Sunday, January 6, 2013

99 Days: Thanks Jen

Winter is "in our face" here!  I can't remember it ever being this cold.  But it is cold and it sometimes makes it very difficult to go outside. All I want are my pjs, a warm fire, and a hot cup of tea.  However, I also want to run Boston well, so off to train I go.  I really am unable to sit for too long anyway.

I found that there are a few ways that help me get out on difficult days like this one: looking forward to a big hot breakfast after a long run, creative logging-I get to color, and making and running with new friends.  Which was the case for me today.  I met Jen briefly on a group run a few weeks back, but we never had a moment to really talk.  After posting a request for anyone to tag along with me for my Saturday long run, Jen accepted the casual invite.  I was delighted.

Saturday turned out to be bitterly cold as it had been all week.  The temperature was 5 degrees but reported: Feels like -4 degrees.  They weren't kidding. I actually, in some perverse way, was excited to run.  It was, I guess, a challenge. We bundled up the best we could for 5 degrees.  I mean, how do you bundle up for 5 degrees?  I have in my mind dressing like little Randy in "A Christmas Story," will I put my arms down? How many layers are we talking here?  I had on at least four: my sports bra with it's modesty pads included. I don't usually wear the modesty pads, but they did add additional warmth to my petite friends.  Then, my Under Armour top, a fleece wicking turtle neck, and finally, my funky kelly green North Face jacket. I have always been fond of the kelly green color, addtionally, the jacket has been a treasure and, it has kept me warm many winter runs.  It is also very visible for traffic on those cloudy snow days. I had on my "Sports Hill made to wear under 35 degrees" running pants and an additional very thin running leggings underneath.  I have read that if you are warm in your running apparel before starting out, you are dressed too warmly. I wasn't. It was COLD! We reluctantly headed outside, did a few warm ups which didn't warm us up, and started up the hill chattering and shivering all along the way.  The tips of my fingers were unmovable, and our lungs were scratching for air.  At about two an half miles, we were finally gaining a higher core temperature. Or, we were just too numb to notice. I personally think it was the latter.

After settling into a groove, and except for the huffing grunts up the big Antelope hill, we talked the whole way. We talked of family, running shoes, injuries, girl business, and running in general.  Basically, we got to know each other. I found that I genuinely liked her. All that talking made us forget about the cold. Well, for a little bit. At one point, we realized we had frost on our faces.  Yep, it was cold!

It has been said many times before, that if you are not a runner, you just don't get it.  I do and will always believe that to be true. How can you explain to someone who doesn't run about running with pain, or the exhilaration you feel before, during, or after a run, or that we will brave the weather and head out no matter the conditions just because we want to run.  That no matter all the wind, snow, rain, or pain we will do this day in and day out. I can't explain it, and if you want to know, just run. All I know is that I love it, and I can't wait to do it again, and again, and again.

This was a challenging run. Not only because of the cold, but because of the very steep hills. After we finished, it felt like such an accomplishment.  This was one of my best running days to date!  I appreciated the accomplishment of the weather challenge -- I now have a new weather PR: 5 degrees --, I appreciated that Jen drove out my way to brave the cold with me, and I appreciated her kindness, and now, her friendship. We did it! Was there a doubt? Not as long as we have the support of friends.  Friends who just get it!  Eight hilly cold miles! Thanks Jen.

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