I followed a very distinct pattern this week: hard run followed by day of rest followed by hard run. The only thing that I can say I am happy with myself about this week is that I was able to force myself to run four separate times.
- On my birthday (Run#1), I convinced myself that I was running outside to celebrate another year of life with one of my favorite pastimes. That made it only slightly possible to ignore the fact that I was getting pelted in the face by sleet.
- Run #2 was indoors – around the track for the first time. The treadmill makes me feel like a hamster. The track makes me feel like a race horse, though, completing one revolution around the entire gym every 60 seconds or so. I cringe to think of the people on the ellipticals betting on my performance. I constantly lost track of what lap I was on and in the end, the only thing I can say with certainty is that I ran between 2-5 miles.
- On Saturday, before my guests arrive, I decide to brave the snow for a quick 3-4 miler (Run #3). I spend about 30 minutes inside in a state of half-dress convincing myself that the snow will let up, if I wait long enough. It eventually does – but not until 5 minutes after I get back from 4 miles of stomach cramps and a bad attitude. Thank goodness I had The Killers in my mp3 player.
- The one exception to the hard run/day-of-rest pattern came on my long run (run #4). I was in La Crosse and happily stumbled upon the Three Rivers Trail. I usually map out long runs in advance so I can be sure I will go as long as I need to. This was not possible, so I estimated mileage based on my pace. I usually run around 10 min/miles on a long run, but with the snow on the ground I figured I might be going a little slower than usual. So, I ran out for 37 minutes and then turned around to come back. There was something so liberating about knowing where I was going on my way back, instead of having to constantly wonder where I was or how far I had gone, that I really picked up the pace. I made it back in 31 minutes, for a total of 68 minutes. When I calculated my mileage on line afterwards, its was 6.85. Almost a perfect 10 minutes/mile pace. It makes me happy that I have become so predictable. The trail was picturesque and the bluffs in the distance were as beautiful as anything on a foggy, bleak, February day in Wisconsin (see photo below).
This winter’s weather had become as predictable as my pace: snow followed by snow followed by more snow. It’s forcing my runs to the gym, which has the perks of being able to wear shorts and watch any of the 100ish available tv channels. But I can’t spit or snot-rocket and if I sing along with my music, other people hear me. I miss running outside.
I try to glean some inspiration from this week. The one thing I can say is that while making myself get out there was hard and almost every run was pretty uncomfortable, the minute I finish and begin to stretch, I feel better. Physically well and proud of myself for doing it. This is the hard work. Eventually, it pays off.