Sunday, April 4, 2010

Wading through icy waters

Early yesterday morning, Kelly, Karen, Angie and I drove up to Hood Mountain to tackle a difficult 10.72 miles up in the hills. Angie and I had never ran there before and we were both eager to experience something new.

What we didn't know then, was what exactly that new experience would be. And, we're both happy we didn't know about it... ahead of time.

And that's walking through frigid icy raging water.... twice!

But, wait. I'm already getting ahead of myself.  Let me start from the beginning.

We started our journey in temps in the low 30s and though i didn't see any patches of snow ... I was told there was still snow from a recent cold front. Angie's legs were covered in goosebumps from the chilly, icy air even while still sitting in the car. It was the kind of cold that when you spoke, you could see your breath.

I was secretly worried when I started off. Could I keep up?

Would I further injure my ankle? When you're cold, you feel everything sore on you. My knee where I hurt it back in January when I fell on a rock is still painful. I worried I'd fall again on the same knee.

I know that when I start to worry about falling, those feelings come from some other place. And yesterday morning, I knew that my fear was not about falling but all about failing.

We were all eager to start running to warm up.  My feet were so numb, I couldn't feel them as they hit the dirt. Karen pulled off her gloves and showed me her purplish-blue fingers. 

Within a mile or so, we all started to warm up and I was feeling good in my run and was curious why Karen and Kelly stopped up ahead when we reached the raging icy cold stream and not run along beside it. 

"Let's lock arms as we cross so the current doesn't carry us down the water fall..."

"Whaa? We're walking through that?"

And, before I was able to wrap my mind around the idea of it all, I reached out and held onto Kelly and Angie and Angie reached over and held onto Karen and locking arms, we took our first steps into the frigid raging water. We sunk in deep at times, sometimes catching each other as we slipped a bit over the rocks beneath us, water reaching upwards to our crotches before we made it to the other side.

It was an amazing experience.

Remember when you were a kid and you were about to get a shot, and you were really nervous and about to cry, but the nurse just magically gave you a shot in such a non-emotional way, doing this distraction thing, that you didn't even know you got the shot, until it was actually all over and you were sucking on your sucker?

That's exactly how it was for me.

"This is what we're gonna do. Lock arms and hold hands and move forward carefully against the stream.."  

It happened so matter-of-fact and so suddenly. Never ever would I have ever considered walking through a raging stream in my $100 pair of running shoes. But I did! And ya know what? They weren't any wetter than when i ran in the rain last Wednesday night during a short 3 mile-run in a downpour with my running group.

(Welll, okay, maybe yesterday they were indeed a bit more water-logged...)

We climbed back up the slippery slope and we were off again.  Slosh-SLOSH-slosh-SLOSH were the sounds of my wet socks inside my shoes. I was surprised (and much relieved) to feel warm and insulated between my wet skin and my running shorts as I ran.

It was mostly all uphill the first half five miles. So steep at times and for such long periods of time, I found myself walking more than running.

I kept repeating to myself, "c'mon, c'mon, c'mon, c'mon.." lifting one foot after the other... feeling like a mule carrying a heavy load...  "will this ever get any easier?" 
Kelly says it will. She says these tough uphill runs make you strong.

Seeing views from a place where few people have ever crossed is really quite humbling and overwhelming. And I felt good as well. I stayed on track... kept up with the group as best as I could. I wasn't nearly as slow as I had worried I would be.

What seemed to take forever to reach the top of the mountain, the trails back downhill was quick and it took seemingly no time at all! Nearly back to the car, I heard a roaring sound and remembered the rushing stream.

Taking a deep break and locking arms once again, we crossed the frigid waters, a few feet further up from the waterfall than when we crossed earlier that morning. Karen said, "Doesn't the icy water feel good against your pulled ankle?"

And it did! 

It was like I was icing it while running. Making the most out of situations.

I woke up this morning and I'm glad I had that experience and yes, I do feel sore.
But... it's a good sore.

Like kelly says, "it only makes you strong..."


Dan Guerra said...

Wow Shawn! Your running adventures are getting more riveting every time out there! I could almost feel the cold too! Great job in getting through that stream and going uphill for 5 are indeed getting stronger!

Christine said...

You are SO adventurous! I can't imagine running in water logged shoes for that long!

We must be in sync lately with our workouts. My husband and I went out on the road for our first cycling ride of the season yesterday and I was so worried about falling. There's still so many pebbles and debris on the sides of the roads around here from the snow and rains this winter, not to mention SO MANY potholes. I had the same thoughts as you :
I was secretly worried when I started off. Could I keep up?

I know that when I start to worry about falling, those feelings come from some other place. And yesterday morning, I knew that my fear was not about falling but all about failing.

Except I was worried about falling AND failing. But like you, I didn't do either. I'm glad that first ride is out of the way so I can focus on a great start to a new season. :)

Keep up the great work! :)

doodlegirl said...

Thanks Dan!! I don't even wade in swimming pools if they're not heated ... even on hot days! So that was certainly a milestone for me.

Christine: Love our in-synchness! I'm impressed to hear that you're out there riding! Falling from a bike is much scarier than falling off our feet. I appreciate your courage!

Jen and Angela said...

Brrrrr. So much for global warming. What a great adventure!

Tina @GottaRunNow said...

Sounds like a fun adventure - much better than a boring run on a flat trail!

Recently found your blog! : )

doodlegirl said...

Jen... ha! that's exactly what I've been saying... "so much for global warming!" And you are right... looking back, it WAS a great adventure!

Tina... So nice to have you come and visit! Drop by anytime! And you are riiight... so much more fun than running on a boring flat trail. I am wishing you many fun hilly trails in your life to run on!