I wound up taking just a leeetle bit more time off after the Philly Half than I’d intended to. What with holiday travel and the end of the semester, eight or nine days went by before I managed to lace up my Brooks Ghost 6s and head out for a 3 mile run.
(An aside: can I mention how irritating it is to finally find a pair of running shoes you love only to have them discontinued and/or replaced with a new model? I know, I know. There are Ghost 7s but I fear change. First, they came for my favorite socks and I said, well, not nothing but very little. Now they’ve come for my Ghost 6s. Weenies.)
By the time Friday rolled around, given a long workweek and some extended family angst that is not worth exposing to the internet as a whole, I was more than ready to burn off some excess brooding during a long run on Saturday morning. When I woke up, however, the weather wasn’t cooperating. The temperature was just above freezing, which was good enough, but the skies were sheeting rain.
Because I am a delicate flower who isn’t in training for anything until March 2015, I decided to throw myself into some vigorous housekeeping and save the long run for Sunday, even though I knew it would be about 19 degrees then.
For once, the weather folk were right. Sunday dawned so cold that I was happy I neither a) owned a brass monkey nor b) left him out all night. Just getting started was a chore. I’d been away from long runs long enough that I couldn’t remember how Herr Garmin worked and fumbled at it a bit before I could really get going.
Six miles later, I was full of discoveries. I learned that there is a temperature below which your iPhone will simply turn itself off. I learned that 75+ minutes on the frozen tundra can calm any emotional irritation. I learned that, sometimes, you just can’t get your tush muscles to warm up, even when you stand directly in front of the wood stove after the run. And I learned that Pop Culture Happy Hour’s Glen Weldon’s analysis of The Year Without a Santa Claus can make you laugh like a loon even when your face is frozen.
So while it wasn't the fastest or best-est run I’ve had, it was, if nothing else, educational.
I have the same response to running in the winter as a goldfish does to the castle in her bowl: surprised each time it turns up. It’s like I forget how punishing those sub-freezing runs are two seconds after the spring thaw finally comes. Yes, I totally feel like a badass for the rest of the day if I’ve run through frigid temps — but I’m not sure that makes up for how much my body dreads dashing out the door.
Which leads me to pondering my winter running options, because it looks like the season of snow and cold is finally here. My college’s indoor track is still available and perfect for shorter runs, like speedwork or 30 minute easy days. But by the tiny circuit does a number on my knees for any distance longer than that. There’s the treadmill, which, is, again, great for short runs but decidedly un-fun for longer. I have no perfect solution, here. Just a lot of whining and keeping an eye on the forecast and sidewalk conditions.
But my big running conundrum right now is my upcoming job change, which will move me from a job with more flexible hours into one with set hours. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to be in an office from 8:30 - 4:30 and had to fit running around that. Right now, I’m thinking that I’ll just have to get up extra-extra early to get some sweat in, which means that the runs will be even colder and I’ll fall asleep even earlier than my usual 10 p.m., maybe even before my kids.
I need to tap the mother runner hive mind: how do you work running in around your day job? What pockets of time am I missing? And how do you not wind up taking two showers?