Nineteen cold and slow miles, and two moose

The last two miles were unspeakable.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I missed my long run on Sunday due to a last minute work situation so I shuffled my schedule and ran Monday evening instead (i.e., since the sun sets at 3:30 p.m. now, evening here is actually mid-afternoon).

This is where I was Sunday, out at the Eagle River Nature Center covering a story. This is the view from the backside of the center, mountains all around. It’s quite breathtaking.

It was a sultry 9 degrees when I set off and I waited to warm up but never really did. That was the least of it, though. Because it turned out to be one of those runs, you know? The kind where you never quite get in the rhythm, where you feel a little off, where you put forth more effort than normal and still struggle to maintain a decent pace.

I ran on the Coastal Trail up to Kincaid Park and back, which is about 19.25 miles from our house. The trail was packed snow and there were very few people out, probably because they had the good sense to stay indoors. My face was numb, my hair and eyelashes froze and the hose on my hydration system iced up (the bladder is insulated and stayed warm but I forgot to insulate the hose, damn it).

But there were good points: I witnessed one of the most awesome sunsets (unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera with me). The sky blared pink and orange and red, and the colors held for about a half hour before the sun sank below the horizon. It was amazing and surreal, like running inside a movie set.

I also ate snow, since my water hose froze, and I had forgotten how good it tastes. Remember eating snow as a child and how cold and full it felt in your mouth? Yes, it’s still the same..

The first 9.5 miles were manageable, even with the last one-mile ginormous hill that always, always kicks my butt. I stopped and warmed up in the chalet, which is the halfway point. They had the heater cranked up high and it was so warm, so cozy that I had to force myself to step back outside. (Oh, heaters are so wonderful!)

The way back wasn’t as pleasant. Yet it was dark and I love running through wooded trails guided by nothing but the circle of light from my headlamp. It felt so snug and nestled.

Until I hit mile 17 and bonked, big time. I hadn’t eaten much and had had no water and I was cold and miserable and this little voice inside my head said, “Cinthia, let’s stop and walk a bit, okay? Just a bit, that’s all. Just a few steps.”

It took everything to ignore that voice. I struggled and shuffled and put one doomed foot in front of another and slowly, slowly ran myself home.

When I finished it was 7 degrees. I staggered inside and collapsed on the floor. Okay, that’s a lie but it sounded dramatic, didn’t it? Actually, I staggered inside and ate all of the dinner MM had cooked. I had three servings. And then I had a big bowl of Soy Dream ice cream and a whole batch of popcorn. Then I had another big bowl of Soy Dream.  

But enough of running and food. Two days ago a mother moose and her calf visited our house and stuck around for most of the afternoon, tearing up our apple tree and pooping in our yard. It was nice to see them. I hope they come back soon.

9 thoughts on “Nineteen cold and slow miles, and two moose

  1. Karen

    1. I miss half hour sunsets.
    2. I miss moose.
    3. Don't miss the 2:30 sunsets.
    4. It was 40 and breezy on my run today and I whined a lot about it. 7 degrees makes me want to crawl under the covers and sleep right now.


  2. EB

    Great pics! I miss eating snow. Sounds like a very chilly run, but HUGE props for getting through it. I whined about my run in the 20s last week. I've become such a wimp since moving to the south!


  3. Cinthia

    Eleven weeks, Karen. Or is it 10? Whatever the case, soon you'll be trudging through single digit temps for a looonnnggg way. Or maybe we will have a heat wave, who knows, eh? P.S. Forty and breezy sounds like heaven.


  4. christa

    How cool that the moose were there. I love your pictures and I want to show them to my husband because I know he would love them, but when I do, he thinks we should move to Alaska…and I'm not doing that 🙂


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