So, there’s a polar vortex in my area. Air that should be over the North Pole is over my house. Right now the wind is blowing like crazy outside. I taped up a couple of drafty doors and windows because it is no-joke cold outside. Negative 17F wind chill factor. Yeesh.
I had at least two of most everything on. Tights and jogging pants, two wicking shirts, a sweater, a nylon windbreaker with a busted zipper, a mask, a hat, two pair of gloves, shoes, socks and an ear warmer used to keep the mask down over the top of the sweater. I could wear it down across my legs and ass, I found, and block wind at my back. The windbreaker could be useful even if it didn’t zip up, which would’ve made me sweat a bunch and that would’ve gotten me chilled. I could wear it like a Roman cape, all slouched down and dragging.
If the wind kicked up, I pulled it over me, held it closed until I got to a calmer spot, let it slouch down again. The mask filled up with sweat and I took it off to breathe the air. It felt wonderful. I kept a slow pace, breathed easy. I kept ventilating my heat with the jacket and mask, heating up, cooling down. Theoretically it sounded good. But in all actuality, I was at the mercy of the elements. I was sweating, freezing and running in a polar vortex. Woo hoo!
I used the windbreaker to, well, break the wind. The hood was a godsend when I crossed over the river. The wind was howling, and the walkway across the span had frozen under a layer of slick ice. I ran with one hand poised over the rusted rail, ready to grab on. Gusts of wind blew my flapping clothes in my face. I kept my head down and ran the flat roads along the river for a while on the west end of town, then came back and did it on the east. I was surprised to see I broke 10 minute miles. I was very sore from the race yesterday, and I struggled with the cold.
I’m trying to think if I ever experienced anything colder. Yes, I once had a job cracking frozen salmon off of frozen trays in a cannery in Kenai, Alaska. That’s colder: Standing in a freezer the size of a department store in Alaska with fifty tons of frozen red salmon and piles of ice and snow to maneuver around, banging heavy trays of rock-hard fish. I once ran 11 hours in 28 °F weather. That was not as cold as this. Tomorrow will be unknown territory, a new limit.
People see you running in weather this cold and get confused. At least one person told me today I was going to die if I ran in this weather. It’s relative. I spent a summer in a tent in Alaska. Cold is tolerable if you just use layers. The mask is good for heating the air you inhale, air that can be extremely painful to breathe if you’re not used to it.
My nips were raw. The got harder than Chinese algebra. I had an hour to run before the vortex hit, did a 10K, in 10F to 12F weather, not bad.
Tomorrow will be much colder! I’m ready.
Total Janathon miles: 56