Remember this number: 159.7 it will be important later.
So begins the tale of Frigid Brick….
Lured by the promise of temps in the mid 50’s (F) I suited up for the twelve mile ride to the running club this morning. The temp, while cold and hovering just below freezing, was forecast to rise after 10:00 am. I donned my compression shorts followed by my cycling shorts and tights, picked decent running socks for the scheduled seven mile run, my best cold weather running shirt and pulled on my cold weather cycling jacket. Next was a tough choice… Road
or mountain bike shoes? It was cold and the dirt road path would be shorter at 10.3 miles – but the ride would be slower and take longer than the 12 mile road route. I chose the road bike so I could ride in the drops for the first leg which was entirely into a 15mph wind. Road shoes, foot covers, running hat… I put my running shoes and an extra shirt into my backpack, pulled on my helmet and gloves, kissed my wife and walked my bike out the front door.
I knew I was in for it before I got off the porch. Even so, I started out easy – no sense in trying to set a new speed record in the cold. After a mile I turned into the cross wind and got a work call. A mile in. I pulled over, dealt with it and got back on my way. Two miles in I thought about turning around and driving down. I told myself to HTFU (Harden The F*** Up) and pushed on. Then I turned into the wind. It sucked the life out of me but I pushed on. At five miles in I almost turned around again – but then I figured what the hell, I was already half way there, it wouldn’t be worth it. At six miles I realized that it was a 12 mile ride, muscles burning from the cold. Crap. Twenty two minutes later I pulled in to the running club. We shortened the run to five miles over some much needed coffee and I talked with a noob for a bit about breathing and matching that up to cadence, and the “proper” nose/mouth ratio for sucking air (I’m 30/70).
The run, thankfully, was only sucky for the first half-mile or so. I ran with my buddy Dennis and we spent 4-1/4 slow miles solving the world’s problems. It was so nice to be able to jog and not worry about pace! We finished with about a quarter mile run at a seven minute mile pace. Afterwards it was a nice, hot bowl of chili for lunch and talking about running, the never ending winter and politics.
Once I was fed and watered (with coffee), I filled up my water bottle, suited back up and headed out for the ride home. I was actually looking forward to this because I’d have the wind at my back for all but one of the miles home… Then it started to snow, and before I got out of the driveway the snow turned into sleet. What are the chances?
Again, rather than taking full advantage of the wind I spun home easy, while being pelted by ice chunks the whole way. I would write that it was miserable, save the fact that I was out on the bike. Cold or not, a day on the bike can’t be referred to as miserable… At least not in my world. I took a shortcut knocking two miles off for the return trip because I had to shower and get out the door to pick up my daughter from a birthday party.
So, why do I do it? The easy answer is, I don’t know because I questioned my own sanity more than once today but there’s more to it than that. Remember that number from the beginning of the post? 159.7 – this is three tenths of a pound under my ideal weight. On the sixth day of April. No weight to cut for the season, no more passing on cake and cinnamon sticks, I’m good to go and the season hasn’t even started yet. In fact I’ll have to eat more than usual so I don’t lose too much weight. I do it because I don’t want to have to worry about the dozens of diseases strenuous exercise wards off.
Most of all I do it so I can pass on what I’ve learned, because anyone who knows anything about life knows that true joy is had by giving freely of your life’s experience – by passing on what you’ve been given. When that noob I talked with today asked a question about how to match breath and cadence when running of another club member, she told him to ask me, the crazy bastard who rides his bike twice, and runs when most people would have turned around and went back inside.
For the longest time that crazy guy was our club’s host, Grateful Jim. He was my go-to guy. Then my buddy English Pete held that post for a bit. Now it’s my turn and I like it. I am that guy. The guy who rode and ran the Frigid Brick.