Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Winter Running Blues

I guess when I started running in July and braved the 100 degree heat (mainly by getting up really early to run), somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew winter would come.  I had no idea how big an impact it would have on my psyche -- mainly because of running.

The good part is that I have had the opportunity to run outside quite a bit.  Even in temperatures that are hovering just below freezing, I have dressed in tons of layers and hit the street running.  I really believe that the cold, fresh air has kept me from getting the usual amount of colds and sicknesses.  The fresh air has been good for my health and my soul.  Even when the windchill dips into the teens, I get out and run.  For someone that has always hated cold weather, this has been mind boggling.  I love running that much.

The bad part is when the ice and snow hit.  All summer, I avoided running on the treadmill.  I own a treadmill, so it's not a huge inconvenience.  One might say it could be easier.  It's indoor, climate controlled, a television is there for entertainment, and a bathroom nearby.  The first time that I HAD to run indoors was pure torture.  I couldn't believe how hard it was to run indoors.  It's not more physically exerting, however, I do tend to run slower.  I just miss the wind in my face, the scenery passing by, waving at friends and strangers, outrunning the occasional dog and the other turns and twists an outdoor run provides.

The weather has turned worse in January, and if I didn't use the treadmill, it would be hard to keep my running schedule.  So I do it.  When I get that outdoor opportunity, it is so exciting.  I often run longer and faster than ever.  I did my longest and hilliest run last Tuesday outdoors.  Running up the hill behind Kohl's even felt good when I compared it to a treadmill run.   That gave me the extra "oomph" to run the whole way up.

Right now, there is snow on the ground and ice on the streets and sidewalks (at least near the edges where I run).  Guess it's the treadmill for a few more days.  Unfortunately, the weatherman is forecasting another "significant winter weather event" for Tuesday.  I need to learn to embrace the treadmill or at least accept it.

Never fear, Wednesday is "Ground Hog Day".  Maybe we will get an early spring.  One can only hope.

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