Saturday, January 22, 2005

The Ice Man Cometh.


My first race of the Marathon year. I wake up. It's 5am. It's beyond frigid outside. The radio on my nighttable woke me at the moment the weather was on. 3 degrees was the reading, and with the added wind gust of about 20 miles per hour, well, just imagine.

Last week I sat at my new desk in Manhattan for MCI on 51st & Lex. I noticed a SuperRunner's shop inside of Grand Central Station. I went in, and had purchased several items. Two were going to be very handy today.... The turtle and the gator. Take a look:


My turtle hat, my gator ski mask. I bought both, and to tell you the truth, I look like a criminal! It would come in handy today though because between that, and this:

my Asics GoreTex wind-breaker jacket that I purchased the year before, and,

my winter long leg tights, I was prepared for the cold. But was I?

The biting cold made it's way through me as I left my car at the municipal lot under the "7" train in Long Island City. I usually park here to avoid the nightmare of finding parking in Manhattan. This morning, I parked my car near the Sunnyside Movie Theatre where I'd had seen Jaws a long, very long, time ago. It was ominously gray, and void of life to the point that I was nearly surprised to see the "7" actually come.

About 40 minutes, and two trains later, I get off at 86th & Lex, and made my way over to the park. More runners, I noticed, are making their way to the park too. 'Good. I'm not the only psycho.' I thought to myself.

I went into the Port-O-San for one final pee, and for all the toilet paper that I could muster to take with me. When it's cold out, my sinuses go haywire, and it makes it real tough to breathe with all those snots in my nose!

The race started, and the little warmth I had from being huddled with a bunch of shivering peeps, had soon dissipated. I could not believe how cold I felt, even with all my armament!

The run was going well, despite the trapped sweat becoming increasingly apprarent, and irritating. And then, it was time to wipe my nose of all the mucus. When I did, I was about to shove the tissue under the waist of my spandex pants, when I noticed what was on that tissue...."WHOA!! BLOOD!!!!"

Apparently, it had gotten so cold, that my blood vessels in my nose had broken, and blood had been flowing freely down my nose. Unfortunately, I have no gruesome visuals, but a musical nut that I am, perhaps this album cover can give you the gist of it...

I had read somewhere that if you keep wiping a bloody nose, that one thing for sure would happen. It would keep bleeding. I wasn't sure what to do. Run with my head up? What if I trip? Or get dizzy? Then what. Mother Nature however had the perfect answer. Freeze it. Within minutes all the sticky stuff coming out of my nose had frozen. I must have looked like a maniac when I crossed that finish line that day. I don't even remember how many people got even close to me, but I do remember one great moment in the train afterwards.

So I get back on the 6 train heading southbound. I don't have an available seat (incredible. even on a Saturday morning) so I am standing. People are looking at me, and I realize what they are looking at. My frozen blood. Insane turned to morbose soon however, as the warmth in the train, thawed out my "nosicles" to the point that they start breaking off and falling onto the train floor. Blood and mucus in ice form breaking on the floor. At this point, I felt like a real tough dude! No one was going to mess with me!!

Welcome to the first completed race of your comeback New York City Marathon year, Alex.