts.
Then I walked the rest of the way back to the Hannaford parking lot. Walking was more tolerable than running.
When I got back to the truck, the body had decided that I had suffered enough, and the cramping, along with other urges, were gone? I guess that I wasn’t supposed to go up and around the 6.0-mile course for some reason or other. Sometimes you have to go with what the body is telling you to do.
It wasn’t a bad run other than that wonderful urge, and I ran pretty well, considering the discomfort and distraction that was going on internally.
Another run in the books.