I don't put much faith in rodent-based weather prediction but I remain bummed that the groundhog saw his (or her, I guess. It’s hard to tell.) shadow on Friday. Winter can stick it, y'all.
And, yeah, I said I was going to avoid talking about running in ice and snow and cold. But you know what? It’s all I think about anymore, running-wise. I check the forecast hourly and try to figure out if a 30% chance of flurries is runnable (it is) or if 13 degrees is better to run in than 11 degrees (it is - but only psychologically). I frequently take a detour on my drive home from work to see if the outdoor track has a lane plowed. I’d drive past it in the morning but it’s too dang dark. I stalk the Instagram feeds of BAMRs who live in southern climates — I’m looking at you S. Hopkins — because those pictures give me a warm feeling inside, which is the only warm feeling I’ve had in weeks.
To add insult to my chilblains, I also have a cold. My beloved husband has taken to wearing earplugs to bed, lest my snoring and snuffling wakes him up. “You can’t help it,” he said, when I offered an apology for being an annoying bedfellow. A willingness to work around your partner’s phlegm, my friends, is how you stay married for 20+ years. You've got to keep the romance alive.
Despite my cold and the cold, I was determined to get 13 miles in on Sunday. My standards for what is run-able have fallen so far that 28 degrees with a light snow is totally reasonable. Heavier snow was incoming but I was fairly certain I’d be home and warm before that happened.
Reader: I almost made it.
When the sidewalks are icy, I run up the road to our high school. Sometimes, I get lucky and I can use the track. Most of the time, I just run around the building itself because the parking lots and access driveways have been plowed. Footing is generally fine — except for Sunday morning, when the entire back half of my normal loop was a slushy, slippery mess that had an added bonus of also being a wind tunnel. Which, when coupled with my stufffy head, made for some slow miles.
Somewhere around mile four, my innate stubbornness kicked in. I knew, no matter what, I would cover 13 miles, if only to spite the weather and the germs. And, yes, I know the weather and germs couldn’t care less. Spite is seldom logical.
The snow started in earnest about ten miles in. I’d like to say that I had some great epiphany and made peace with the season and my place in it but I really just keep running. After three long miles, I made it home. I took a nice warm shower, did some desk work, and took a small nap. Given that is was Superbowl Sunday, I then ate my weight in ‘roni balls, a northwestern Pennsylvania football favorite we’ve imported to our New York kitchen. It was a pretty fine day, frankly.
The question you might be asking is, “Why did you need to run 13 miles?”
My answer is, “Because 14 miles would be silly.”
I kid. My answer actually is, “Because I’m running a half marathon in early March with a bunch of BAMRs who I don't see enough and I want to be able to enjoy our time together after the race without feeling like I’ve been run over by a Zamboni.”
The best part is that we picked a race in Florida, where the weather will be warmer and sunnier than where I am, no matter what freakish front blows through. I’d be lying if fantasies of beaches and palm trees didn’t help pull me through my Sunday long run. In February, we have to work with what we can muster, even if it is just spite and daydreams.
Anyone else plotting a race just to get away from the weather this time of year? And do people come north in the summer to do the same?