Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Let's Talk About the Weather

The snow is falling. Again. It will be followed by a coating of a quarter-inch of ice. Again. And the temperature on a good day this week will hit a high of 25 degrees.

I'm not sure that this winter could be any crueler.

The other day I delighted in an afternoon that brought just enough sun that I could run in only one pair of tights, instead of two. I shed my usual third top layer and traded in my fleece hat for a head band to keep my ears covered. There was nothing frozen falling from the sky. It was liberating. It was also short-lived.

I don't mean to whine or complain--there is nothing anybody can do about the weather and nobody is forcing me to train for the Boston Marathon--but I think my core body temperature has been hovering somewhere around "really cold" since early November. 

The view from my window

I was thinking about all of this the other day during an easy run. I planned a nice little out-and-back jaunt on a course I use on days I don't feel like dealing with a lot of hills. As I plodded along, trying to share a road narrowed by ice and snow accumulation with a plethora of school buses, I started convincing myself that I was getting acclimated to the difficulty of it all: the constant shivering, the loss of motivation, the ability to cut myself some slack when conditions are unsafe to get out there. Oh, and the addition of shoveling as cross-training.

"I'm getting tough," I thought. Well, I've always been on the tough side. Tougher, perhaps?

After a few miles, it was time to turn around. So I did. And it hit me like a slap in the face: a headwind that just ripped right through all those layers like I hadn't taken the additional 30 minutes out of my morning to put them all on.   

My tougher self trudged on, realizing that the remaining miles would be anything but easy. While I've developed a "suck-it-up-and-deal" training (and life) philosophy, it didn't stop me from noticing that I hadn't even felt the tailwind for the first half of the run. No doubt it was there, easing my effort. 

So, I made a silent promise to myself to take note and savor those times in my life when the wind is at my back, helping me along, allowing me time to gather strength. It's when things seem well that I can let my gratitude wane, perhaps taking the good times a little too much for granted.

Because, let's face it: These days you just never know when you're going to turn around and be forced to fight a nasty headwind.