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Martini Fridays: Like the Boss

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.

I put this here for women in their 40s who spent some quality time during their teen years enjoying the cut of Bruce's pants.
I put this here because I love a good photo of a red baseball cap.

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.

A scene from Sunday's run. Snow! Ice! A touching message!
A scene from Sunday's run. Snow! Ice! A touching message!

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.

26 responses to “Martini Fridays: Like the Boss

  1. Thanks for the post Adrienne and for spurring me down memory lane. It’s nice to have an excuse to think about the perfect runs!
    Last fall I did a long run on our local trails during peak color week. The temperature was a perfect 62 degrees and the sky with the brightest blue. There was a small breeze that shook the reds and oranges from their branches and left them drifting in my path. The leaves making a very satisfying “shushing” noise as I dragged my feet through them. I passed over cool streams and near still, clear ponds where the Canada geese had started to gather for their trip south. The vineyards I passed were so near harvest that the smell of young wine hung in the air.
    At the end of my 15 miles was the shores of Lake Michigan where my husband had agreed to meet me. He had gotten there early and I was greeted by my two children, soaked from the waist down with the last lake romp of the year. We watched them play while I stretched a bit then found our way to a favorite haunt for a cheese burger and beer.
    Right now the trail is buried in a few feet of snow. This time of year it belongs to the skiers with their long legs and poles, but come April it will be mine again!

  2. Adrianne, thank you for your posts. I enjoy your frank approach. Last week when you posted your run in the snow where you were counting the times you looped the garbage can I thought “If she can get out in the snow and run, I can get out here in sunny CA and do it”. Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Adrienne! I love this post and I so enjoy your style and wit. I love laughing with you as I relate in so many ways to the challenges you face in your runs, especially regarding climate and your distaste for the treadmill. I too believe Sarah’s wooded areas to be much like Middle Earth and thought I would burst when you described it this way! 🙂 For me, my best runs are near a lake in Maine we visit briefly each summer. The hills are treacherous but wildlife abounds, the greenery provides spots of shade, and there is a peace to running in the woods that I just can’t duplicate in my regular neighborhood. The very best part though is the final stretch of every run when I careen down the steep dirt road, almost out of control, arrive at the camp, remove my shirt and shorts and jump into our secluded area of the lake in my skivvies!

  4. I absolutely understand! We lived just outside of Watertown for many years and winter running was painful. So. Much. Snow. If I had to think of a place to run, it would either be in the 1812 battlefield that was in our town in northern NY, or in my hometown in Maine. The battlefield runs alongside Lake Ontario and I still miss my 5k route by the lake. The route in my hometown is along the Atlantic coast in Downeaster Maine. Aaaahhh…

  5. I just totally geeked out over your choice of wallpaper! I can’t imagine a better run than one through Glacier National Park. Adding this to my ever-growing bucket list of must-do runs!

  6. It never fails…I have always had my best runs at my friend’s lake house at Coxton Lake in Pennsylvania. My husband and I get to go up for a toddler-free overnight (thanks to my parents free babysitting offer), with lots of games, food, swimming, drinking, and chatting til the wee hours. We go up to visit every July, but it never fails that the dewpoint every morning is in the 40s, and the temperature is always a good 10 degrees cooler than it should be, due to all the tree coverage. I run an 8 mile loop over rolling hills, passing tree after tree after tree, waterfalls and brooks, lovely animal fare (deer, horses, chickens, cows, porcupines, dogs, hawks), all with dappled morning sun and a cool air. It doesn’t matter how late I stay up the night before, or how much I choose to imbibe….I am ALWAYS up at first light, and coming right back home as everyone else is rolling out of bed to make the coffee. No, it is not the DR, or Colorado, or Africa. But for me, this little lake up in NorthEast PA is just like heaven…at least for an hour or so once a summer.

  7. I feel EXACTLY like you do right now! I’m signed up for the Pgh full in May, and have only ran up to 7 miles so far. Not good! Just can’t get motivated to brave the outdoors and the treadmill is so boring! I feel like it takes me forever to run even 3 miles on it! But….1st world problems, we’re lucky to have, like you said! Spring will be here eventually!

  8. I live in the northeast, so I get to deal with extreme winters and summers- not to mention the never ending hills! For me, a nice break from all of that is running while on vacation. We go to Corolla in the Outer Banks, so not only is it nice and flat, but it is scenic as well. The weather is always fantastic in September, too!

  9. I love, running in DC. It is very grand to run along the National Mall or near the White House. I am there a couple times a year and always do my best to fit a run in. It is way more glamorous than running through my neighborhood in suburban Oklahoma on repeat…..

