I ran a half marathon this past weekend and in the minus-twenty, brutal weather, bone-numbing cold of it I was trudging along the icy route pondering my own sanity and wrestling with the possibility that I may have misjudged it’s very existence.
Of the four hundred racers, all manner of athletic prowess could be seen — as well as all manner of athletic gear. Tubes, toques, buffs, mitts, balaclavas, headbands, wraps, ski goggles, and more… anything to break through the cold. And it was so cold. One guy who passed me actually — no, really, had three-inch-long icicles dangling from his earlobes. And the race volunteers were dancing, jumping, and never-stop-moving as they reminded us that we runners were all actually a lot warmer than them. Sadly, they were probably right.
Afterwards, basking in the post race defrost, it was a brunch-driven debrief … sometimes literally, as more than one of us was wearing multiple pairs.
Of course, even after the running is done and all you’re longing for is the warm, comforting embrace of the indoors… someone invariably wants to take a photo.
But then who can resist… those puckered faces, the frost dangling from your hair and eyelashes, the looks of frozen bewilderment resembling nothing less than a half-crazed fitness buff who has spent the better part of an hour in temperatures fit for human nor beast.
Take a photo. Of course. No one is going to believe you otherwise.
After running fourteen klicks in the bitter cold over this past weekend, my mouth refused to cooperate with my brain.
In fact, there exists a state somewhere comfortably situated between chattering teeth and frostbitten skin where the mouth goes numb and one finds that talking becomes a chore of some difficulty only bested by the difficulty of trying to understand someone speaking in that condition.
Some folks might tell you that this state of affairs is far from unusual, but alas this past weekend my excuse had more to do with frozen cheeks and frozen lips and generally frozen face than anything more permanent.