I don't think I've expressed the disdain I sometimes feel for the actual act of running to anyone outside of my immediate group of friends, but now that the sub-freezing temps have hit Colorado (-17f windchill while running the other night), I am a somewhat bitter and need to complain a little.
Allow me to elaborate:
Running hurts. Period. The impact takes a toll on your knees and ankles, your lungs burn, and your heart feels like it's going to beat out of your chest. Blisters eat away at your feet, and fatigue sends shockwaves through your muscles. Running in the cold hurts even more.
So obviously, running itself isn't what gives me the reward and satisfaction I crave, rather, it's the contentment of having goals to chase and the rewarding sense of accomplishment that comes with completion of these. The more difficult and seemingly insurmountable the goal, the greater the reward. In addition to this, I run for the physical benefits I gain (helping my lungs), and the psychological leveling it provides. I think a 3+ hour solo run helps my psyche as much, if not more than it helps my Cystic Fibrosis.
Anyway, what I'm trying to express is that it has been especially difficult to to train the last week or so, but I have still managed to put in 4 runs in temps below 10 degrees, and one of them was in the 18 mile range. They've all been in the dark, and they've all sucked! But on the brightside, every time you run in less than ideal conditions, you are making yourself mentally tougher, and this is a key attribute to finishing ultra-distance races. It really is true in my sport: What doesn't kill you makes you stronger!
On the health subject, I had my CF checkup on Wednesday and my pulmonary functions were down about 9% from August. Back then was obviously in peak condition as this was right around Leadville, so the taper didn't come as a complete shock. My FEV1 was at 84%, down from 93%. This is really the only number of concern with CF patients as it is reading the velocity and volume of air you are able to expel in the first second after inhaling to full capacity. This is the main lung function that deteriorates because of the disease. It basically gets harder and harder to get air in or out, almost like breathing through a progressively shrinking straw. Now that training has begun again, I won't worry about the numbers too much, and in February I will provide an update on where I'm at.
P.S. The high today is going to be 42... Sounds like shorts and tee shirt for me!