A year ago, the ground was covered in snow (lots of snow). Temperatures in January and February dipped into the single digits. I vividly remember the bitter cold; how I layered running tights, Dri-FIT apparel, and two pairs of gloves; how the water and Gatorade I carried with me to stay hydrated froze; how I begged my running friends to join me on various legs of my longest runs (they did); how thankful I was for all things warm or indoors. I cursed Mother Nature every time I lost feeling in my fingertips or slipped on ice.
And I kept running.
When I crossed the finish line of my first marathon after those months of training, it was in celebration of those moments — of the preparation and accomplishment. That finish line led to a few others and ended with a final hoorah this past November when I ran the Annapolis half marathon. This was my last race of the year and the race in which I qualified for an entry to the NYC 2012 Marathon.
Winter training is as awful as it sounds and I don’t miss being a Popsicle in running sneakers. Admittedly, my recent runs have been few and (very) far between. The phrase “I have to go out for a long training run” has been replaced by “Eh, I could go out for a run … tomorrow.” Instead, the time I would have spent running, I’ve spent in activities that I’ll incorporate into my next training plan.
I’ve learned (and laughed) a lot the past few weeks. I’ve used muscles I didn’t know I had and rested other muscles that needed it. Ironically, my daily Runners World quote today reads “I constantly remind myself that resting takes confidence. Anyone can train like a madman but to embrace rest and to allow the hard training to come out takes mental strength”. Olympian Ryan Hall made this observation and I think he knows a thing or two about running.
Somewhere between the past month and now, I downshifted into neutral. I miss running. I’m once again ready to layer up and brave the elements (as I silently urge Mother Nature to bring us an early spring). I’m looking forward to waking up early on a clear, sunny, and brisk weekend morning to jog along Kelly Drive with the sun glistening off the water from the river, or along quiet city streets before the symphony of car horns and the rev of SEPTA bus engines fill the air.
I have a few weeks to tune up before starting a training plan for my next race, much like many other Philadelphians. Race registration for the Blue Cross® Broad Street 10 mile run opens February 15. It’s 12 weeks from then until race morning, Sunday, May 6.
So, who’s with me? Who is ready to start training, bear the elements, and once again love running?
Do you have any tips, favorite routes or inspirational quotes that motivate you to keep running or start training?