Running on empty (and in snow, in 7 degrees, in February)

Race number one is in the books! What an epic end to a hellish week.

Our house has been fraught with illness and even more sleepless nights. Our youngest spiked a fever and coughing fits, which ended in an uneventful ER visit where she got a hospital grade suction out of her nose, a mega dose of ibuprofen and her very first viewing of Bring It On. She’s on the mend, but our little Typhoid Mary infected the rest of the house leading to me being up all night with my own cough and congestion. So, zero workouts this week happened.

5D923360-7215-4B19-B8AC-78BEEFD1CA9FI’m not sure where watching Bring it On falls in the Wonder Weeks developmental stages, but it’s got to be somewhere. 

Race day loomed over me all week. Reminding me in that creepy whisper “pssst….hey you haven’t run all week, you feel like shit, and did you see the forecast called for snow and single digit temps?”

Saturday morning I woke up at 5:15am with a nervous stomach. I looked outside to see a fresh three inch blanket of snow on top of several inches accumulated through the week. I checked the forecast in hopes of a warm early morning sun only to find the windchill to be -5. The excuse wave crashed into me. I still had to eat, pump milk for baby to eat later, get ready, and I was starting to hear my two year old stirring in his room.

Knowing my dad was coming to give me a ride and watch the race gave me the extra nudge that I couldn’t back out. The thought of having to spell out my excuse spiral in a blog also kept me to my word. I reminded myself I’ve run longer and with colder temperatures. My last Living History Farms race (7 mile cross country race complete with frozen creek beds), I finished with frozen hair and came down with a wicked illness straight outta the pioneer days.

I didn’t have my phone so I couldn’t capture the running conditions, but I imagine it was like running in three inches of beach sand, only instead of sand, it’s snow, and instead of the beach you’re in Des Moines, IA….in February.

The race jitters ended with the “BLEEERP” of the starting sound. I was excited to get going and I was moving a lot faster than I should’ve been. I realized the thick snow got me tired out pretty quickly and I need to chill my ass out if I was going to finish. Unfortunately, the treadmill doesn’t offer a thick snow option for intervals. The first corner offered some clear pavement to give my grateful legs a rest. The second corner was a long stretch of more thick snow. I tried to find the shallowest spot in the road to pace down a bit. I had to walk a few times, but otherwise felt good. I finished strong and happy to be done.

My dad, who signed up for the race and then decided not to run, ended up lining up with me. As the crowd started lurching forward to begin the race, he decided to run it too. Mind you he’s wearing jeans three layers of jacket, hiking boots, and long johns. I sincerely can’t wait to see his race photos. But he finished! That’s pretty amazing.


At the end of this week, I’m a mix of half exhaustion and half motivation. Dam to Dam seems so far in the distance and training is only going to require more time and energy of which I am limited. I worry about this. On the other hand, completing a race these conditions gave me hope. It was fun to be in a race again. To be one of those crazies freezing their ass off on a Saturday morning felt a little satisfying.


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2 thoughts on “Running on empty (and in snow, in 7 degrees, in February)

  1. Awesome finish in the race and age group!! It was the worst running conditions I’ve ever been in and made it twice as hard! Dam to dam , pick of cake!!


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