I grin as I scrape the ice off my moustache. It's condensation from my breath that has frozen during the past hour.

Two caps ... two sets of mittens ... three shirts ... thick socks ... two pairs of shorts ... and my wife's old black tights to cover my legs. That's what I'm wearing this Saturday morning. When the temperature is between 5 and 10 degrees Fahrenheit (about -15 Celsius) and you're going out for a jog, dressing in layers is more important than fashion.

"Over Hillandale" is a 5 miler held on 10 January 2004 by the Montgomery County Road Runners Club. Friend KS and I take it together, chatting throughout the 53+ minutes that we spend on the course. We keep a comfortable pace and thoroughly enjoy the race, thanks to superb work by the organizers and dozens of volunteers who clearly were much colder than the runners.

At the two mile water stop there's ample ice in the cups as we arrive on the initial leg of the out-and-back route. Ten minutes later when we return past the same spot I find that the water has almost all solidified. I poke at it but can't break through to get a drink. It's colder than last winter when a water bottle in my hand froze after 4 miles of a solo jog. Antifreeze is clearly needed --- 50% ethanol, perhaps?!

As on many other frigid jaunts I take heart whenever the sun sneaks out from behind the clouds. I remember a lovely scene in the 1971 movie of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's great novel. Victims of the Gulag are building a wall in the Siberian wilderness at 20 below zero. Suddenly sunbeams emerge and splash across the prisoners, rainbow-reflecting from the ice in their beards. They turn their faces toward the light and grin.

(see also GreatWriters (2 Jan 2003), JogLogFog4 (20 Apr 2003), ... )

TopicRunning - TopicPersonalHistory - 2004-01-15

(correlates: GreatWriters, PeasantWishes, Arkhipelag Gulag, ...)