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Sunday, January 9, 2011


My Camelback froze at around 4 miles, and my breath had frozen in tiny icicles on my hat brim and eyelashes. I decided it may have been colder than I thought.

It was 26 degrees.

We were long weekending with some of my wife's family recently moved to Nevada - South East of Reno. Suffering from sour weather and a variety of other excuses I haven't made time to run in a week and a half. I brought my running shoes and other essentials along for our weekend vacation.

Friday morning dawned foggy like no other I've ever seen. Jack Frost had been working overtime overnight. The trees, fences, cars, and - well - everything outside was covered with not only frost, but ever lengthening thorns of ice crystals. The meteorological term is "freezing fog," which worked for me, since visibility was under a quarter mile.

This weather could only be considered "better" since it wasn't actively raining. Though obviously below freezing, I was undaunted and antsy, and thus decided to tackle the 5.5 mile route I had established on my phone's Google Earth map. Every breath was marked by a burst of vapor that rose up and around the bill of my hat and then drifted off lost in the thick sharp enveloping cloud. A summer fog is something like a wet wool blanket. This fog was more like a swan dive into a half frozen lake.

The nice thing about running is that your body becomes an enormously effective heater. My long sleeve jersey, base layer, and arm warmers were more than adequate and were soon wet from the inside out. With speeds far slower than in cycling, the wind chill from my plodding actually become my friend.

I took a pull on my CamelBack about half way through the run, and thought I perceived a touch of resistance as I sucked frigid water from the translucent blue tube. A few minutes later I decided I didn't need to be thirsty anymore. The bite valve had become stiff, and in spite of a reasonable effort, the reservoir was no longer accessible - dammed off by a cylinder of ice.

The desert surrounding their town is considered "High Desert," for the simple reason that it is 4000' in elevation. With the flat terrain and towering peaks on the horizon it would be easy to think yourself much closer to sea level. My lungs weren't fooled though. At the end of 5.5 miles my muscles craved to indulge in far greater quantities of oxygen than my lungs were metering out. 5.5 might as well have been 10.

The run was the start to a wonderfully relaxing weekend. We spent a day doing - for all practical purposes - nothing. The drive home Saturday was punctuated by a half day at Sugar Bowl. I snow boarded for the second time, and my sister in Law skied for the first time in 10 years. We were there just long enough to ensure a sore ride home.

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