Readying myself for battle I donned my armour. A full arsenal of running apparel, including shirts, jackets, hats, gloves, and long underwear — each in multiple quantities. 27 articles of clothing in all. Enough to make even the most sainted nun feel secure in a night of strip poker against the devil himself.
I would do laps around the neighbourhood. Stepping into the warmth of heart and home every 15-30 minutes. A hot coffee, Gatorade, water, and D awaiting me on each return. 5.22 kilometres on my first outing. A quick check-in and back out for another 5.91 kilometres. At this point I am less than 19 kilometres away from finishing my appointed 30 km run. And less than 3 km from completing 100 km for the week.
At -41C with the windchill, the conditions are perilously formidable. My form is bulky and unwieldy, weighted down as it is by the heft of so many layers of clothing. My vision occluded by the frost on my lashes that forms within minutes of exposure. And my breathing laboured through a makeshift face mask.
I look at D and before I utter a word, he already knows what I’m about to say. This is my final outing. I will complete my 100 kilometres. But I cede the 30 kilometre goal. Mother Nature wins this round. She is too strong. And I, not strong enough.
However I’d like to think myself as noble in defeat. Savvy in surrender. I did run more than 14 kilometres in by far the coldest most extreme conditions I have ever faced. And I’d like to think that Mother Nature herself would capitulate on this icy morning even a modicum of respect for her vanquished foe. A hint of a smile and a tip of her floral-topped chapeau in my direction.
Coming in out of the cold I enjoy a hero’s welcome from D. He props a hot bowl of soup in front of me and any wounds to my ego are immediately salved.
Today I wasn’t strong enough. But tomorrow is another day.