Monday, December 10, 2007

Offensive linemen sometimes wear short sleeves in cold weather to try and get inside the heads of their opponents. Steelers great Mike Webster was well-known for this, and it fits Webster's mentality: he played 17 NFL seasons and the estimated 250,000 blows to the head he endured caused brain damage, which in turn caused him to commit suicide five years ago. Brain damage wasn't my desired outcome in wearing shorts for today's hilly, snowy 10.8-kilometre race. I just wanted to get inside Riyaad's head and make him think I was tougher than I actually was.

It's hard to speak with certainty, but I think the ploy worked, at least on myself. I beat Riyaad, who gamely finished with a pulled calf, and I even ran better than I'd hoped for, finishing 8th overall in 41:22 (3:50/km). I love running in snowy weather and I love running hills, and the Egg Nog Jog combines both. It's run on unplowed country roads that ascend and descend massive hills. Needless to say, I was looking forward to this race all year.

After I broke free of the pack after 8k and was running by myself in blowing snow, I wondered whether the shorts had anything to do with it. I think they did. You can't hide out from the cold in wimpy tights if you want to run well, you need to embrace the cold by wearing shorts and getting snow in your stubble.

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