I’ll be honest here, this winter is breaking me mentally. Every long run has been in the snow. It won’t quit! I haven’t run outside during the week because it’s too cold and too icy and too snowy. I reached the point this weekend where I couldn’t fathom another run on the treadmill. I just couldn’t do it. So, I skipped my 8 mile pace run yesterday. In addition to skipping my 4 mile easy run on Friday. I felt off. Tired and achy due to a pneumonia shot my Allergist injected me with on Wednesday. Coupled with the cold, snowy weather and the only option to run on a treadmill and I broke. For once, I didn’t even feel guilty about skipping 2 runs in a row. If the run wasn’t going to be fun, there was no point in doing it. I run because it’s fun, so the thought of running and hating it? It was more than I could take this weekend. I had a broken spirit.
So, this morning, I woke up knowing I had to tackle my 16 mile long run. No matter what the weather- snow, cold, ice… it didn’t’ matter. This run needed to happen. Josh and I took our time waking up and lacing up before heading outside. We ran less than a quarter-mile before I had to turn around to go back home and for a potty stop. Ugh! Of course, it took twice as long as it normally would have with 3 layers to pull off and back on. We started out again on the snow covered streets. It was rough. It takes so much effort to run on slushy streets and I would give anything to run on dry pavement! I started thinking about Paris and how much stronger we’ll feel when we actually do run on dry ground with sure footing, moving forward instead of sliding back with every step.
Around mile 5, runners high set in. We had settled into a dry spot on the sidewalk and I found my groove. I felt good! We ran up the hill by the Capitol and circled around before heading back downhill with ease. As quickly as the runners high set in, I lost it. I was in a daze, not even sure what I was thinking about as I ran. Before I knew it, I was headed into traffic! Oops! I made a comment to Josh, who didn’t respond, he was lost in a daze too! Finally, around mile 8, I felt the high again. We were running along the Meredith Trail and it was gorgeous! The trail was clear of snow, we were making good time, and it felt good to be out in the middle of the winter wonderland! We decided to circle Grays Lake to add on more mileage before heading back home. We started across the bridge and were hit head on with an intense wind! It physically hurt the exposed areas of my face! Neither one of us said a word as we put our heads down and picked up the pace, concentrating on getting out of the wind! As we followed the trail, circling the lake, we made our way out of the wind. We decided to take the Bill Riley Trail home, since the Meredith Trail and Grays Lake were clear, we thought chances were good most trails in Des Moines would be similar. Unfortunately for us, we weren’t that lucky.
As soon as we crossed onto the Bill Riley Trail, we started slogging through snow. I nearly lost it twice on icy patches. My calves were getting tight from running flat-footed. I could feel tendons inside my thighs that clearly don’t get worked very often. I focused on the nice, hot soak in the tub that I was going to indulge my muscles with post run. It was all I could think of, my reward. As we neared the end of the trail, we headed up one of the hardest hills I know of in Des Moines. It was slushy. It was hard. I knew I needed a different mindset. Instead of letting winter kick my ass, I needed to focus on kicking winter’s ass. I needed that empowerment. As we reached the top of the hill, I was spent. We headed towards home. With a mile and half left, Josh slipped on the ice. I didn’t even notice he wasn’t in stride with me until I reached a corner and he wasn’t by my side! It gave us both a push to wrap this run up. We were a quarter-mile short of reaching 16 miles and I didn’t care. As we reached our driveway, my legs didn’t want to carry me inside the house. Sitting down to take off my shoes was a struggle and a longer process than it ever should be after a mere 16! However, I did feel empowered. I finished. I wasn’t broke after all. And, let’s be real, it’s nothing the hot soak, a hot spiked coffee, and a little foam rolling can’t heal. Cheers!