13.1 in the bitter cold (not me, silly)
I feel the need to boast a little about St. Elmo.
This past Saturday morning, he along with 4,300+ runners, braved 14 degree weather to run the Manhattan Half Marathon. A little over two loops of Central Park, they beat the steep Harlem Hills and Cat Hill twice, and raced uphill to the finish line (NYRR loves to end races going up a hill – they are evil).
We knew it was going to be cold. We knew it might be a bit windy. And we knew that humidity might be an issue and create a bone-chilling coldness that bites. Unfortunately for us, we were mostly right on. It was hella cold!
St. Elmo was running this, as was my crazy friend Jules (who on average runs 4-5 marathons a year). They were both aiming to run a sub-two hour half, as neither had done any real training leading up to this. For St. Elmo, this would be the longest distance he’s run since he ran this same race back in 2008.
The alarm went off at 6AM. He got ready while I laid in bed. Unfortunately, he didn’t have the proper running attire at my place and instead had to layer himself in a cotton t-shirt and cotton long-sleeved shirt under his running jacket. Cotton is the absolute worst thing you can wear when running in any extreme temperature – hot or cold.
I planned on watching and cheering with another friend, JT, behind the Met Museum. We both layered up, grabbed some coffee and took our place behind the museum to catch them on their second loop around the park at mile 8. First we saw Jules run by, telling us we were crazy. We were so busy talking to her as she ran by that I almost missed seeing St. Elmo go by. He was only about 15 yards behind Jules. I happened to turn my head and make eye contact with him while saying “oh, there he is!” as he went by.
After they passed, we headed to the finish to watch them come in. This time I was paying attention and caught St. Elmo as he ran toward the finish line. I had to call out his name because he was running along the other side of the road and didn’t see us at first.
I had luckily grabbed a sweatshirt for St. Elmo to change into after the race, because on our post-race excursion to Bed, Bath & Beyond (hey, might as well run errands while I’m out and about and close to BB&B), he took the opportunity to change out of his wet, cold cotton shirts that were freezing to his chest into something warm and dry.
I was very proud of both St. Elmo and Jules as they both ran the race in around 1:50, besting their expectation by 10 minutes. That’s really good. If I had been running, I’d have taken another hour to finish. At least.
I was amazed at the men running in singlets and shorts. Numerous men had icicles hanging from their beards or ears or heads. It was quite a sight. I really had to salute those brave souls to run with frozen limbs and toes, runny noses, wind burned cheeks. It was painful just standing there dressed for the arctic and looking like a giant green marshmallow (my ski jacket is green).
Next major race for St. Elmo will be another half in Washington DC at the end of March. I, meanwhile, have a paltry 5K in early March. My next half will hopefully be the Brooklyn Half in May, when I can redeem myself after last year’s horrible performance.
Oh, and a random little nugget you might not think of (I didn’t), Sport Beans freeze. St. Elmo had to spit out a mouth full of too crunchy frozen beans mid-run. They do, however, thaw out and are quite tasty then.