It was sunny and 55˚F at 8AM today. Despite November being a fabulous month, e.g. achieving multiple running PR’s, raising awareness for pancreatic cancer through my project Elevating a Cure and having the best birthday/Thanksgiving ever, I was in a funk. This has always been a good time to push myself out the door. After packing water and food for three hours, I wadded up my Patagonia M10 jacket into the back mesh pocket of my pack ‘just in case.’
Shorts, a t-shirt, arm warmers and fleece gloves felt cool, but I thought I’d warm up and that the temperature would rise as the sun rose. Jorge, Scout and Scout’s tennis ball ran ahead as usual. After 20 minutes playing catchup down the still flood-damaged Lower Bluestem, I still wasn’t warm. When we arrived at the South Boulder Creek Trailhead, I noticed a haze in between the sun and me. About halfway up the South Boulder Creek Trail I put on my jacket. I thought the wind seemed cold.
Jorge and Scout turned right when we intersected lower Mesa. His bare hands were painfully cold. I turned left and arrived at South Mesa Trailhead ten minutes later in need of the bathroom. Too much popcorn while watching “Birdman” last night. I stayed a little longer than necessary trying to warm up. I still didn’t understand why I was so cold.
I ditched my plan to continue south. Instead of the direct route back up South Mesa, I decided to climb Homestead Trail, again “to try to get warm” and continue working on running all the way up. Halfway up I wasn’t warm and decided to eat a bar while power hiking. Still cold. Even so, I improved with two section PR’s.
A panoramic view of Boulder (not captured because I forgot to charge my GoPro) finally made my mistake clear. Clouds from the east moved closer and closer to the sun. My beet red quads and numb hands gave me more reason to pick up the pace. I powered up to the Mesa Trail, for five minutes, another PR. On the downhill, I picked a line on dirty ice to gain speed en route to my favorite downhill in Boulder right now, Bluestem. When I tried to take a drink of water from my bladder, the hose was frozen. “Oh shit.”
It takes me about 25 minutes to run home from the intersection of Bluestem and Mesa. I cruised down to a 2nd best time. Surprisingly as I closed in on the right hand turn to the shortcut through a social trail to get home, I was warm. Well, warmer, so I decided to add on a few miles to run another trail I enjoy.
Two hours and twenty minutes after leaving, I arrived home. My mind had shifted from the funk to stop shivering. I changed into dry clothes and burrowed myself in the couch under blankets. Jorge served my favorite Coconut Chai tea with honey and two plates of Thanksgiving leftovers.
As I sit here warm and no longer shivering, I am grateful for my friends, family, fitness and health. I completed this month’s goal of running another 21,986 feet up for my project, Elevating a Cure. Raising awareness toward a cure for pancreatic cancer has become a priority for me. On the first ever World Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Day, November 13, I made a video about it. Please donate to help find a cure for this disease.
What’s next? The Hardrock lottery is December 6. I have a 2% chance of being drawn for a spot. Regardless, I’ll be climbing up in 2015 toward Elevating a Cure. Stay tuned!