Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Running update: More like skiing

I suppose this is the time of year I could be recounting the horrors of holidayness for you all, but I'd wager you see that most everywhere else in the whole wide world, so there's no real need for me to do it here, too.

If, for some bizarre reason, you feel the need to get my take on the absurdity of the holiday season, you might refer to some of my previous years' posts for that. Be warned that these are not the merry, blinking, squealing with holiday cheer kind of posts one might expect from someone with my pleasant disposition (that was a joke - happy holidays)- so just proceed with caution. And know that there will be swears.

Instead of bitching about how my neighbors have covered their entire house with lights and an animated nativity scene complete with baby Jesus singing Jingle Nuts on a loop, let's instead talk about how fucking cold it was this morning when I went for a run.

Friends - it was cold.

How cold was it, Finny?

So cold that if I had balls, they'd have been frozen right off and would probably still by resting on my front porch where I first came into contact with the morning's temps while outfitted in all of my running clothes.

Now, I know that a lot of you crazy whores live in places that get much colder than it does here in sunny NorCal and let me just tell you that this fact means very little to me when I go out to run around in it, so don't get all "Well, it was 20 below when I went out to the snowmobile this morning and I had no problem so you should shut up" because unless you were going out to run three miles in that weather while slipping and nearly tearing off a left leg while you were doing it, I don't give a rat's behind.

Really. I don't.

Because when it's in the high 20s (I think it was 29) when you pull on your running tights and then put on the long-sleevey top and the special Don't Freeze Your Tits vest and the insulating gloves and the ear-warmer headband - all on the advice of your now frozen Bubba who came back from walking the dog with his face frozen in a painful grimace - it matters not the temps elsewhere in the world.

Because you are Here. About to go running in twenty-something degree weather.

And, hey, by the way, watch out for the Everything because it's all iced up.

This was Bubba's advice to me and it was life-saving because LO it was icy. And being a NorCal girl from the inside out, I can tell you that I'm ill-prepared to be running around on icy streets.

Now, snowy streets? Fine. I ran while we were back in Kansas and the snow was falling and the streets were all snowy and it was AOK. I never slipped. I wasn't all that cold. A good time was had by all. And by "all", I mean me and the funny dog who'd escaped his fenced yard and was running free across the school's baseball field being chased by his very slow and ill-equipped owners.

But icy roads and 29 degree weather? Um. No. This really isn't my specialty. In the sense that I'm not awake enough at 6am to calculate the precise movements required to dodge leaves frozen to sidewalks, black ice holing up in the cracks of the street, frost accumulated on lane markers and so on.

To put it plainly, my run this morning - while invigorating and if-I-do-say-so-myself quite quick - was terrifying.

I slipped. I slid. I screeched. I pissed off my left groin muscle when trying to control a surprise slide into the ditch. I skied from one side of the intersection to the other without any proprietary ski equipment or the know-how to cross-country ski.

And, less terrifying but still ever-present, was the cold.

My ass cheeks, I believe, are still monkey-butt bright red right now from the effects of the bracing morning air caressing them roughly through the thin layer of spandex in my running tights for three miles.

My fingers just regained feeling to all of their tips.

My cheeks are now deadened against the weather and are turning black with frostbite.

OK, that last one's not true - but they were cold, too.

What's really probably deadened from exposure are my plants.


Now, it is well-known that I'm not so good at protecting nubile plant growth from the harsh effects of winter weather, but for some reason I put plants out there anyway, knowing full well they'll be frozen soon enough.

Last year, I was pleasantly surprised by the arugula and fava beans that took a frost and kept on growing, but I sort of don't think the frozen little tendrils of the pea plants are going to, like, thaw out and spring back.

That would be a miracle.

I do, however, hold out hope that this frost wasn't enough to discourage my kumquats from fully ripening, since they are citrus and are supposed to do well in this weather of ours here, so hold out hope for that.

See those ice crystals? Yeah. Welcome to California.

The nasturtium, however, is totally toast. Which is fine. That's what it's supposed to do - get all frosty and then get all brown and wilty and then spend the rest of the winter acting like a cover for the soil underneath. Fine.

Everything else? Well, I hope it had fun with the extra month of frost-freeness because our first frost date was 11/1 and, welp, today was what I would consider our first frost and today is not 11/1.

We'll see what this means for our last frost date, but I can tell you what it means for running - it means I need a hat. And maybe some more insulating pants. And a new hobby for a while - an indoor one.


  1. Smartwool makes awesome running hats. A bit spendy, but totally worth it because they will keep your head warm, even if you sweat like a damn pig (which I do). Yay for super-wicking and stylish wool hats!

    Also, I give you a TON of credit, because if it had been all icy when I went out for MY run? I would have said "fuck this shit" and gotten my ass back inside, then begged my fiance to take me to the gym on a guest pass so I could use a treadmill. Or just gone back to sleep. Odds are better on the "sleep" option, really.

  2. All I can say is that I can vouch for the freakin' cold here in NorCal. It is not supposed to be that cold here. I got to stay in today, but tomorrow, I will be attempting to drive to HMB from Pacifica over Devils Slide and I doubt that the devil is there warming anything up for me before I go sliding along. Wish me luck. I am glad you made it back home this morning, without too much injury to yerself.

  3. No. No ice. Running on ice is for crazy people. I will absolutely not run if it's icy. And I LIKE running when it's cold and snowy. But ice is bad news.

