Like a Cat

It’s really been hard to get out of bed this week.

For the morning runs especially.

Literally overnight here in southeast Michigan, we went from full-blown Indian summer to full-blast winter. Temps dropped from 60 to 30, and the sun packed up and headed south for the winter.

Wednesday morning – the first snow of the season. Actually pretty, until it melted.

I knew we’d been living on borrowed time late October and early November, but boy, did I enjoy it and not want those good times to end. The running was fantastic, and I got in some solid bike rides, too. Then the party ended, quite abruptly. Well, this is Michigan, and I’ve lived here my whole life, so I know the drill. Time to run? Put on another layer and as the book says, get your butt out the door. It’s all about getting acclimated to the cold, the sooner the better.

My long run on Monday started off well. Then with ten miles in and five to go, the clouds came in and the wind picked up. Even running, my body parts began to chill and hurt. I basically shuffled in the last few miles. No fun a’ tall.

So how could I get motivated to do the Wednesday “6 at 6” (six miles at 6 a.m.), with a forecast of 22 degrees? No good consulting the other residents of the house. My wife puts up with my peculiar habit of ultrarunning, but as she hates to see me suffer, she’d be fine if I skipped a training run in the cold, or even hung up the shoes for good.

And then there are my cats.

During the warmer months they love being outside, patrolling their territory and stalking the wild mouse or two. This past week they’ve been happy to hang out on the bed all day, snuggling together and soaking up the few moments of sunshine. When I mention a run they look at me funny.

Run? Whatever for? It’s cold, and there’s nothing to chase!

Now they definitely approve of my getting up early, because it means breakfast. After that? “Do the sensible thing and take a nap in a warm place. We’ll coach you.”

I have to admit it’s tempting. Why would any rational person go running in such conditions? Not like it’s going to pay the bills. Quite the opposite. All this is training for races, which I pay for. And since I just pulled the trigger on my next two races, gotta get the training in.

So I showed up and did the 6 at 6, which went pretty well, actually, and another long run this morning. Air temperature 21 degrees, wind chill 8 degrees. Sixteen miles, with some intervals at comfortably hard (re: marathon) pace. Either go out into that, or get on the treadmill. There, at least, the choice was clear.

So “comfortably hard” at 8 degrees turned out to be around 8:15 per mile. Slower than I’d like, but the intervals went smoothly. And you know what? I felt good enough to kick up the pace the final few miles. Maybe I’m acclimating after all. Still, if I spend the rest of the weekend curled up with a book and the cats, I’m not going to feel the least bit guilty.


3 thoughts on “Like a Cat

    1. My next two ultras are in Tennessee (December) and Texas (February). One winter 50K here in Michigan was enough! (That said, I will be in Traverse City in January as usual for the Bigfoot Snowshoe race. But that’s just a 5K.)

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