(Beer) Running Update No. 2: A Cold Middle Finger

To my knowledge, I’ve never been flipped off while out on a run.  I’ve wanted to flip off a few drivers, but kept it to a “what the hell” kind of a shrug. I’ve even been hit by a car while out on a run. But that’s not “the finger” I’m talking about. Most of my runs lately have been out in the cold spring air. Cloudy. 20s, 30s and a few 40s for temperatures.  And for some reason, during these runs, my middle finger on my left hand gets really cold. Just my middle finger.

No, I can’t explain it. I do tend to tense up my shoulders and arms too much during a run.  Maybe I’m pinching off a nerve or constricting some blood flow, or something. I don’t know. It gets so cold sometimes I try and wrap it up in my shirt to warm it up a bit. Weird.

We’re now in our 6th out of 18 weeks of the Run Wild Missoula training schedule for the Missoula Marathon.  Aside from a few new aches and pains, training is going well and I feel quite a bit stronger than in last year’s group, my first year of running. I’ve logged 156 miles in training thus far. My “speed” has returned after a low-effort winter and is even improving a bit. This Sunday, we’ll run a 13 miler, my longest since last October.  I’m looking forward to it. Last year, I wondered if I could even get that far.  This year, it’s only half way to my goal and it already feels like a comfortable distance.  Wow, what a difference a year makes.

Tuesday was a bright sunny day in Missoula with temperatures finally reaching the upper 50s.  I ran the fastest 5 miles I’ve ever run.  (Which ain’t saying much).  Wednesday?  Started out sunny. But by the time our group training run started, a cold rain was falling and temperatures were barely above 40.  After 9 miles, we were soaked. All the way to the bone. I’m not a fan of running in the rain, so I’ve never invested in rain gear for running. I wasn’t really prepared to run in the cold rain, but that’s the effect of having a training schedule. The Marathon isn’t going to run itself and you sure can’t fake it. Note to self:  rain soaked running shorts cause significant chafing in unwanted places.

If the Missoula spring continues on this course, I may need to invest in rain, snow and ice gear.  I shivered my way home, hopped in a hot shower, layered on some warm clothes and – what else – cracked open a craft beer (this time, a Big Sky Irish Stout). Sometimes you deserve a reward for a bit of personal perseverance. The good news?  I didn’t notice my cold middle finger.  I was too busy trying to feel my arms.