    Good for you for going, though. You're a trooper. (A crazy trooper.)

  4. Well, at least you learned your lesson. An indoor hobby. It will only last a month or two and then you'll be back out on the road. And all in one piece!

  5. Dawnie - GOOD RECCO ON THE HAT. I will look into that. Even just for the purposes of walking the mutt. And, hey, sometimes we all just need a sleep in morning, right?

    Claudia - Geez - please be careful on Devil's Slide. That shit scares me in the middle of the dry summer - not to mention the icy winter. And, yeah, WTF with this weather? I thought this was CA?

    Kris - Thankfully tomorrow morning it's only supposed to be in the high 30s/low 40s, so there won't be any ice to speak of.

    Though I will have to think twice about running in icy weather in the future. That was just scary. And running shouldn't be hard AND scary - because that's not fun.

    Thimbleanna - If only. I'm sure that I have *not* learned my lesson. Particularly given the fact that I fully intend to run tomorrow morning and OH WAIT FOR IT it's supposed to be in the 30s.

    Though, probably not cold enough to ice things over, so you know, it's totally safe and fine.

    Lesley - That is an excellent word. Having now seen these, I now know what I want for Hanukkah. Or Christmas. Or just because I don't want to fall down and crack my skull. Thank you!

  6. Ew. That's just wrong.

    Well this morning it was a whopping 10 degrees here, 2inches of snow already on the ground and since we're in the middle of some kind of freakish storm, it's blowing snow sideways. So me trying to get two toddlers into the vehicle at 6:35 this morning sucked. Then my windshield wipers got stuck, so I'm out there screaming, "Fuck you pieces of shit" for all the neighborhood to hear when I get back in my 4 year old says, "Mama- winter fucking sucks". Yes it does, Olivia. Yes it does. Can't wait to drive home on ice slicked roads covered in snow. YAY!

  7. I totally didn't think to cover up anything here either. Really hoping that my big hibiscus isn't totally toast. We can hope right?

    I want to start running but it's freaking cold. And I barely do mornings so yeah. I hope it warms up a little bit soon.

  8. Well, it is chilly here too and I am so sorry for the slide. That stinks! I hope you are feeling okay today. The garden looks pretty amazing considering the frost!

  9. Your run has me terrified. I can't imagine running on ice. I'll stick to the treadmill those days. I don't need ANYthing to screw with my knees again.

    My first 5K was in like 29 degree weather and I was freaking miserable and not wearing appropriate clothing. No hat OR gloves, but just tights, a long-sleeved shirt and a THIN jacket. I was so miserable. (And not just because it was a surprise "cross country" course either. Though that didn't help.)

  10. So of course I have to respond about the groin pull. Ouch. How is it doing?

    And maybe because I'm not a runner, or maybe because I am incubating (with a baby) and extra-toasty, but I kinda love this cold weather. I know.

  11. I'm very entertained by your ice running post. Maybe you should run with an ice pick and crampons next frost.

  12. The frost has been brutal in Sacramento too. I think my tomatoes are finally done produceing. I've been wanting to pull them up for a few weeks but since they were still putting out ripe tomatoes I didn't really want to give up on them. As of Monday they are all black and dead. Guess my chores for this weekend will include cleaning up the garden. Now I just need a bale of hay.

  13. Your blog is a great distraction right now. I think your peas might be fine. They are hardy little dudes. And, oh running in the cold. Ha, I know that well. The stinging of the shower on bright red flesh. I fell so hard on my side a few years ago I bruised from my hip down to my knee. Knocked the wind out of me. But I CANNOT WAIT to get back to running. It's COLD here (I am gonna do what you told me not to and talk about how it's way colder here). Like 1 degree today. And negative 400 degrees with the wind chill. Anyway, impressive that you got out there and ran sister. xo

  14. Smart Ass Sara - That is one keen child you have there.

    I trust you made it home on those slick roads?

    It's in the 40s here today, so no icy run this morning. I can't say I was upset by that fact.

    Mom Taxi Julie - Frankly, I prefer to run in the cold, but sometimes it's a little *too* cold. Like, you know, when it's ICE cold.

    Kelli - Yeah, we'll see what that garden looks like when it's had some time to thaw. I don't imagine pretty things.

    Lera - I remember that run! How awful. You must have frozen solid.

    And, yeah, this run with a tweaked knee would have been terrible. Thankfully, despite my inadvertent skiing about and sliding, nothing hurts so I guess I didn't do any permanent damage.

    I did, however, order some YakTrax on the advice of a commenter. We'll see if those help in icy conditions. Of course, as Bubba pointed out, we probably won't have another icy day until next winter, but I guess I'll just be prepared for that.

    Melissa - It's surprisingly gone! I guess it was a momentary thing because I don't feel it at all now. Either that or I'm permanently damaged and too delirious to realize it. And I'm with you on the weather - I'd much rather run in the cold than the heat. EW HEAT.

    Jana - I have considered running with a headlamp, so why not an ice ax, too? I will take it under advisement.

    Lisa - YOU STILL HAVE TOMATOES? Bitch. Love you!

    dig - You think the peas might really live? I forgot to check on them this morning. I do hope they're not all brown and mushy like I'm imagining. And, of all people, you may weigh in with the "It's colder here" thing since I know you run in that crazy Montana weather. Crazy lady. Go you :)


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

Anyway, to remedy this, I usually come back to my posts and post replies in the comment field with you.

But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.