|See Rod's feet? They're that way for a reason.|
What happens when you sign up for a race in the middle of winter? It means that you have to train outside when it is cold. What happens when you sign up for a long race in the middle of winter in Chicago? It means you’ll have to run many miles outside in the freezing cold. It also means that you run the risk of catching a cold and not being able to run the race and now you’ve done a bunch of cold weather runs where your nose practically fell off for naught.
I am in no way implying that I caught a cold because I went and ran outside in the cold. I realize it doesn’t work that way. I place catching of said cold squarely on Mr. H. And Mr. H. caught his cold that he so generously shared with the rest of the family (he’s a giver that one) from the play place we went to on Southport to entertain baby H. because staying in the house one more minute with a 2.5 year old just wasn’t an option.
So the cold-weather running wasn’t the culprit. However, I do think it helped heighten the chances that we could catch colds because running 12 miles taxes your immune system just a wee bit. Doing it in 20 degree weather along the lake front path in Chicago probably taxes it just a notch (or several notches) more. So despite the fact that Mr. H. and I are pretty damned healthy, and we take lots of vitamins and drink electrolytes after our runs and wear appropriate clothing and all that, our immune systems kinda took the day off and said the heck with it, and we got colds...the week before our race.
What’s even worse, these colds settled in our chest. And the conventional wisdom is that you can run with a head cold but not a chest cold. So even though Mr. H. was bound and determined to be miraculously healthy come Saturday morning at 10 a.m., he was not. And I wasn’t about to push myself either, even though, dammit, I trained for this half marathon and not running a half marathon after you trained for it really sucks.
So this post was going to be an update on my most recent race. But instead it’s a cautionary tale to all you would be cold-weather runners out there not to f’ing bother. You’re just going to get sick and then where will you be? You’ll have shelled out money to run a race in January that you can’t run without risking the loss of a lung or passing out somewhere around mile 8. Not to mention all the money you’ll save on cold weather running clothes (tights, jackets, hats, gloves, thermal underwear for Christ’s sake!). So just stay inside slowly going crazy with your husband and your 2-year old until March or April or May – this is Chicago after all.