Sunday, January 22, 2012

Running In Snow

The weather forecast called for 2-4 inches of snow Saturday morning starting around 6 am, but as they have been wrong all month, I thought nothing of it. I woke up at 7 am and peeked out my window to see big thick flakes coming down. I logged into my email and called our winter hot line to see the run was still on, but those running at my pace were not coming. What to do? I so badly wanted to say forget it, roll back over and go to sleep. I then thought about doing a 14 mile run on my own Sunday and how I probably would find an excuse. I also thought about all the work that goes into the runs and how it would be awful for no one to show up. So alas, I threw on running tights, packed up a change of clothes and hopped in the Subaru to head out to Sudbury.

I showed up for the run a little bit early and saw about a dozen people. I was impressed that we had a good turnout for the snow as I thought maybe 5 or so people would show up. As it hit a little after 8, more and more people came tumbling in until we hit about 30 or so people. Wow, 30 people willing to brave the snow and cold to run! The usual pre-run meeting occurred and then we were off.

At mile 1, I wanted to turn around. Running in snow is hard especially if you are from Southern California. I glanced down at my time and read 14 minutes. Miles 2-3 were just as bad both time wise and motivation wise. I kept asking myself why am I doing this? The answer kept coming to me by way of Leslie, the lovely lady that checks us in at each run. We have a choice to go out and run while many do not. We also have the choice to quit if the road gets messy while others don't. I kept repeating her words until about mile 3.5 where some very amazing ladies were manning the water stop. They gave me the inspiration to keep on trucking. Back on the road to keep running. 

Mile 4 felt like air with the motivation from the water stop still running through my veins. And then came Concord Road which felt like a death trap. Having already been demotivated, seeing non-stop traffic was not ideal. I made it a little bit down the road before I realized that I was not meant to go further. Just shy of 5 miles, I turned around for the trek home defeated. My 14 mile run was not to happen. I stopped again at the water stop for inspiration before continuing on. At mile 7.5 I felt like giving up hope, going to the side of the road and just crying. This was no longer fun as people sprayed ice on me and I slipped going up hills. Just then, I see a very familiar SUV slow down and ask me how I was doing. It was my coach checking on everyone. I greeted them and realized that I needed to put on a happy face or they would think something was wrong. I smiled and continued on trucking. More and more runners started showing up and together we all made the crazy last .5 miles of the run to the main road. At the main road, it was busy! A quarter mile on route 20 in the snow with plows had me thinking people were nuts. I opted to walk in the snow on the side of the street away from the death traps that lay in the road. 

I made it back into the club with my eyelashes and hair frozen solid and lamented about how awful my run was. Luckily, I was not alone in this feeling. Others had still managed a good 14-16 miles, but felt awful about their times and such. Heck, I could have done a 13.1 in the time it took me to do my 10. With pep talks galore, I was motivated to give the running another shot. A new schedule in place to get me to marathon day without issue and I am excited to go on this challenge...after this crazy blister heels!

The moral of the story is that our roads are not always clear and smooth and challenges exist. I am one of those lucky to have had a very easy path to trudge down for the last 29+ years and only now as I age do I realize that this is not always the case. Difficulty is slowly popping up as we get older. I now know that I am much stronger than I would ever give myself credit for and that I may have to altar my road map at times, but I can get it done. The wine at the end helps a lot too! 

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