Last weekend, I totally psyched myself out about the weather.
There was a 10-mile run on the calendar and a bag of new gear from REI to keep me warm, and yet I sat at the dining room table for hours refreshing weather.com and waiting for some magical temperature that would feel reasonable for running. The previous-week’s 9-mile run on the treadmill was heavy in my mind – I had already convinced myself that I couldn’t spend another two and a half hours at the gym – and the frostbite warnings were loud in my head. I went so far as to pull on running tights, socks, a sports bra and a new shirt.
Then I sat back down at the table and waited. And waited. Until it was time to get dressed in real clothes and go to a Super Bowl party.
To say my training for the upcoming half marathon has been half-assed would be an understatement. Despite a re-commitment several weeks ago, I’m still lucky to run a couple of times a week. I’ve been running a 5K at some point, logging four miles on Saturdays and then struggling to get out the door for the 8-9-10 miles that are necessary on Sundays.
I spent a lot of time this week feeling bad about missing the long run last weekend. (Not bad enough to go to the gym more than once, mind you.) I decided that this weekend I wasn’t going to screw around, I was going to get my gear on and get out for my runs as early as possible with no excuses.
And it paid off!
Yesterday’s four miles reminded me exactly why I run in the first place. Huck and I managed to get from our house to our favorite trail without hitting any of the stoplights, and for the first four laps we were the only ones on the trail. A light snow was falling and everything was still around us. I let Huck off leash and he ran as fast as he could down the trail and back, bounding off the trail only once to find himself belly deep in snow. He grinned and galloped and for that 40 minutes was exactly like California Huck, no anxieties and full of joy.
In two pairs of socks, two pairs of running tights, a long-sleeved top, a long-sleeved fleece, a puffy vest and gloves, I felt toasty warm even in 8 degrees. With the exception of one brief stretch of ice, the trail was smooth sailing. And despite the traitorous RunKeeper telling me my pace was as slow as always, I felt light and fast on my feet.
On our last lap we were joined on the trail by another woman and her dog, and a man we’ve seen before who walks around the lake alone. Had we been able to maintain our solitude, I might have stayed another mile. You never know what’s going to happen when you throw other people into the mix, though, so I leashed up Huck and started back home, still feeling peaceful and calm.
Wrapped in the embrace of a perfect winter day.