Tuesday, January 29, 2013

On (Sort Of) Shaving My Legs

Did I used to have hair there?  I think I did.  I kind of hope so because that would look really odd if I didn't.  It looks like I shaved.  How the heck did this even happen.  Liz will know.
"Liz come here for a minute."
"What's up?"
"Did I used to have hair right here on my legs?"
"I don't know."
"I think I did."
"Isn't that really weird?"
"No.  Not really.  Will you please get dressed."
Apparently the sudden alopecia of my thighs is not as universally fascinating as I suspected.  Nor is it an excuse to hang out in my boxers all day.

I am comfortable to admit that I have shaved (parts of) my legs before.  I am not one to suffer needlessly, so, after sustaining some rather vicious gashes out on the trail I shave the area around it because, honestly, I hate to pull the band-aid off.  This summer, while experimenting with some spray-on glue to keep kineso-tape in place, I also shaved prophylactically, for fear of the ripping that would result post-tape.  So any manscaping of the legs that is done is strictly utilitarian in nature (I swear!).  The newly shorn vastus medialis (on both of my legs!) however, were not intentional.

It was this past Saturday.  A frigid morning, maybe 9 degrees.  It was dark.  I had gone to bed the night before feeling as if I might be catching my older son's cold, but I still had diligently filled my handhelds, set out my gear, and set the alarm for o'dark o'clock.  The plan was to run a hilly 50 miler on a 2.82 mile out-and-back (5.64 miles/lap) on the roads near my house.  Five weeks out from my next race, this was a key workout, a last long effort.  The alarm went off.

Fortunately, the signs of sickness had passed.  Yet as I lay there, close to an hour earlier than I get up during the week I had to will my body to get up.  Motivation was low.  It got lower when I looked at our outdoor thermometer.  Alas, I had mixed up two servings of GU Roctane Brew the night before, and did not want them to go to waste.  I dressed, body-glided, made sure there was as little exposed skin as possible, shut the door and started running.

"I am here." This was my mantra.  "I am here." I want to be back in my incredibly comfortable (and warm) Tempur-Pedic.  "I am here." I want waffles.  "I am here." Am I really going to run this same section of road 16 more times? "I am here." I really need to use a bathroom . . .

Mercifully the Starbucks at the start/finish of each of my laps opens around 5:00.  After my first lap, my neck warmer frosted, I was able to make a pit stop.  Feeling much relieved, the mind started coming around.  My course took me to a great view of Boston, and as the sun rose over the city, my mantra started to make sense. "I am here." I have chosen this.  "I am here." I am moving.  "I am here." The next climb does not exist.  "I am here." There is not the beginning of the run.  The end does not exist yet.  There is only this step.  "I am here." Up the biggest climb.  "I am here." Eat one of my homemade "ginger energy balls." Take a sip of Roctane Brew . . .

A funny thing happens when you have 20 ounces of liquid outside on a day with single digit temperatures: it freezes.  "I am here." I've run 15 miles and haven't had a sip to drink. "I am here." 20 miles, no liquid.  "I am here." 22 miles.  "I am here." Why don't I stop, unscrew the top and see if I can get something out.  Roctane Brew slushy?  GOOD!  "I am here." Forward.

It was probably about 40 miles into this process, when the temperatures seemed to have rebounded, and might have been approaching freezing, my energy was high (fueled exclusively by my homemade energy balls and Roctane slushy) that I noticed I was sweating a bit and both of my quads had some superficial "burn" to them.  This was not the typical "I'm getting really tired" burn.  This felt like having a lukewarm towel on them.  Nothing serious, though I imagine this is when my legs became silky smooth.  I did not think about it any more until I got home and out of the shower and noticed these unfamiliar bald patches.  Even tonight, I remain unsure if I did, in fact, loose any hair (I think there are some prickly hairs growing back, a clue that, indeed, I did have hair there on Saturday morning).  Despite my incredible fascination with this great mystery, I think I can resist the urge and not shave the rest of my legs to match these strange patches.  If I do feel that urge, I'll just put my running tights back on and go for a longer run.