A bitter wind nips at my face, burning my nostrils, but it feels good to be running outside despite the cold air. Our neighborhood is especially quiet this morning. The children and most adults have already left for school and work. The few who haven’t have no doubt taken comfort in the warmth of their houses, leaving the outdoors to those of us brave enough to venture out.
As I make my laps, a few flakes drift down. Through even the smallest of crystals, I can taste the impending spring weather, still a few weeks away, on the tip of my tongue. The sun pokes through a cloud opening but even its bright rays aren’t able to provide any measurable warmth. Still, it’s good to see it, if only briefly, and it makes me smile inside.
I think to myself, “having someone beside me running is the best feeling in the world,” and I look up at her, wagging my tail. She reaches down to pat my head and offers a few soft words of encouragement. Her spirit gives me a renewed energy and, together, we end up running longer than I ever have before.
When we get back home, she goes upstairs and I get a long drink of cool water and wait for her to come back. After awhile, she returns and we sit together on the couch. I lay my head in her lap and she strokes my ear, telling me how well I did today. I let out a deep sigh, close my eyes, and think that maybe this feeling is even better.
As told by Buddy.
Filed under My Dog, Running
It’s cold outside.
I’m training for several upcoming 5k races and, at the least, a mini-marathon in early summer. My first race is March 5th which requires me to begin logging in the miles now. I have a treadmill I’ll use occasionally, but it’s not the same as running outside.
Did I mention it’s cold outside? Like 10 degrees Fahrenheit cold.
But I did it! I ran the full 3 miles on the schedule for today, with icicles on my eyelashes (yes, I’m serious) and slush frozen on the bottoms of my shoes.
I think the only thing keeping me going on the last mile was the promise of a bagel fest at the end of the road. Visions of the delectable, doughnut-shaped baked goods dangled in front of us runners like carrots, only with more effectiveness.
Of course, it may have also had something to do with the fact that the breakfast station was located in a nice, warm and toasty cafeteria.
Every muscle in my body, well, at least in my lower half, is screaming at me. But the only thing I hear is the constant reminder of “I did it…I Did It…I REALLY DID IT!!!”
I ran in my first mini-marathon yesterday. More importantly, I finished it. For those of you who don’t know just how crazy this is, it’s a half of a marathon’s distance. Thirteen point one miles to be exact. And the fact that this took place in Indiana in November makes it seem even more crazy that I would even attempt it.
I hate the cold!
And it was cold…thirty degrees when we started out at 8 am, me in nothing but running tights, a pair of knee length shorts and two thin, moisture-wicking long sleeve shirts. I also had on running gloves for most of the time and a hat. As cold as it felt at first, I’m glad I opted for no jacket because by mile one, I was warming up. Some brave souls started out in far less; tank tops, short-shorts, one man barefoot! Others lost various articles of clothing at points along the way. There were shirts and jackets flying here, ear muffs and hats lobbed over a crowd of thousands in the opposite direction.
That was the other thing; the crowd. Both runners and spectators alike, were amazing. I’m usually one for the solitude, but during the race, I felt like I was in my element. Just being in the midst of it was energizing. I really got into it, whooping and hollering as we passed by the cheering crowds lined up along the streets of downtown Indianapolis. People held signs, played loud music, and shouted out encouragement as we ran past.
As I rounded the last stretch before the finish line, I have never felt so exhausted and so elated all at the same time, except for maybe after the births of my children. But this race was something I did just for me and even though nothing can compare with being a mom, I’m feeling pretty good right now. Sore muscles and all.
This morning I took to my usual weekend running spot. It’s a quiet, lakeside neighborhood, and although it’s not mine, one day I hope to make it so. For now I only borrow its trails for a few hours each weekend.
Today I took a new footpath I hadn’t ventured down before, past the well-manicured lawns and expansive homes, where the sidewalks stop and dreams begin. I left behind the familiar cul-de-sacs who’s names end in things like “Bay” and “Shores” and ventured into an unnamed place where a paved trail and an empty street were the only things by way of developments.
I popped out my earbuds just so I could hear the birds overhead. There were new trees here to see. Some may argue trees are trees, but I knew better. These trees seemed taller, more vibrant, bursting with energy. The grass ran wild and unbridled in this open, uncharted space. It didn’t just grow taller here; it smelled different.
Maybe I appreciated it more because I don’t benefit from its daily existence. Or perhaps I was just feeling more blessed today for one reason or another. More in tune with my surroundings. For once it didn’t occur to me to wonder how far I’d run or to complain that my jogging bra was chaffing me yet again. I simply enjoyed the company of my own thoughts on a road less traveled.
There’s something about running in the early morning hours that renews my spirit. Getting out while the rest of the world has barely begun to stir inside their houses. Watching and waiting as the day awakens. Running to meet the sun before it peaks in the sky.
Sometimes there’s an early morning fog, clinging to the air like a gossamer shroud, reluctant to be lifted by the warmth of the sun’s rays. It eventually clears, much like the fog in my brain on some days, offering a new view of the world. One that often, hopefully, makes more sense than it did when I started out.
On other mornings, when the heat has already transcended upon the trails and I have to push forward without the benefit of cloud cover, the sweat on my brow reminds me of how far I’ve come in my strength and endurance. There was once a time I wouldn’t even have attempted to withstand the heat, opting instead to stay indoors. Now, the promise of an early morning run can summon me from under the covers before the crack of dawn.
The rhythmic whisper of my running shoes padding against the pavement is comforting, almost as much as the sounds of nature floating up around me. Sometimes I choose music to accompany my journey. Other times, though, I’m just content to be alone with my thoughts.