The past two week’s worth of training, in short, have been a Bruce Springsteen song. This one. Really, just one line in the song, then line about being tired and bored with myself. Because I am.
It’s still winter here, in case you missed the coverage of the snowmageddon and have spent the last week with your head in a bucket, which is totally your choice and I won’t judge. As I type, big, fat, fluffy flakes of snow are coming down. It’s a picture postcard of all that you could want a New England-y snow to be. It’s just darn scenic out there.
I dig winter. I like the hush and the thrill of new snow. Blizzards are cozy-making when you know you are warm and dry and well-stocked with the beverages and baked goods of your choice.
I am, however, so freaking tired and bored with schlepping to the gym to run very slowly on a treadmill that I might just bite someone. When my 6 a.m. alarm goes off, I just want to slap it back off again, not because I don’t want to run, but because I don’t want to get up in the dark, put on running clothes, put on sweatpants, tie my boots, grab my Brooks Ghost 6s and heart rate monitor and phone, zip my bulky parka, pull on gloves tromp out the door, brush snow off of my car, drive to the gym, clomp up to the locker room, strip most of the layers back off again, tie my sneakers, find an open treadmill, and run to nowhere.
I mean. Seriously. So. Many. Steps.
It doesn’t even feel like a thing that should be complained about because it’s such a First World problem. I have enough perspective to know that. I also am enough of an adult to know that before too terribly long, I’ll be able to yank on some running gear and start my workout from my front porch. Right now, however, all of the logistics required to get a simple run in are bringing me down. The fact that I am irked by something that is so not really a big deal is what has put me in Bruce Springsteen mode. I was tempted to not even write a column because it’s been such an enervating couple of weeks.
But here we are.
This past Sunday the weather co-operated long enough for me to take my long run outside. I want to say it was bliss — and it was lovely to cover seven miles on mostly clear sidewalks in not completely frigid temps — but it was still gross out there. Plus my heart rate wasn’t being terribly co-operative for the last 3 miles, which meant that I had to keep to an almost walk so that my ticker could stay in range. But slow and gross outside is still a change from slow and soul-crushingly dull inside so I’m putting it in the win column.
See what I mean? I just can’t shake myself out of this mid-winter running funk and grouse. Blarg.
One of the most useful expressions my Dad taught me is: You are entitled to the work; not the reward, which is what he’d remind me of every time luck didn’t happen to break my way. Over time, I’ve come to more fully what this means. All I can do is invest in the process itself and focus too much on the end result. And, right now, I am still invested — but am not enjoying it very much.
Which means that I’ve been spending a lot of my treadmill time thinking about where I would rather be running. This fantasizing may simply be making the situation worse, I know, but it’s the straw I’m grasping right now. When I’m listening to the AMR podcast, I dream about running in Portland, which I imagine is a lot like running through Middle Earth, with all of the trees and ferns and beards. I nearly never dream of running in Denver because the altitude might kill me. Besides, there’s snow there, too. Sorry, Dimity.
I dream even bigger, of course, and cruise through the Runner’s World Rave Run photos like a junkie. My current computer wallpaper is this one, even thought I'm pretty sure that location is under several feet of snow for most of the year. I wonder what it would be like to run in Hawaii. And New Zealand. And pretty much anywhere that isn't right here right now.
Help me come up with other ideas, mother runner. Where have you had your best runs, the ones where the temperature is perfectly cool and the scenery divine? Spare no detail.