Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Getting ready for the first below zero run...

Tonight I joined the Wednesday night group in Duluth's Canal Park for a run. Eight hearty souls showed up to brave the cold temps and strong winds (5 F, winds 17 mph from the NNW, gusting to 30 mph). This is just the beginning! We meet each Wednesday no matter what - though the cast of characters may change. Tonight we even had a runner in Vibram KSO's - the tracks he left behind were great! Sure to befuddle the wandering tourist who makes it outside. The Lake was doing her best to impress - sending up spray that reached the Lakewalk and added a little ice to make things interesting. When it gets cold - truly cold - a fog forms above the Lake, you could see hints of it tonight. Tomorrow may bring it out in full force, the prediction is for below zero temperatures. All good reasons to bring a camera along, but would I really stop to pull it out?

Now, Thursdays are for running to work and I am not one to let a little cold stop me! I may add another layer of tights though, depending on the winds. To quote a friend: "my a** was cold", as were my legs in general. The rest of me was pretty comfortable once we got out of the head wind and a mile or so into the run ;->

Layers for tonight's run from the inside out: winter weight running bra (longer and heavier fabric), sporthill 3sp pants, sporthill 3sp top, darn tough heavy weight socks, liner gloves, surf the murph 2009 LS shirt, silk/wool mittens, balaclava, sport hill fleece vest, sport hill wind pants, new balance jacket, saucony stabil running shoes, worsted weight wool mittens, wool hat.

This set-up should see me through most of the weather this winter with a layer added or subtracted as needed. I really wish they made shoes without all of the mesh! I could feel the wind on my toes for quite some time and they didn't really feel good and warm until half way through the five mile run. Three layers on my hands seemed to do the trick and I had no real problems there - yippee!

Duluth did not receive very much snow, but what we got drifted quite a bit so while most of the run was on bare pavement there were a few ankle plus deep drifts to negotiate. Taught me about some long underused muscles! Between the ice and packed snow it may be time to apply the hex head screws to the shoes.

The Lakewalk is being impacted by some construction right now as the city works to install the first phase of the "East Interceptor Sanitary Sewer Storage Facility Project" (fancy way of saying they are trying to prevent sewage from ending up in the Lake when we get a big storm by building underground tanks). The result is a very large hole right in the middle of the Lakewalk. For weeks they have been warning about this and detour signs have been up, but we continued to run around them with no problems. Tonight was different. Got closer to Fitgers and there was a big hole in the middle of the way! We were faced with turning back or finding a way around the heavy equipment and very deep hole. To make things interesting there was a significant drop on the lake side as well and the footing consisted of medium sized loose rocks and gravel. Reminded me of a trail run!

It turned out it was possible to skirt around the hole and along an edging of boulders without falling into the Lake - if you were careful ;-> Some of the group opted for the "safer" official detour on the way back but I rationalized if I made it through once okay I would be fine the second time.

The last half mile of the run was with the wind at our backs providing a little "nudge" from time to time. This section also allowed us a nice view of a ship out on the Lake, the fog rising off the water and the waves crashing onto the shore. All the reward needed for putting up with a little cold and wind.

So here is the below zero part: 7:10 am, Thursday: -1 F, winds 9 mph WSW, -16 F windchill. Looks like I will be running into the wind the whole way to work!

Update #2
As I left the house Mr. Wildknits commented on the temp: -3 F. Unknown wind strength. Oh yeah, the temp drops as the sun rises! Did get a self-portrait with my phone upon arrival at work. Bit frosty, but I was warmer than if I would have driven!


SteveQ said...

-4, with -25 windchill here; you must get that lake effect warming.

I plan to run indoors, where I have to hold my stomach in to look like the 20-year-olds I have to run with.

wildknits said...

Yup - Lake Superior provides heat in the winter! Though the temp did drop between my first update and the time I left the house.

Going to the dome? If so, say Hi to my son! I heard he was planning to run there with a friend.

Bill S said...

Lisa you are inspiring me to get with the winter running program. I even posted a picture of one my January running experiences. A couple more weeks and i hope to be out there myself. Keep posting your runs. Good job!!

Chris said...


wildknits said...

Gotta embrace the weather! It was a beautiful sunny day and the run on snow-covered roads was almost as cushy as summer trails.

Jean said...

Ah yes, the below zero runs...I suppose we have to start bracing for these! Nice job getting out there and embracing the season, as you say!

I ran in 4 degrees, -9 wind chill this evening. I was the only runner out there! :)

wildknits said...

No other runners this morning - though a few kids out waiting for the bus.

Sounds like temps will rise as the weekend approaches - good news for a long run!

Samantha said...

Yay for Wednesday's run. It was great!

wildknits said...

Wednesday night runs help me make it through the winter - so glad someone thought up the idea!

Can't ask for much more in a group of friends than that they willingly join you to run in below zero temperatures through ankle deep snow while Lake Superior tries it's best to throw water on your.

SteveQ said...

Ran in the Dome with some very fast people and found I'm starting from zero. VERY humiliating. And it was actually warm enough by then to run outside.

wildknits said...

Steve - maybe holding in your stomach was the problem?!

Just keep thinking about (mentioning?) your very serious illness and how far you have come since then - it might help.

It is always warm enough to run outside - some days with fewer layers than others. ;->

Then again, I do not have any indoor running options (no Y membership and refuse to pay $10 to use a treadmill for half an hour).

Works out - being outdoors cleanses my soul and keeps me sane.

Kel said...

I am a wimp - I ended up on the hamster wheel.

I've found that gortex shoes work nicely in winter, especially with snow shoes or when running in wet, slushy snow.

wildknits said...

Kel - having folks waiting on you is one way I combat wimpiness (it would be so easy to skip Wednesday night runs otherwise - it is cold and dark and always windy). Thursday mornings... well, I just made that a mental commitment - one less day driving my car. Plus - the coldest days are often the sunniest and the little bit of sunshine is soooo good mentally.

Wearing my trail shoes was a really good choice - no gortex but a lot less mesh!

So - any winter ultras for you?!?