Tuesday, January 24, 2012

45 degrees in 10 miles?

The plan for Saturday was that I was going to run the backroads from our house in Belle Fourche to Spearfish, where I would meet the rest of the family before heading out to lunch and bowling to celebrate my wife's birthday. Conveniently, it's almost exactly 20 miles from our driveway to my office if I follow the backroads and weave around Spearfish in a specific way. Also convenient is the fact that my office has a shower, so I wouldn't have to stink up the Chinese restaurant or the bowling alley with 20 miles worth of sweat.

Not so convenient was the weather when I woke up. The forecast had called for a high of 45 that day in Belle, but when I woke up it was only 3 degrees. WTF? I quickly checked the current weather conditions in Spearfish and found that it was 48 degrees there. Double WTF?? As the crow flies, Belle and Spearfish are only about 10 miles apart. Was there really a 45 degree difference in those 10 miles? Several times, I've driven to work in the morning to find Spearfish 20 degrees warmer (it's position up against the Black Hills tends to lead to inversions, trapping warm air in), but 45 degrees seemed a bit extreme.

Of course the bigger question was, if it really was that much warmer in Spearfish, what the hell was I supposed to wear for my run? Forty five is shorts and t-shirt weather. Three is, well, not. I ultimately decided on something in between....less clothing than I would wear for a typical 3 degree run, but more than I would for a 45 degree run. As I started running south toward Spearfish, I couldn't really tell if the air temp was rising or if it was just the fact that I was producing heat and keeping warm (having a northerly wind at my back certainly didn't hurt). Then, about 10 miles along my route, just as I was nearing the backside of Lookout Mtn and the outskirts of Spearfish, I felt the wind shift to the southwest and an associated definite, sharp increase in the temperature. I paused to shed a couple of layers of shirts, my gloves and my hat. By the time I finished my run, the bank clocks in town were reading low 50s, although the stiff wind and cloud cover made it feel a little cooler. Still, significantly higher than the 3 degrees I started out in.

It never did really warm up in Belle that day. After lunch and an attempt at bowling (the bowling alley was full, so we couldn't get a lane) we returned home. When we left Spearfish, it was 53, back in Belle it was still 24. That warm air never did make it 10 miles to the north.

An odd occurrence for sure, but at least it worked out the way it did. It would have REALLY sucked to start out in Spearfish in shorts and a t-shirt and end up freezing my arse off in Belle.


mike_hinterberg said...

A crazy difference -- but then again, Spearfish sticks out in my mind as the site of a world-record temperature rise of 49 degrees in two minutes!

Funny to me that you were concerned about being sweaty in the bowling alley and Chinese restaurant. In Spearfish, SD. I'm not putting those places down at all -- in fact, I enjoy being casual and can mostly get away with it here -- but it's not exactly Manhattan!

Chris said...

Yup, Spearfish's claim to fame. After that temperature gain, it then plummeted 58 degrees in a half hour.

You've obviously never been bowling or to Chinese in Spearfish. Very high society affairs! Seriously, if it were Walmart I wouldn't have cared. In fact, several times I have ended my Belle to Spearfish run at Walmart and didn't think twice about wandering around emanating runner funk and guzzling chocolate milk straight outta the as-yet-unpaid-for carton.