I have running friends who live all over the country. Heck, I am lucky enough to have running friends all over the globe. Because I see pictures from all of these running friends, I am well aware that maybe half of you are enjoying some lovely weather right now. Hooray. You bring me hope.
Me and my northern friends are still in the thick of it — and I, at least, am growing increasingly bitter. March is hard when you live above the Mason-Dixon line, to say nothing of what it's like in the western mountains. We’re in the one-step-forward-five-steps-back boogie that will last until mid-April, if not further. For every day that we see just a little bit of sun, there are five more days of gray and gloom.
I keep reminding myself that our general lack of spring is the price we pay for having truly delightful summers, ones where I can count the number of days over 85 on my fingers. Future me will really like that. Current me is literally camped out next to a space heater pretending I’m in Aruba.
Still. Two weeks ago, I had a mid-morning run where I actually had to stop to figure out what I was hearing. Was I being followed? Was I having a hallucination? No and no.
It was birds. BIRDS. I’ve gotten so used to hearing nothing but wind and ice, I’d forgotten that the world has birds in it. Shortly after that, I crossed a brook that was, like, babbling because the inches of ice that trapped it had melted.
A couple of days after that, I had to pull my fleecy running pants back out. But I’m still hanging on to those birds, y’all. Between the sucky weather and my looming book deadline (it’s going as well if slowly), those birds are the only things keeping me going.
That’s not quite true. One more thing is giving me life right now. Around this time last year, I was deep into preparations for the Seneca 7, a relay race around New York’s Seneca Lake. It’s 77.7 miles total and run in teams of 7. This year, the race is on April 28 and I managed to convince six BAMRs to do it with me again.
In theory, it should be spring by then but experience is one of the world’s best teachers. Last year, we were treated to a high of 34 degrees F with snow squalls and sleet — and were all afraid that Heather might just blow into the lake. It was epic.
Despite the hours and hours it took to warm back up again, the seven of us had the best time ever. It was all of the camaraderie and silliness of a Ragnar but we all woke up in and went to sleep in real beds after indoor showers. Race navigation is delightfully straightforward, too. As long as the lake is on your left, you’re doing great.
Last year, we had team AMR tanks that were going to be super cute with capris or running skirts. Instead, we tossed the tanks over or under our coats and sweatshirts. This year, the theme will involve pink sparkles and the new Badass Mother Runner tanks. I’ll keep you posted if they are all that we’ll wear on top or if they will be a base layer.
We’ve made another improvement. We discovered that picking out your specific white rental van among the dozens of white rental vans is a chore. Thanks to eagle-eyed Marianne, Team Chafing like a Flock Star now has a giant inflatable pink flamingo to lash to the top of ours generic team van. Because we are tasteful and understated.
Sadly, we lost a few of the OG team members during the course of the year. Two bowed out because of life continuing to happen in unexpected ways; one has an uncooperative Achilles’ tendon. They will always be flock stars to us. We’ll pour out a NUUN in their honor when we round the halfway point.
Personally, the packing and planning for this adventure is helping me maintain my precious calm despite all of the ice. Last year I made a note to pack every single pair of Balegas I own into my van bag. I can deal with all manner of discomforts but wet feet make me nutty. I also need to pack a set of non-running comfy clothes because this year, I’m runner number one. My day will start sooner than everyone else's — but will be done sooner. It’ll be a nice change from being the last one out and in last year.
I haven’t given a single thought to snacks, which is unlike me.