Winter (Mildly) Sucks

I like to pretend I’m a famous cityscape photographer whenever I’m downtown. Whether or not I am is entirely subjective.

Does January seem to have flown by for anyone else?

The Januarys past have always felt like restorative times. As a kid it was coming back to school after New Years letting me know that the year was halfway over, which meant summer break would be there soon and I could get a start on the “New Year, New Me” bit. (Author’s note: I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions, so I never bothered with those in January.)

The new me thing never came to fruition, by the way.

Now as an adult, January is a downtime from all the madness and stress that Christmastime seems to bring on. Or at least I thought this past month would be calmer.

Instead, my department at work underwent a transition that has left pretty much everyone with their feet firmly planted in the air and this past week I’ve been way more irritable and short-tempered than usual. The presence of one co-worker who wasn’t actually doing anything wrong left me at wit’s end on Thursday, and then on Friday he came by to visit and we were laughing like I wasn’t thinking up a plan and alibi 24 hours earlier.

I’ve also started a new relationship. Now, I’ve never had a boyfriend before and have only been on a handful of dates in my adult life, so I’m still getting used to the idea of weekends including a guy. Although I have to say: I never thought I’d experience the special layer of happiness he’s brought into my life, so the fact it’s here and tangible is bringing me lots of bliss and comfort.

And to go along with the professional and personal changes, this past week was the start of my spring marathon training.

I wound up taking a little more time off from running in January than I originally planned, thanks to my life changes, dealing with exhaustion and two of those weekends bringing in heavy snow storms. I planned to run this week on Monday and Wednesday with my long run being on Saturday morning.

Monday didn’t happen, since I came home from work, completely crashed on my couch to peruse Reddit and pity myself until deciding I should probably go to bed.

On Tuesday I told myself I had to run, no excuses. My workplace has a gym with treadmills. Now, there’s two things in this world I hate with a burning passion: food touching and treadmills.

Running outside makes me feel alive and I actually have things to see and talk about later on. Treadmills are tedious and don’t feel natural to e, since a conveyor belt doesn’t pull me through the rest of your life. All I can think of when running on a treadmill is a big ol’ hamster running on the wheel of life, putting forth all that effort to go nowhere.

Never-before-seen picture of me on a Saturday night.

I sucked it up and got three miles in. They sucked. They really sucked. They ultra-super-duper sucked, but they were done and I was less ticked off than when I started (Author’s note: my week started going downhill Tuesday.)

Wednesdays are my normal running days. Wednesday also happened to be emotionally exhausting, so in order to keep the haven’t-killed-anyone streak going I hopped back on the treadmill. Three miles sucked less than the night before, although I still can’t wait for ice to go away for good.

Then came Saturday morning. I told myself there would be no excuses. Snow and ice? I bought some Yak Traks at Dick’s the night before. Cold? I have plenty to layer. I got dressed Saturday morning in more layers than I probably needed, took my time on the highway – in the ten minute drive from my place to the parking garage at work there was one rough accident on 70 westbound – and started running around 9:45.

Ten miles is my minimum on long run days, and since this was Week 1 I decided not to go crazy with mileage. My pace was a minute slower than normal. Turns out Yak Traks are wonderful grippers, but they also feel heavy when running through snow. My thighs were on fire and I took more walking breaks than usual, but mentally I needed to run and have some long-overdue conversations with myself.

Brooks has a slogan, “Run Happy,” which I see a lot of runners use as a social media hashtag. I realized that I’m not a happy runner. I’m an intense runner. I’m a wandering-mind runner. Sometimes I’m a pissed-off-at-the-world runner. But I’m really only a happy runner once it’s done and I can emotionally separate myself from what just happened.

Now that this run and the past week is behind me? I’ve decided winter only mildly sucks, treadmills aren’t that bad, and I will make it back to running blissfully, stupidly happy.

But in the meantime, I need to soak my feet and remind my inner hamster why raw cookie dough a meal does not make.

Yours in running,


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