Late Valentine’s Day

This year, I celebrated Valentine’s Day two days late with the love of my life, running, with the Sweetheart Shuffle 10K in Omaha, Nebraska. This would mark my last race in my 20s.

PC: Bodies Race Company – Omaha

PC: Bodies Race Company

I have noticed for some time my Garmin tends to give me a shorter distance/slower pace the longer I keep the machine on without pressing start and decided to shut it off and restart, right after which the race director began to count down from ten. (I honestly do not know what I was thinking, or lack thereof, doing this following the national anthem.) I anxiously waited until the watch relocated the satellite, which put me in the way back of the line, and I spent the first thirty seconds or so squeezing through and running around slower participants, yelling, “Excuse me! Sorry!” Panicking, I initially even forgot to play the music playlist I created, but I managed to recover and find my rhythm about a minute in. I would not be surprised if this uneasiness inadvertently made me run faster than I would have in the beginning, as I tried sprinting past many, which I never do at the start of a race.

The nearly 0-degree temperature caused my ears slight pain for the first mile, but then my body produced sufficient heat for me to forget about the cold. Because pretty much all of Nebraska received snow the day before, the trail was covered in snow but thankfully not slick enough to worry me. I could see my eyelashes had frozen but did not realize how hilarious my entire face looked until a lady asked to take a photo of me upon my 10K completion to show her husband the brutality of the temperature.

I crossed the finish line in 50:02.1, which upset me having come so close to running a sub-fifty again, even blaming arguably the most inconvenient start of my running career because of my instinctive careless decision to restart my watch so close to the race. I later found out some runners dropped out due to the frigid cold, so I should simply feel grateful having sturdily overcome this condition. I will now shift my focus to a 50K in Ottawa, Kansas, on March 30, 2019, which means I must make time to train on my three-week business trip to Korea that starts next week. Thank You, Jesus!

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Ideal Running Temperature

The human body’s ability to adjust to varying conditions, with sufficient time and the help of mental toughness, amazes me. Since I picked up running seven years ago, I have taken on temperatures between 0 and 105 degrees and my body has never failed to adapt to any of the extreme, including a mini-blizzard, in any season of the year. I do, as do all runners, have my preferences depending on the distances I plan to conquer.

When not racing, I do not mind any temperature, as I feel no pressure to perform to the best of my ability. Race day, not so much. Up to the half marathon, I prefer the low 30s, as my body moves the fastest and maintains its pace the longest in that neighborhood, not to mention I rarely worry about dehydration. In a marathon, I enjoy closer to 40 degrees, as I inevitably move at a slower pace than that of up to 13.1 miles. On the other hand, in an ultramarathon, particularly 50 miles or longer, I choose hot over cold any day. I cannot run 50 miles nonstop and must periodically walk, and since I move significantly more slowly in these crazy distances than in non-ultras, my body temperature plummets during breaks of more than 10 or 15 minutes. During my 102-miler, when the sun set, bringing the temperature down from 90 to 50 degrees, my body shivered viciously as a result of the short time off after the first 50 miles. In the ultra before of 51 miles, I experienced the same shaking immediately following the race. In these distances that unavoidably throw so many variables and obstacles, my time would certainly improve by hours in the cold but my chances of finishing would likely diminish.

0 degrees and I was sweating!

I have been working in Nebraska, one of the coldest and windiest states in America, for the past three-and-a-half years and last night close to 8:00 PM decided to cover my face and go for a quick run of nearly four miles in 0 degrees. Confusingly, I barely felt the cold, and when this afternoon reached 22 degrees, I even felt warm. Where am I that 22 degrees feels warm? This even made me want to run the Antarctica Marathon one day. Again, I am amazed by the human body’s ability to adjust.

What is your ideal running temperature/condition?