Two Cold Mornings

Two days ago I one again got up in the wee hours and donned the old running duds and ran in the dark, before everyone else in the house was awake. It was cold, the coldest morning yet this winterish season–18 degrees. I dressed warmly and got out quickly. Too quickly it turns out. The thing you need to know about our house is that it is open. I get everything set up the night before in part to save time but more importantly to be quiet. I leave my toothbrush on the counter so I don’t have to open the drawer (it squeaks) and I don’t want to be pulling anything out of anywhere since every noise seems to clang throughout the house when it is dark.  So there’s that, plus it was cold.

I knew it would be cold, of course, since I pay attention to the forecast. I have run when it is cold many times, but this was the first cold morning I would be running. I made sure to dress appropriately. Unfortunately I forgot one important thing. As I was walking down the driveway, guided by the beam of my headlamp, things seemed to look fuzzy. I blinked. Still fuzzy. I closed one eye–clear as can be. I closed the other eye–blurry as a painting of an octopus in a mud puddle. I had forgotten to insert one of my contact lenses.

So what to do? Go back in and make all kinds of noise to put it in? Or run with only one good eye. I did not go back inside. It was an interesting run. It was chilly but I was dressed for it, so that wasn’t an issue. I was too distracted by my eye sight to be cold, anyway. I kept closing one eye, then the other, back and forth. And it was slippery. I was afraid I would miss something. My binocular vision was compromised, so I had to be careful. I did make it home safely. I found my contact lens in the case. And I put it in for the rest of the day.

I took yesterday off but ran this morning. I took yesterday off partly because it was going to be a lot colder. It was a lot colder–two degrees at its lowest, and that was right when I would have headed out to run. So I waited a day. It was forecast to be slightly warmer at first, but then the forecast was for possible sub-zero temperatures. Screw it, I said to myself, I’m going anyway. And I did. I dressed for a cold morning, too–several layers but not too many, I hoped. The last thing I wanted to do was sweat a lot, then have my sweat freeze me right up. So I was ready.

I remembered to correct my vision before I left this morning. Then I checked the temperature. Sure enough, it was cold. Five degrees. So it was a little warmer than yesterday after all. The wind blew, however, so I had to be ready for the old wind chill factor. I was good–warm enough and feeling healthy. But the run was not without its own issues.

Our driveway is icy. A little snow, a couple of cars smashing down that snow  a whole bunch, some wind and not a lot of sun–that is how one creates the old icy driveway. I knew this, so I was careful to stay to one side, out of the slippery ruts. I mean, it was dark this morning. Even with a headlamp, we’re taking limited visibility. So, trying to be extra careful, I decided to walk in the middle of the driveway, where it might be least slippery. On the way from the edge to the middle, however, I managed to slip, fall hard, and hurt myself.

I didn’t hurt myself badly, mind you, so I kept going. My had was stinging underneath my sandy glove, and my elbow was sending nerve impulses to my brain warning of a bruise to be expected. My ego was bruised as well, so I grumbled slightly. But I just started running and hoped to forget about it. That didn’t happen right away, of course, because I noticed, in the meager light of my headlamp and through my black glove, blood seeping through. That blood had turned to frost by the time I got back home, and it still hurt then, despite the cold.

Sure enough, I had a fine abrasion on my hand, along with a small avulsion. When my son saw it he backed away with a look of horror, asking “What’s that?” The price of glory, my boy, the price of glory. The had still seeps and the elbow still throbs, but I went running this morning. Five miles. At least I can say I did that, eh?

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