Starting in 2007 I’ve run the Spring Forward Distance Run. I’ve generally had very positive experiences. This year I did not. The weather conditions for this race were the second worst I’ve ever had. The worst conditions were in 2011 at the Shamrock Run 8k. Spring forward is almost twice as far and thus I suffered for about twice as long.
We awoke to a few inches of snow on the deck, 19 degrees on the thermometer, and 20+ mile per hour winds. Originally I had planned to run very well at this race and even come close to my course PR. During my warmup (which actually made me colder) I was cursing the painful air. Still I thought it might be possible to have a good race. I even held onto that hope through the first 1 or 2 miles. After that I knew I was performing terribly and there was no chance of doing well.
By far the most difficult aspect for me was the cold. I’ve been used to running indoors in 65-70 degree temps. The 45+ degree decrease was a shock to my system. It does not help that I truly hate the cold. I joked with other participants about running a single-track road race. The only place on the road with enough traction was a path from a tire near the center line. My legs never warmed up. They just wouldn’t move. I kept hoping they would loosen up and I’d see some actual speed and feel good. It never happened.
During the second 5km of the race we turned to run into the headwind. Although I wore an absurd amount of clothing (image the Michelin Man) I omitted wind briefs. The pain I endured was not something I’d ever like to repeat. I had to cover myself with my hands but that wasn’t enough to take the pain away. Eventually I removed a glove to use as a wind barrier. That was incredibly stupid. With the glove it seemed like the pain was getting worse and I couldn’t understand that. After the race it dawned on my that there was snow and ice on my glove.
I finished in 1:11:32, a 7:41 pace.
This was my 8th consecutive running of this race. I would like to keep this streak but I can’t imagine putting myself through this again. If only the weather were predictable or controllable. My fingers are crossed hoping that the poor performance had more to do with the weather than my current physical condition.