  10. I still look back fondly at my runs in San Francisco when I was there on business nearly 8 years ago. We were staying in the financial district and I’d get up early each morning (I tried to keep my body on TX time) and run down to the Embarcadero and pick a direction (left or right) to turn and just go. The temps were awesome (June in SF is so much kinder than June in DFW) and it was beautiful running as the city woke up. Plus, it made me feel less guilty about all the fan-freaking-tastic food I’d eat the rest of the day. 🙂

  11. You had me at: “I put this here because I love a good photo of a red baseball cap.”

    Keep on being awesome! You are an inspiration : )

  12. This fall I had the pleasure of running on the Lakewalk in Duluth, MN while I was there for a mini vacation. It was fabulous. I ran and watched the sunrise over Lake Superior. I took a lot of pictures. I looked like a crazed runner/tourist.

  13. Love the pictures 🙂
    I also am enjoying reading the AMR comments.
    Right now I am looking forward to a trip to see my mom in FL. She lives less than a mile from a rail/trail, and running in warm, even hot, weather is appealing.
    I have a variety of beautiful places to run right outside my door in NNY. I don’t mind the snow packed roads, it is the bitter cold that is a challenge. Especially this weekend when it is barely expected to get above zero.
    I often run when we travel, unless it is a hiking oriented trip, and then I hike instead. It is a great way to explore a new place.
    Vieques was one of the more exotic places I have run. Ocean views, mountains and wild horses.

  14. I was just in Scottsdale for vacation. Did two beautiful long runs during our stay. One along the canal that allowed me to take in the sites of the mountains around me. The other alongside Camelback Mountain (that I had just climbed the day before). Living in Minnesota, even the sparse green and some flowers in Arizona was a breath of fresh air and being able to run without snotcicles was awesome! Now back in Minnesota…whomp…whomp… I feel your pain!

  15. I lucked out with mild, outside run-worthy temperatures on Sunday. I just hid all of the gadgets and ran what I wanted. But I’m not training for anything so I can do what I want 😉 I keep reminding myself that so far, in Indiana, it has not been as bad as last winter. I can trudge to the car and drive to the gym without my car getting stuck on the street.

    An aside, running in Colorado is a breath suck but it’s so fabulous. You should do it – in the spring, when there’s no so. I always struggle when we go out there but love the change in scenery.

  16. Honestly, living north of Denver in full view of the mountains, my most beautiful runs are right out my front door. There’s a lake less than 1 mile away with the kind of gravel path that works for running even when it’s icy. Looking west over the lake to see the mountains, well, it’s simply breathtaking.

  17. Early morning beach runs, of course I’m always on vacation when beach running so that tends to help my overall feeling of peace and calm 🙂

  18. I kind of miss running in “weather” so I run in rain here in Arizona any chance I can get. I start my run at 4:30 and am home about an hour later as I have to drive 45 min one way to work….I do NOT miss driving in snow though as I remember so many times I was fishtailing on black ice on highways with 100 lbs of of cement bags or concrete in my trunk…
    My favorite local place to run right now is a 7 mile loop in my neighborhood that incorporates about two miles of gradual uphill. I never see ANYONE and I have a view of the Santa Rita mountains/sunrise when I run it. My best memory is running the Grand Canyon. (two single crossings/one double crossing) Those images will forever be burned in my memory!

  19. When I ran the Gettysburg Marathon last Spring, it was a very tough race, but I remember at about mile 16 looking over the PA “mountains” and just thinking – this is why we do this. It was so beautiful!

  20. My favorite run is a trail run near the cabin where I grew up. It’s a mostly flat 7 mile loop along a river. The smell of the trees and sound of the river are glorious. Plus chipmunks everywhere!

  21. Oh my gosh! Shawnee – when I went to the Lincoln Memorial in 2000 we saw a fox – he came right out of the bushes, did his business, gave all of the tourists the stink eye, and went back in. It was hysterical!

  22. Some of my favorite runs are the ones that are over the same area again and again. I love fall runs down the roads in my area. All have hills but it is the tree colors that draw me in again and again. Top that with the noises from the animals and the running creeks and I call it perfection.

  23. A couple years ago I was in DC for work in the summer, and they were having a cooler break from the usual hot & humid. I ran early one morning from my hotel near the Capitol building up the mall to the top of the Lincoln Monument steps, where I watched the sun rise. It. Was. So. Cool. Also, I saw a fox!

  24. Great job overcoming the blahs to get it done anyhow. I too have been thinking about the contract between action/result or system/goal or, as you say, work/reward of late.

    I’ve been lucky to run in Portland a few times and agree it is lovely. Your post is extra fitting because last night I was scrolling through my Strava runs and enjoying how they keep a memory of my travels for me.

    Some other great places for running:
    1. The ocean trail in Long Beach California (thanks conference hotel!)
    2. Forbidden Drive in Philadelphia – Trees, no cars, cool bridges. This might be my favorite place I’ve ever run and I am sorry I only lived nearby for a year.
    3. Anywhere with other memories. For me this has meant rediscovering places as a runner that I knew in other versions of my life – my hometown, my grandma’s town, an old friend’s neighborhood, etc.

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