THERE IS SOMETHING NOBLE ABOUT RUNNING IN SNOW AND RAIN
Mind you, I don’t do this very often, in fact, truth be told, I go greatly out of my way to avoid doing even the most minimal training run when it’s raining and snowing. I don’t like to be cold. I realize this makes me weak and something less of a person in the eyes of everyone else I grew up with in Wisconsin, but I just can’t help it. When I must go out and the thermometer is below 40 °F, I start putting on clothes as though I were embarking on an Arctic expedition. My kids laugh at me.
But sometimes the running schedule, the work schedule, the kid’s schedule and the weather all conspire to make it unavoidable and today was one of those days. So I looked out at the foggy, 32 °F, according to my thermometer day and tried to think of every possible excuse for why I could skip this run that I had set aside time for. I was difficult. I had arranged coverage at the hospital, my kids had other activities going and I, for a few uncharacteristic hours, had no commitments and had nothing to do except what I was supposed to do: a 15-18 mile training run. I felt good physically. I wanted to run I just didn’t want to be outside in that weather.
But I bucked up, put the iPod on some jaunty music and covered my earphones with a wooly winter cap. Donned some long purplish leggings that I hoped didn’t look too bizarre. Three layers, gloves and my sunglasses. I seriously considered the idea of wrapping a scarf around my head and neck, but realized that crossed over into the ridiculous. No actual runner would have a scarf trailing behind them in the wind.
I felt surprisingly good. There was a certain nobility that kept me going. I felt like “Yeah, I can run in the snow and rain, that’s how great I am.” Never mind that I was considering turning back at just about every stride or that I was running a very, very slow pace or that I was preoccupied my iPod would become ruined if it got little droplets of water in it. I was doing it. So strange things carry you along. On this day it was a sense of purpose. A sense I so rarely have that I am committed enough to my mission to run the next race. That I didn’t opt out of a training run just because of a little cool temperature and a little bit of precipitation. In fact, after about six miles I was rewarded by a few rays of sunshine and the sensation of the rain, snow, sleet combination that had been striking my cheeks like unwelcome, little, tiny, frozen ice picks. In fact, it was downright pleasant there for a while. On the return leg, the temperature dropped noticeably. My fingers were downright cold and any notion of some sort of nobility had long since been replaced by a strong desire to be home in my warm house and to take a warm shower. A simple calculation told me if I kept running I would get there faster than if I stopped and walked.
So we rely on what we can. Most days it’s just fun, it’s nice to be outside, the sun is shining, it feels good to run and breathe in the fresh air and enjoy life. But on some days you find yourself carried along by some strange sensations and on this day it had something to do with a sense that running in the rain and snow is somehow good for me and I should be proud of it. Now that I’m home I’m not so sure any of that’s true, but I am glad I stuck it out. None of these sorts of notions are particularly explainable or have a whole lot of validity, but I say go with it. If that’s what is keeping you along propelling your legs forward then absolutely give into any sort of vanity, pride, competitiveness or whatever dark instinct is carrying you forward on your bid toward better fitness. It’s all too easy to give into a sense of comfort, warmth and well, yes, laziness.