There is a memorable part in the film Titanic where, in a desperate rush to save her beloved Jack, Rose takes the plunge into the freezing waters rising steadily in the lower third class corridors of the sinking ship. I later learned on IMDB that the audible gasp of shock that actress Kate Winslet let out was one of absolute surprise; director James Cameron had never told her that the set’s water, while far from the 30-40 degrees of the actual Atlantic that fateful night, was certainly below 70.
I say this because that very shock struck me this morning as I stepped outside for the first time. I had once thought (like, 3 weeks ago) that I had “braved” the cold, and had known what it was like to be out there. But the brick wall that I smacked headlong into was like plunging my head into a handful of water as I washed my face. This was happening even under six layers of wool, fleece, and polyester. In the car, the thermometer read 12 degrees. Central Park, however, was going to be 3 below with the wind chill.
I am writing this as I make my way to class. I am coaching as a sub today, but the distance is going to be perfect for my run today as well. 40 minutes easy for me, 3.5 miles for these runners. It is a beginner level group, which means a nice spread of runners going about 10-13 minutes per mile. I cannot recall the weather being so cold, so I don’t exactly know how many will show up. I would be pretty impressed if even a handful show up, and I would not blame the rest if they did not. Even for me, this is, in the most descriptive of terms, pretty fucking cold.
The run was as expected: very easy, timing around 6:30 at my fastest, but for the most part keeping in pace with the class. It was actually nice, a good mix of fast and easy all rolled into a nice 3.5 mile course. I talked the entire time, directing the runners on where to go, reminding them to pace themselves, joking about the cold, eagerly sharing my running history and the casualties along the way. From the blackened toenails of last May’s North Face Endurance Challenge 10k, to the bleeding toe sliced by my third toenail at mile 12 of the Philadelphia Half, no injury was overlooked. It grossed them out, more than likely, but I hoped that it certainly entertained them. It at least kept me distracted.